In the last 2 weeks, as we celebrated Lunar New Year as a family, I had given much thought to what family is about. With just my weekly visits, I don’t see Mum and Dad often enough, though David begs to differ unless something delicious is brewing on Mum’s stove. What he sees as lunch, I saw as love.
Mum and Dad know that I am never far away. I often dig out the treasures of past childhood memories from within my heart as a means to help me ride the rough of adulthood. In the Tarot language, we call this the “6 of Cups” moment. In the marketing language, I call it “Mum’s Exquisite Culinary Delights Prepared With Love” ( I have to be 'marketing-savvy' about how I term this with Mum so that she'll do more of it).
Over the last 2 weeks, we had been bonding over Mum’s home-cooked lunches. We have been eating our way to a comatose state whilst catching up with the extended family on everything from babies, to weddings, to work, right down to the recent hot topic about facing an over-crowded Singapore.
The more we had to eat, the livelier the discussions were, across the dining table. It’s not just merely food. It’s Mum’s cooking. There’s a magic dust she sprinkles over her cooking that creates all the animated chatter and the loud laughter.
We Brought The Party To Dad With The Feasting
Even Dad had a lot of fun. Ever since Dad’s health deteriorated over the years, given that he had suffered a “silent” stroke, Mum tried to bring any form of celebrations at home so that he could enjoy them without having to move about too much. He definitely enjoyed the array of dishes Mum cooked to celebrate the Lunar New Year. He didn’t even mind tottering gingerly across the kitchen for half an hour to take his place at the kitchen table so that Mum could serve him some of his favorite dishes. It was the only exercise he did for that month I think…tottering across the kitchen.
Although Dad just sat there in his favorite chair most of the time to enjoy the family around him, and he didn’t talk much because his speech was a wee bit slower than usual, his mind is still lucid as ever. From time to time, he would interject about a topic closest to his heart – his dislike for “The Establishment”. For me, that was wonderful to see because it’s a sign of his unwavering fighting spirit within him. Also, while I noticed that he might be physically slower and got quite tired often, I saw him reach out a hand to grab my nephew, pulling him closer so that he could play with the little boy. I thought that was amazing for someone who took half an hour just to shuffle across a tiny kitchen.
When Dad couldn’t peel a fruit with his weak hands yesterday, I happily did it for him and remembered how he did the same for me when I was very young and didn’t know how to fiddle with a rambutan. Knowing that Dad has an appetite for junk food, I watched him look intently in anticipation at me as I removed the wrapper around a chocolate for him. I did the same when I was very young as he opened a box of chocolates for me. Dad had fond memories of our family dog Blooie when I was a child. Blooie was a white toy poodle given to me as a birthday gift. He died long ago in a road accident and that was the first time I saw my stoic father cry. My current family dog Bailey, bears a close resemblance to Blooie. It was heartwarming for me to see Dad laughing at Bailey and annoying the daylights out of the poor mutt who patiently allowed Dad to prod him, blow in his ear and pull his tail.
I Love My Family
I love my family. We aren’t perfect. Half the extended family’s either living abroad or about to live abroad. My immediate family looks like ambassadors for the United Nations Council For Cultural Diversity given our different last names and different nationalities. Dad’s not in perfect health, Mum’s sometimes not in the perfect mood, David’s not a perfect shape, but hell, sometimes I am not in perfect mind! It really doesn’t matter. All the more I love my rather imperfect family. However we bitch at each other, no matter how much we get on each other’s nerves and however little doses we can take of each other, at least once a year, particularly every Lunar New Year, Christmas and Easter, I would remember why I love my imperfect family. In every way, they are perfect to me.
I can’t wait for Easter now.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".
Mum is attempting to clown about with fashion glasses.