For the past few years, I’ve been closer to my mother more than my father. Previously, it used to be the other way around. People change with time, and that happened to me. I don’t think there was ever a point in time where I loved the both of them equally or spent the same amount of time with both of them. What I cannot deny are the facts that they are my parents and I’ll love them for who they are. Although I have my preferences and own beliefs that may clash with theirs, compromise or ignorance is key.
An amazing example would be my shifting stance on the topic of religion and gods. My father ardently prays to hindu gods and goddesses. He dedicates his weekends, to go to temples or prayer sessions. He’s rather conservative, I’d say from my interactions with him over the years. That too quite minimal. On the other hand, my mother does believe in god and yet she holds an open-minded perspective to the changes of this world. She is accepting of non-traditional ideals. She realises and appreciates the need for humans to change with time – both physically and philosophically. She believes that religion should merely be a source of our morals and ideals. Ironically, this is the only in depth example I can give because this is the only topic through which I got to see two differing stands.
Acceptance is another aspect my parents differ in. Growing up, I aspired to be many different things, something different from the trend in the family of engineering and the sciences. I wanted to pursue something to do with the arts, though oddly I take Science hybrid in JC. Currently, I regained my interest in writing so I’m looking to do something with journalism, especially war. Mum is quite accepting of all my aspirations (except the war part) and even gives me her opinions on what would suit me best. A few years back, when I first studying history, I told my dad,”Hey dad, I want to be an historian.” He wasn’t too happy. He went on a full rant about how that job has no scope and it’s not even an actual subject worth studying. Sorry to say, I still love history for what it is and offers. I do realise what he meant back then, but still, that’s no way to crush dreams.
I’m 17, this coming August and over the years, I’ve treaded both sides and now I stand on a side of my own. I personally identify as a freethinker – leaving room for the possibility of the existence of a greater being. As you can see, I side my mother’s view for the most part. I wasn’t always like this, I too used to be a dedicated devotee of these gods. Things happen, I questioned what I actually believed in and now, I finally stand with an opinion of my own on the topic of religion. Whereas acceptance, I really look to my mother for that. With my dad, I tend to only discuss topics that won’t land us in arguments.
Like I said, one thing I can’t change and don’t wish to change is the fact that they are my parents. My parents who have been through everything from literally the start of my existence. Coming from a middle-class family, I never exactly felt the lack of comfort. I actually appreciate it in many ways. I at least get to appreciate coming home to my mom and rare take-out dinners with the family.
Spending such long periods of time at home with my mother gave me the amazing opportunity to know more about my mother as a person – her personality, her childhood, her views on things. We go on trips, although the number has starkly declined over the years, and we enjoy each other’s company. My favourite memory from our trips is shopping at IKEA. Those were the times of happiness we shared. We all know though, life doesn’t only present us happiness. It’s packaged with sadness and anger. Even in those times, I only seen my mother weak twice. I suppose it’s because it is the side that every parent tries her level best to hide from their children. All this while, my mother was a woman of strength and exercised authority over me. When I was younger, I hated it. I wanted to be this rebel, who lived life her own way. My mom didn’t agree with that, so I got reprimanded by her more than you think while growing up. I could never imagine her being weak. My grandfather’s death was the first time I saw her that helpless. She was sobbing as she called the relatives to come by, to pay their respects for the last time. She hugged her sister, both in tears and consoled her. She sat by her mother, and took care of her in every way possible. Yes, she was sad and weak, but this didn’t deter her from realising her priorities – to take care of those around her. It scarred and inspired me at the same time. I didn’t know this lady. As though I wasn’t taken aback by the passing itself, it scarred me because I saw the people I love breaking down around me and especially my mother. The epiphany that should have hit me much earlier came along, my mother was no lady of steel, she is only human. I regret that I couldn’t support her during two of her weakest moments, but I hope she found strength in the fact that she had us around. From then on, I became quite open to my mother, more accepting after seeing that she was someone like me, someone who needs love and care.
In contrast, as I grew up, I lost touch with my father due to two main reasons – his busy life to keep us comfortable and my growing responsibilities in school. The one thing that his continuous efforts taught me was the fact that I should be more appreciative for the things he does for the family and I. I never got to see the weak side to my father, so my belief that he’s a man of strength and utmost emotional rigidity still stands strong. I prefer it that way though, it’s my assurance that I would have someone concrete enough to rely on. We also disagree on several topics, having me tiptoeing on thin ice every time I talk to him. Despite the fact it is hidden in the back of my head, I tend to forget that the comfort I enjoy and the milestones I achieve are all thanks to my father. I actually thanked him for it but rarely, for thanking too often removes the sincerity. It just become a sentence with no profound meaning. Of course, everyday, I am thankful that I have him around, someone who relentlessly gives up years of his life to take care of our family. While daughters from other families have close relations with their father and are open to them about their lives, I am not but that’s not a bad thing. It makes for good conversation topics over the lunches and dinners we share.
Even though I say that my brother is the closest family I have, I wouldn’t discredit my parents – they’re like a super close second. Then again, to be brutally honest, I’m not as close to my family now as I would like to be neither am I as close to them as I am to my friends in school. I do plan to live overseas, away from my parents, when I’m older. Surely, I’ll make sure I keep in contact with them as much as possible. I’ll be there in their times of happiness and sadness. I’ll be someone who they’ll be proud of, just like my brother. I promise to not forget what they have done for me and to remember that they would do almost anything to make sure that my brother and I have the best. I thank them for being the strongest pillars I have in my life.