I took time to reflect on the relationship with my parents in preparation for a session on taking care of elderly parent at the sisters’ retreat. To tell the truth, I don’t remember much of my parents from my childhood years. It’s probably due to the fact that they were working most of the time: my papa had to 跑船 (go sailing) and was away most of the time. Mum too worked hard to provide for the family, sometimes doing OT. Most of my childhood memories were very much self-centred, around happy moments with self or friends. But I remember papa bringing us to the swimming complex. I remember extending my arm around papa’s waist when we went out. I always knew that papa loved me more because I resemble him, while I thought mum just loved brother more. But apart from those memories, I think the worst thing is that I don’t have strong emotions as I tried to recall about my relationships with my papa and mum. There were no hugs, no ‘I love you’s, but I knew that they loved me. But just as what I had discovered earlier, the younger me just thought everything was 理所当然 (expected), especially their provisions.
Yet the most surprising thing that I discovered through the reflection was that their reticence in revealing their feelings created my hesitance in showing my emotions and even accepting affections from others. My love languages often mimic theirs, i.e. service and gifts, yet I crave for time and words (ok, not so much words). I don’t blame them for this effect; it’s just that I had never realised the extent of their influence on me, shaping the way I love and receive love. But one thing that I always thank God for is that I have a complete family that loves me; I have seen too many who struggle with personal social and developmental issues because of broken or dysfunctional families. At least I know that I can always give thanks for this.