Family is a BIG word. We commonly hear and use these three terms, Immediate, Extended and Family in law.

Immediate Family members are Spouse (husband or wife), Parents (father and mother), Children (son and daughter) and Siblings (brother and sister).

Extended Family members are Grandparents, Uncle, Aunt, Cousin, Nephew, Niece and Common Ancestor. Whilst, Family in law members are Father-in-law, Mother-in-law, Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law.

For most families, once the children have grown up and started their own families, they would have their own home, either in the same city or away. These families usually come together when there are special occasions, traditionally practised, like Parents’ Birthdays, Festive seasons, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.

In my immediate family, through the decades, we siblings will make it a point to come together at least, for Parents’ Birthday and Chinese New Year. When we were younger, these times were truly happy days when we looked forward to meet one another and to catch up on our live actions. Those who reached home first would call the others who are still in the road, eagerly waiting for all to be together again. Mom would be most happy to cook up our favourites and Dad would buy lots of food/fruits to stuff us. There wouldn’t be a single moment where anyone get the chance to feel hungry even for a second!

However, sad to note, as we grow older, especially these recent years, what is supposed to be happy occasions, appeared to be a “burden” to some. Looks to me that it’s a kind of forced attendance and each can’t wait to get back to their homes or another personal holiday destination. I may speculate based on my observation but it’s hard not to miss a sad, mad or even ??? faces here and there. The only ones with truly happy faces are the kids – nephews and nieces, who are always glad to meet one another and played together like they have never been apart for a single day!!!

That makes me wonder, what had gone wrong along the way that siblings have lost words to speak to one another? How adults can’t be like the kids, happy to meet and reconnect on such happy occasions? It’s not everyday that we get to meet! We can’t hide in the rooms and appear only at meal times!

It is so easy for us to laugh and chat lovingly with our friends but not with our family members who are our own bloodline? Is it easier for us to tolerate and accept our friends’ imperfections but not our family’s? Do we readily offer our time to our friends, perhaps a little reluctantly to our own family members?

I wonder if it is just one family or it happens to others too. All I can say is this – when our parents are still around, this is the time to show them how much we love them and how much we treasure their love. Spending time with them over the weekend once in a while or if you cannot travel at all for whatever reasons, call home to chat for a short while can do wonders to them. If they can’t get to see you, listening to your voice and knowing that they are remembered, is more than good enough for them.

Moreover, you are setting example for your children. What they see is what they will do to you when you are old. What goes around, will surely comes around. Time like this reminds me of the late Yasmin Ahmad’s festive commercials. She knew what’s going on in this modern world. She knew what Family means. Her commercials never fail to bring out our innermost feelings.

So, please don’t wait till our parents are no longer present that you realised your mistakes and try to make it up by visiting their graves. To me, make the living as happy as you want to be happy and appreciated yourself. Always remember your roots. Each of us have so much love that is more than enough to go around. To immediate, extended, in-law and beyond.

I hope, for those who have not called home or visit parents for a long time now, you’d do something good after reading this. Like I said before, the problem is not “NO TIME”. We just need to “MAKE TIME” – in present tense, please.

Hugs to all families ❤

~Alice N.

Ps. I must acknowledge that through my sibling(s) that I get to know a couple of wonderful sisters-in-law, to this day, I love and treat them like my own sisters. They are rare gems with big hearts. Bless them.


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