My parents celebrated their 54th anniversary on January 26th. It was a quiet, simple affair with the immediate family. The afternoon was spiced up with delicious homemade lunch, a surprise cake lovingly sent by the eldest grandchild from out-of-state, another cake brought by my aunt, a special handcrafted card from the youngest granddaughter, and of course the big volume of phone calls from friends and relatives with wishes for good health and happiness.
A journey together for over five decades is definitely worthwhile. My older sibling and I have seen my parents through the best and worst of times. Just as they have shared moments of laughter, they have debated and argued, getting on to each other’s nerves. As much as it was unpleasant then, years later we reminisce and laugh about the trivial issues they fought over. Together they have sojourned the jolts and bumps, along with the smooth, breezy rides. Life’s roster has been pretty long: parenting two kids, managing finances, fulfilling responsibilities towards their parents, committing to friends and social circles, seeing their children get married. The list, though pretty exhaustive, regularly has an addendum that keeps propping up, and till date it is still widely open to inclusions.
In their seventies and eighties, my parents now have a brand new set of topics figuring in their agenda. Some definitely need immediate attention; others without an iota of doubt can be cleared from the domain. Health problems have come up, and doctor visits, medications, and restricted diet have become a part of their lives. Tagging along are unnecessary concerns about grandchildren which, for most part, are worries that the mind willingly invites to its frontiers.
Hundreds of miles away, my father worries about what his granddaughter has for dinner, or whether she has been able to grasp the concepts of a new project at work. My mother, who is neither in the field of engineering nor medicine, religiously shares the agonies of the grandchildren when they struggle with academic issues. Microprocessors, computer graphics, data structures, pharmacology, and pedodontics are subjects not understood in their entirety, but their existence and importance in the syllabus of the grandchildren are duly acknowledged by her.
Do all mothers have the same psychic power when it comes to their children? I miserably fail to disguise my voice on the phone. She immediately senses when I am ill or not happy. The comforting words instantly pour out. I am still Mommy’s little girl, and she worries if I can handle guests that I have invited for dinner on my own! I’m sick, and my father, himself frail and weak, is concerned if I had taken my medicines regularly.
It can be a little disturbing at times to see them overprotective and to see them bear the heavy weights they can’t handle on their lean shoulders. They have aged, and for most times their hearts rule, with logic and rationality taking a back seat. It is not an easy task to make them see reason, and you lose patience to make them understand certain situations.. But when I look back at the years and summarize their lives, I feel they ought to be given the leeway, for I see a weighing scale heavily unbalanced. My parents have never thought about themselves and have always been giving their utmost to the family, be it their children or their grandkids. Their likes and preferences have always had a much lower priority over ours. Through smiles and tears, they have been with us and have never left us for a moment. Nowhere in the world can we find such unconditional, pure, and infinite love. Sailing together for more than half a century, Papa and Ma have undoubtedly given us life’ s best!