Niu (left) works at a local garment factory. [Photo/Xinhua]
"Cooking, tutoring and accompanying my son as he grows up, I will not miss any family time," says Niu.
Niu left her hometown in 2008, bound for a Shenzhen garment factory.
"I put my son's photo under my pillow. I took it out when I felt homesick," Niu recalls. "I often spoke to the photo saying I would go back home once I had made enough money."
As the days became years, the nostalgia only became more intense. During Spring Festival of 2011, Niu returned home for the holiday and noticed her son's reticence.
"He talked little and even avoided me when I approached him. At that moment, I realized that things had to change and I needed to return home to raise my child myself," Niu says.
Niu's son was not alone. As of August 2018, China had 6.97 million children left behind in rural homes by their parents working as migrants in large cities, down from 9.02 million in 2016. In Gansu province, there are still about 60,000 children left behind.
For Niu, returning home was a tough decision.