Saturday, August 22, 2015

what does it mean to be a parent;

one of the disadvantages of living so far away from home is my missed opportunity to watch my parents be the great parents that they are.
as i've grown older and enjoyed my relationship with my parents more, i've begun to see more clearly the sacrifices they make and the love that they have for my sisters and i.
these past two weeks, my parents were here visiting - mainly to attend my little sister's graduation. they were just here 8 months ago at the beginning of the year to help my sister move back here after her mission and settle into school again. and yet, they made the long trek here 8 months later just so they could attend her graduation.
i remember a few years back talking to my mother about how a lot of parents don't seem to make it a point to fly over here for their children's graduation and i commented that i felt very sad for those people. 
i think my mother has remembered that and thus has made it a point to attend all our graduations. a simple but very thoughtful gesture in my opinion. 
my parents are also really good at making the whole graduation experience one to remember - they'll go with you to both commencement and convocation, they'll go with you to the different prominent locations to take graduation photos, they'll cheer for you when you go on stage to get your diploma, they'll order your graduation photos and your diploma frame for you haha. they go all out!

during the two weeks that my parents were here, i was able to watch them be the sweet parents they are again and it made me really appreciative for their great examples that will help me one day become a good parent, just like them. 
as i've grown older i've tried to be a better daughter to my parents and so i tried my best during their trip here to be considerate and to do nice things for them. 
it was really interesting watching the dynamics of me trying to be a good daughter and them trying to be good parents.
at times i would offer to go out of my way to do things for them and they will go out of their way to make sure that i don't have to go out of my way to do things for them. haha. 
it was nice to see both sides be considerate of each other but in the end, my parents still won in the being considerate aspect.
parents have lived many years of their lives giving their all to their children. their selflessness is not something we can match up to just yet. 
i did most of the driving so my parents could just rest during the long car journeys but my parents would always one up me (not on purpose) - my dad always making sure our meals were properly taken care of, my mother always the last to go to bed at night because she was washing and ironing the clothes. sometimes i felt like a slacker cause all i wanted to do was watch tv or go to bed haha.

when my parents first arrived, the first thing they did after eating dinner was unload all the stuff they had brought over for us from their bags.
as they pull out things piece by piece and as i looked at the few pieces of clothing at the bottom of their suitcases after taking everything out, i felt their selflessness once again.
it didn't matter that they had to pack light with regards to clothes but still carry heavy bags; they were more than willing to bring all the snacks and premixes and what not over for us.
i thought about the way i normally pack my bag - how i overpack and always obsess over my outfits and shoes and accessories and making sure everything matches.
i would never have been able to pack so light like them. but yet they did it for us.

i also learned that no matter how old you are, your parents will continue to worry and care for you all their life. 
even when you're independent and earning your own money, you will still always be their little girl.
during this trip, both my parents gave us money and i made a joke that this is the chen family SG50 bonus because we were talking about the different companies in singapore giving out SG50 bonuses and how i don't get any since i don't work in singapore. 
even though i've been working for several years and paying my own bills and trying to live my life like a real adult, my mother still checks my account and asks me if i have enough money to spend. 
and i remember my dad telling me that my mother still does not want to retire because she wants to earn more money to make sure we'll have enough to get us through life. 
and everytime before she travels, she never fails to ask my dad if the life insurance policy is up-to-date, etc. HAHA.
she also always worries about where we will live next time if we all don't get married, etc. haha. my parents are seriously the best in making sure we are well taken care of for life. 

i always feel bad accepting money from my parents since i'm already working but at the same time, i know that that is their way of showing their love as well and i should accept.
i feel especially bad because of the way i've seen my parents live their lives, spend their money and work diligently in their jobs. you know that they understand and cherish the value of things. 
they understand the value of a job and the value of the hard earned money.
a lot of times, us people of the younger generation do not understand the value of a job and will easily just quit if things don't seem to be going our way.
we are also more careless about our money - spending on trips and shopping instead of saving for the long-term.
that's one thing i've always respected my parents for - them not wasting money mindlessly like me even though they earn much much more than me. 

we tried to make an effort to cook more meals at home this trip (cheaper and my mother is not a fan of the food here) and while we were cooking one of the days, the conversation came up about how my sister and i have not bought meat in months because firstly, meat is expensive and secondly, we like eating vegetables. 
in my mother's mind, this translated to: they have no money to buy meat.
and so before she left, she kept telling my dad that we're so poor thing and that she needs to stock up our fridges with meat and seafood hahaha.
parents will never stop worrying about their children. 

my parents are hilarious people and i love how they're always such a good sport.
sometimes, they let us laugh at their expense.
i think that takes quite a bit of love because nobody really likes other people to be laughing AT them.
my mother especially is always doing silly things and we would laugh at her but she would just smile and sometimes laugh along with us haha. 

your parents love you more than anything in the world and will always be the ones who can tolerate you no matter what.
while my parents were in town, i still had to work during the first week they were here and then the second week we spent exploring antelope canyon and grand canyon.
with all the stress at work and then all the driving the second week, there were moments when i felt i was rude or being annoying.
some mornings i prayed hard to be patient and meek.
and yet through it all, my parents were very patient with me and honestly were rarely upset at my behavior.

also, usually my parents like to bring up the topic of marriage pretty often.
while it was brought up a few times this trip as well, i felt that they were making an effort in approaching the matter more softly.
they were doing their best to be sensitive to my feelings about the matter.
i am well aware that my parents are not getting younger and that their friends are all grandparents already.
i understand their anxious feelings and that is why i appreciate more fully their efforts to still be patient with me and sensitive to my feelings. 
i've voiced out my frustrations previously about dating, etc. and through it all, my parents listened
my plea is that others be sensitive to my parents' feelings as well. 
just as i dislike being asked the question, "when are you getting married?/why are you not married yet?" it is the same feeling for my parents when you ask them, "when are you kids getting married?/why are they not married yet?"
do you think they are not anxious about our marriages and grandkids?
can you give them a break?

some of my favorite moments from this trip were the times we sat down as a family and just chatted.
on national day, we cooked dinner together at my parents' place in park city and then as we ate dinner and after dinner, we asked them about their courtship/dating days.
we also asked them about their days as young single adults and the people they mixed with and the things they did. 
we also asked my father about the different people in his extended family whom we've met but we're not sure where the family links are (who is a cousin and who is a distant cousin, etc.)
it's these family bonding moments that i hold dear to my heart. 

on our way to and from grand canyon, we spent time in kanab since it was a halfway point and the cell service there was really bad so we would spend our evenings eating our dinner at the tables outside our hotel and just chatting.
there was this one night we spent a lot time outside just chatting and enjoying the night scenery. 
it was great!
it reminded us of what life was like without cellphones, especially smartphones.

it was especially special to be able to spend my mother's birthday with her this year too!
i haven't had a chance to do so since i first moved here in 2007 and while we would send presents and cards home every year, there's nothing quite like spending it with her in person.

i'm so very grateful for my AMAZING parents and want them to know that i love them always!
thank you for letting me be your little girl forever.


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