For most of our parents, whom grew up witnessing the birth of our country, setting up a home and a family from scratch was common to everyone. I grew up in a warm and cosy family, with a hardworking patriarch and a very supportive mother. Life was never too tough for my sister and I as our family always lived within our means.
Recently, my parents decided to do a renovation of our home of 20 years. Let’s call it a simple “anniversary celebration”. My mother loves our home, decorating it for every festival and making sure it is homely and hospitable for guests.
As I browse through my Facebook newsfeed daily, posts of friends and their spouses moving in to their new home are a common topic. Looks easy, that’s what I thought. I have never thought renovations could be an uphill task.
It was a whole new experience for me, planning for painting, shifting, purchase, and more importantly, the removal of the old furniture. It is also this aspect of the renovation that made me learn a lot about my parents; they were independent, resourceful, willing to be hands-on and were very careful with the allocation of their budget.
Out with the Old
We had to remove the old furniture before being able to bring in the new. It was seemingly impossible to remove the huge, sturdy and cumbersome furniture. I asked my mother for advice of what to do with it as it would not be able to fit through the doorframe for disposal.
She shocked me when she mentioned, “just dismantle it”. As we began to take down the furniture by their screws, bolts and nails, it dawned upon me and more astonished of how my mother did it alone years back.
I learned about their tenacity and being always ready to take on tough challenges. It seemed so easy for her. In my life, if I want a new perspective, I must be willing to “take my old beliefs apart”
My learning experience did not end there.
Appreciating My Parents
I noticed too of how age has caught up and weakened her. I could see how visibly tired she was, as we attempt on some of the tougher parts of the furniture. Truly, my parents are no longer the “super-heroes” of my childhood; I need to accept they are humans, aging and one day requiring my help to take care of them. It hit me that there will come the day when I would be the one to take over and fight the “Infinity Wars” for them instead.
It was enriching for me to listen to their experiences of how they set up the family because it made me appreciate more of what is given to me today. All our parents have their own stories to tell. Let us take good heed of the lessons we can derive from their stories.
I decided to contribute towards the cost of renovation. As I am the youngest child, my parents have always expected to handle everything on their own. My parents were not expecting it. The decision and action to do so have made my relationship with them much closer as they now see me as a grown contributor to the family. They have also begun to treat me differently. I felt proud of myself and felt the joy of living in a home which I have given a part of my life’s energy into.
A home is where everyone gives and receives.
It is perhaps time for us to sit down, take out our dusty photo albums and enjoy a moment of reminiscing how much we had been given; as children, we were a big part of our parents’ family planning. Are they a part of our family planning too? Have we been getting ready for the days when they might need us as much as we need them during our tender age many years ago? Am I being careful with my resources as I begin to build my own home some day?