So I’m on my semester break right now and I have more time at home with my parents.
Mom has been complaining about many things that happened while I’m gone, not that I’m protesting – She has no one to talk to except a friend that comes over to help her with her chores every week. She gurmbles about the dogs, her husband… But one that grabs my attention is what she said about my eldest brother.
I have been away from home for about 4 years now – 1 and a half year over the island for my foundation and 3 years at the capital city for my degree programme. The island is only 1-2 hours journey from home and I returned home on weekends. But the past 3 years have been different. 300+km away from home and not able to go back often, being in a totally unfamiliar surrounding, out of your comfort zone, no warm meals and kind smiles to await you when you return to your “new home”… That has shaped me into a more independent individual but most importantly, makes me appreciate my parents more. How they love me by showing action rather than telling (typical Asian style), how much money, time and effort they spent on me.
It has been the same with my 2nd elder brother. He left home to pursue a career also at the capital city, met “the one”, married and is currently raising a child together with his wife there rather at his home town. My 2nd elder brother misses my mom’s home-cooked food A LOT – He’s actually 1 step away from breaking into manly tears when we talked about mom’s cooking. Besides, who doesn’t like to be taken care of by people you love, who raised you from a toddler to a full grown man, every day especially when you’re mentally and physically tired and sick?
This emptiness, the feeling of missing your family and your home amplifies when we are away and it expands even further as time goes by. It sucks that you want to be here and there to be a part of something but you can’t because you’re all tied up by responsibilities, duties, etc. I guess it’s right when people say you gain some you lose some. And that Hannah Montana’s “you get the best of both worlds” is just plain fiction (can’t believe I’m quoting Miley Cyrus’ song).
Often I wonder, if I stay at the capital city or even leave for somewhere else in future to “pursue a better life”, will I end up like my 2nd elder brother? And I’m afraid this thought will have a great impact on most of the choices that I have to make in the future.
Right, back to my eldest brother. My eldest brother is married and has 2 adorable kids, he’s an engineer, attends church on Sundays and lives next door. However along with other “complaints”, my mom has also protested that my eldest brother does not wash the dishes after he had his meals, doesn’t appreciate her effort and won’t acknowledge her hard work on taking care of him, doesn’t pay an effort when mom instructs him to do some easy jobs (eg. bring her lunch when she’s lazy to cook or help her to buy some stuff), etc.
I think on this case we all can agree on 1 thing – We often take things for granted, especially when you have been getting it for a long time. You’re used to it, you’re numb to it, you’re coated with it, you don’t have to give extra effort to get it. Does my eldest brother love my mom? Of course he does. But when you’re in a picture, you can’t see the picture from the outside. You get what I mean? I’m sure if he were to spend some time or years away from mom just like me and my 2nd elder brother, he’d appreciate mom as much as we do. It’s like you start to appreciate things less when you are given constantly, no matter it’s love, physical needs, money, Mother Earth… Everything. Just like the song lyrics…
You only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hates the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
If I told my brother that, he’d probably feel insulted. How can you accuse me of not loving my mother? How can you think that I, on the other end, did nothing to repay our mother? Perhaps he does, in his own ways, but maybe mom doesn’t feel it, or that she’s numb to it too. I’m sure if they spend some time away from each other, they’ll miss and appreciate each other more too. Just like how my mom used to complain that I’m the pain in the arse and that my 2nd elder brother is rebellious and uncontrollable… But now that when we’re just “long term guests” in her house we are the most behaved kids and all. Haa.
I guess what I want to say today is, appreciate your loved ones before they’re gone ‘cuz nothing lasts forever. But hey, we’re only humans. Sometimes we need a couple of harsh lessons before learning the naked ugly truth.