My sister’s family migrated to Australia 18 years ago. So my whole family – 7 people: sister, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, parents and me lived together in a 3-bedroom house at that time. Although it’s happy to have the family reunion, the house got crowded. I also learned how disruptive a kid’s cry can be. My niece was 4-year-old that year and she nearly cried once every hour. I was not sure whether she fight with her brother or she felt hungry. But others simply ignored her and let her cried until she stopped, they might already get used to it.
Even worse, I was working full-time, studying part-time and preparing my final exam at that time. I could not focus on my studies due to the noise. So I formulated a strategy – sleeping at 10pm, waking up at 1am and studying for 2 to 3 hours while everyone was sleeping. I put this into action and continued for a few weeks until my exam was finished. I had more spare time afterwards and started paying attention to my niece. I found that she was unhappy because she felt lonely. Adults was doing their things, brother didn’t want to play with her, and she had difficulty in communicating to others in a new environment.
As I spent more time with her, our relationship grew slowly. The pure innocence of a kid is beautiful and happiness can be that simple – throwing socks to each other, playing hide and seek in the house, an ice-cream, a teddy bear, a cartoon. I gave her an iPod as a Christmas present and she becomes a fan of Apple. Others were surprised that we could be that closed. One day I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up, she replied – “A mom”, and I was startled. My sister later found a new place and on the day they moved out, my niece gave me a hug and it was so heartwarming.
This month my niece traveled to Korea and will study there for 4 months as an exchange student. If mom is still here, she will be proud of you. I think instead of becoming a mom, you now know what you want to be. I will never forget those family dinners that we had every night when we were living together, and the jokes that were shared around the table. Everyone was still happy and healthy. Thank you for giving me a second childhood. Sometimes when you look back, you will realize the little things in life are actually the big things. Home is not a place, it’s a feeling. It’s not how big the house is, it’s how happy the home is.