I recently heard an IQ question: “What is the first thing you will do when you wake up in the morning?” Your partner may hope you will tell her or him, “Thinking of you.” Your mother may assume, “Tidying up the bed.” Your colleague may answer, “Turn off the alarm clock.” The right answer is – open your eyes.
I used to ignoring what my parents said from a young age and headed to an opposite direction than they suggested. This is recently changed due to their sickness. As they rarely go out now, I will make sure that they are fine in the morning and see what they need me to buy for them after work. I don’t know when it started, I get nervous when I receive a phone call from home, and then feel relief to hear mum’s voice on the phone: “Remember to buy milk today!” My life has changed a bit and their sickness has brought us closer – driving them to see the doctor, helping them to get in and out the car, pushing my mum on wheel-chair to go places.
When I was a kid, my mum worked in shifts. I hated she worked night shifts as she needed to work overnight and sleep during day time. This means I could not make any noise during the day. Turned on the TV, superman was fighting with aliens – but no sound. Turned on the radio – no sound is allowed. Are you kidding me? That’s the time when iPod did not exist and headphones were not popular.
Mum told me one time she made a serious mistake at work. She didn’t know what to do but thinking of me always smiling and waiting for her to come home after work, she got the courage and resolved the problem. Why was I smiling and waiting for her? Be honest, I was waiting for the food she bought home – dim sum if she came back from work in the morning, bread and chocolate milk in the afternoon, deserts at night. At one time of my childhood, I was over-weighted.
When I was studying overseas, my parents wrote letters to me occasionally. Reading their letters was liked what would happen in Dan Brown’s novel, I always found it difficult in decoding what they meant. They can create words from nowhere that are not in the dictionary. Other than numerous misspellings, my mum writes the characters ‘r’, ‘u’, and ‘n’ in the same way.
When a person grows old, some essential activities such as walking, eating, taking a bath, or even breathing may possibly be difficult to do. I used to be impatient with house works – mopping floor, vacuuming carpet, mowing lawn. Now my weekends are busy with these house works. I eventually understand that the hardest part is to get started, afterwards, I may just follow the flow and it’s just a game of exercising within a planned duration. Mum often says to me, “Get a wife and have kids! Just like us, you need to rely on someone when you grow old.” And I will shout back, “I’m going to be a monk and I’ll live in a temple by that time!”
There are something that we cannot change – getting old and being sick. When we can no longer change a situation, we change ourselves, whether we like it or not. Be helpful to your family and give them your smile, as they need it.