By Lu Yee May
The relationship between one human being to another is as essential as butter is to bread. Human beings are social creatures and cannot carry out their entire lives alone. People need healthy relationships to keep them grounded. Over the course of their lives, people experience many changes in relationships. Something that I have observed over the years is that people sometimes take relationships for granted. For me, this is especially true when it comes to my own relationship with my family.
As a child, I had a very simplistic view of each of my family members. Dad was fun; mom was strict; my eldest sister loved humiliating me; my elder brother was cool, and my other sister was annoying. I was well-behaved in front of my parents but certainly had fun with my siblings. There were definitely some childish disputes back in the day, but that’s all they were.
The teenage years came by, and there was a change. Being a teenager meant worrying about issues like fitting in, making friends, getting the grades, and contemplating the future in general. It was a nerve-wracking time, and I resorted to retreating inwards and communicated less with my family. I didn’t share my problems with my parents. It didn’t help that my siblings were also moving into different phases of their lives – entering college and starting work. I felt as if they didn’t understand me. That was when I turned to my friends at school, and my family was relegated to the back seat.
This carried on throughout my years in secondary school. Eventually, my relationship with my siblings improved, but I couldn’t say the same for my parents. I hadn’t realized how much I had neglected interacting with them. In fact, there were days when I wouldn’t even utter a word to them. It wasn’t until recently when a relative of mine passed away that I had a moment of revelation. Sooner or later, all relationships come to an end. People don’t stick around forever. The same goes for my family, and more specifically, my parents.
I realized that for most of my life, I have only seen my parents as their respective roles—mom and dad. I expected my mom to do the chores and my dad to run errands as if they were machines carrying out their programmed directives. My parents catered to me, but I never bothered to do anything for them. For the longest time, that was the mindset that I had. I asked myself, was I truly grateful to my parents? They’ve done so much for me, but what have I ever done for them?
When this dawned upon me, I decided to improve my relationship with my parents. I made an effort to ask about their day and spend more time with them. The more I did, the more I realized that my parents were pretty cool. They were just as complex and complicated as anyone else. They love me. Even though they aren’t the most affectionate parents in the world, I could see it in every gesture.
Currently, my relationship with my family has improved significantly. I have come to appreciate them and understand them better. Every single member in my family is unique and amazing in their own way. No matter how much we drive each other up the wall, at the end of the day, we are a family.