GISTs

Those who have been following my blog will know that Dad was diagnosed with GISTs back in July 2014, about 2 weeks before his birthday. Many people have not heard of GISTs and those who have, wonder if it is cancer after all. Treatment for GISTs is different from other cancers and there is no staging to measure its condition.

What is GISTs? Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors are the most common mesenchymal neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract. they are defined as tumors whose behaviour is driven by mutations in the KIT gene. Most (66%) occur in the stomach and gastric GISTs have a lower malignant potential than tumors found elsewhere in the GI tract. (ref : wikipedia)

Treatment wise, it is different from the regular cancers. Radiotherapy has not historically been effective with GISTs and GISTs do not respond to most chemotherapy medications. However, 3 medications have been identified for clinical benefit in GISTs : Imatinib, Sunitinib (Sutent) and Regorafenib (Stivarga). Imatinib (Glivec/Gleevec), an orally administered drug initially marketed for chronic myelogenous leukaemia is useful in treating GISTs in several situations.(ref : wikipedia)

Dad has been showing improvement all these while, visits to the Oncologist has been lengthened to 4 monthly, CT Scan every 6-9 months to monitor the tumor. Great news is, his diabetes has stabilised. The surge in his blood sugar back in 2014 must be due to the GISTs. Now, he is back on oral medication. Gone were the insulin jabs. Thank God.

The CT Scan last month showed that the tumor remained in size. Though the size has reduced to safety level for surgery removal, Dad can’t undergo that because he has lesions in the liver and some parts of lymph nodes. So far, all these are controlled by the Glivec, meaning Glivec is working on them. Seems like Dad has to continue with Glivec for as long as possible since surgery is not an option for his condition.

I am so grateful that Dad is still going strong, taking it positively and exercising daily to keep himself as healthy as possible. I insist upon him to go travelling overseas at least once a year. It is good for my parents to go away from home once in a while. Holidaying without any concerns except to walk, eat and sleep. Enjoy the sceneries and experience different environment while interacting and making new friends. What is most rewarding is to see their happy faces upon returning from each holiday. That is priceless!

I can’t thank Max Foundation enough. I know I have been doing that over and over again. If you were to be in my shoes, you would too. Max Foundation has made expensive treatment becomes more affordable, giving the patients a chance to recovery or continue living. Long term treatment is no joke. Not just financial stress, it is also an emotional journey and it demonstrates how a family stick together to go through it for the long haul or fall apart. Let us hope more families will choose to stick it out together.

I admire Dad for his determination to fight it and be well. I’m proud of Mom for being strong for Dad and be his primary caregiver. More of great companionship and keeping him busy. Much thanks to my brothers who have been keeping in touch with them with constant visits, taking them on short trips and frequent telephone calls. It’s a family thing and that is what we do to stay together at all times, through ups and downs, laughter, fears and tears.

I continue to pray for my parents’ good health, peace in their minds and happiness. Just enjoy life! Cheers, Dad and Mom!

~ AliceN.

 

 

 

 

 

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20 Years Together 

What can I say except, time really flies! It is amazing how two people with different personalities, habits and interests can stay together for that long. Oh yes…it still amazes me when I stop to think about it. 

Thank God we have survived every up and down, sharing laughter and tears, talk about  ideas and dreams, discuss matters related to children and like any other couple, we argued, we got angry with each other, felt frustrated and hopeless sometimes. We have survived all that so far, and shall continue to work on it for years to come.

Darling, Happy Platinum Anniversary! A wonderful man who has put up with me in many ways for 20 years. Together, we have built our own small family based on our values and belief. Together, we weather the storms of life, we continue learning, adapting, improving and look forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour. When we fight, we keep reminding each other to fight for the marriage instead of personal victory. 

Marriage is like a beautiful china. It is so lovely to look at and smooth to touch. We adore its beauty. However, it is fragile and needs to be handled with great care to maintain that beauty and condition. When it is roughly handled, it may chip or even break, depending on the impact. Otherwise, it is long-lasting.  

For people who have not come this far yet, they are simply amazed by the period of 2 decades. However for people who have gone through more, I’m sure they have lots to say or advice for me. I believe, it is going to be more fun accompanied by more learning curves to experience as we move along.  

Looking back, as a single person, I did everything to my fancy. I did not have to think too deeply how each decision I made or action I took would directly or indirectly affect the next person. I am me, period.

When we got married, we were like two limbs attached to a body, and still are. What one does or say will have some kind of effect on the next person. Therefore, we become more mindful with words used and our choice of action. 

With the addition of children, looking back at “mere couple” days, they seemed uncomplicated and easy. It was another course of adaptation. With this new landscape, more adjustments were made to accommodate the little human in the family. As one child grew another joined the clan. Another course of adjustment was called for. I can testify that since then, our communication, decision-making, human relations, public relations and negotiation skills have since improved drastically. 

I know that I have made many mistakes along the way, by taking things and simple gestures for granted, jumped to my own conclusions and not “looking” from my heart” the things my husband did for me, to please me. I was too quick to pass judgement. There were times when I didn’t give him a chance to a “fair trial”. Oh well…I have learnt and shall continue to be more forgiving and understanding. I asked for validation and acknowledgment…I shall also give the same in return. Regardless of being a man or woman, we are humans after all, seeking emotional satisfaction and stability. I must look at myself in the mirror more often, not to check my make-up of course, but to look within myself for check and balance. Yes, that I shall do.

Fast forward years ahead, as children grow older, maybe leaving our nest and starting their own  families, I am sure we will soon find ourselves back to being a couple again. In golden years, we may see things through different lenses, not indicating reading glasses, mind you. I am sure by then, our livelihood will be different from how it is now. More time in our hands to use as we please. 

I shall look forward to sharing these years ahead with darling hubby. It envisage it to be like unwrapping the present, layer by layer to reach the special something inside the box. There will be new territories to be explored and discovered together. We shall cherish what we have go through thus far, and look forward to the journey ahead. 

A toast to my wonderful husband : May we share many more exciting years together, till death do us part. I love you, darling for always being there for me; for the little gestures you make; for the love you showered upon me continuously; for accommodating me in many ways; for your quiet understanding of everything. Thank you for the love and attention through the years, darling.

Cheers,
Alice N.

Blessed Birthday, Darling

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Celebrating your birthday for the 19th time, I wish you dreams come true and may all your wishes be granted. A simple man at heart but with big dreams, I’m with you all the way, my wonderful husband!

We are what you called “opposite attracts” kind of couple. We planned our marriage more than our wedding as we knew then, wedding is only for a day but marriage is forever…well, we’d like to keep it forever. As we go through the many years of life challenges and continuously striving to build a lovely, safe and cosy nest for our little family, we have also learnt so much that we compromise and come to share common life goals. We work as a team towards the same direction in life.

Life being life, it is never constant nor is it always so rosy. We had turbulence, storm and rain sometimes but these we know will pass and make us stronger. It is not uncommon in any marriage.

The man I had chosen to marry and the darling whom I’ve grown to love more and more, I am so glad to be celebrating his birthday with him together with our wonderful children and our best buddy who is more like a brother to us.

Happy Birthday, my darling husband and here’s wishing you the best that life has to offer to you! May you be blessed with continuous good health and happiness. Growing up, you have gone through so much of hardship, yet you never give up. Instead, you bulldozed through and come up being a champion! You are a survivor and ever since we share our lives together, you have me and the kids now. We shall be by your sides always and go through life’s ups and downs with you. I shall hold tightly to your hands and never let go. You shall never have to be alone again, my love.

Cheers!

~ Alice N.

Happy 76th Birthday, Father!

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My father is 76 years old today. Happy Birthday, dearest father! Wishing you continuous good health and may your days be filed with happiness and laughter always. I love you, Dad!

For those of you who have read my past posts about my dad and on Father’s Day, you’ll know him better. You can say that he was my first mentor with whom I learned to be independent, about decision-making, management, leadership, kindness, generosity, selflessness, gratitude, forgiveness and many more, since I was 6 years old (that is how far back I could remember vividly). He set a firm foundation for me to stand on and walk with two feet planted firmly on the ground. I am who I am partly because of the “early grooming” by my dad.

For the past weeks, dad hasn’t been well. He is not the usual strong and active man I have always known. Putting on a brave front, he painfully makes himself look OK. We could see that something wasn’t quite right. When I asked, he would leisurely brushed my concern aside and told me not to worry my little head off. His doctors said he was fine. I doubt that.

I insisted and got him to agree to have himself checked out by doctors of my choice. I thank God for letting us meet with all the great doctors. Wherever we went, we were greeted by friendly, helpful and kind doctors, nurses and other ground staffs. Hats off to Ramsay Sime Darby Medical Centre.

Being a strong-willed and independent man, he would mask any discomfort he felt so that mom, my brothers, nephew and I won’t be worried. I know that he is not used to feeling weak like this. I’m sure it is not easy for him to reverse the roles; to be taken care of now instead of him taking care of us. Let me caution you….If you ever bumped into my dad and I, you will spot an elderly man carrying shopping basket/bag walking next to his adult daughter. If he can help it, he will not allow me to carry any basket or bag at all (LOL!). That is my dad. To him, I shall always be his little girl.

Happy Birthday, Dearest Dad! I pray to Almighty God and the Universe that he continues to be positive and strong no matter what life serves to him. On his birthday, I wish that he will be blessed with better health and live well. Dad is a wonderful person with a beautiful heart. He never fails to bring laughter and joy to people around him, young and old. He is a charming gentleman. He deserves life’s best and I am more than willing to pamper him as much as he has been pampering me, if not more.

Dad, let me be the pillar for you to lean on when you are tired. Let me shower you with life’s best and spoil you with love. Let me share your worries, pain, sadness and fear, if any. Let me take over the driver’s seat while you sit next to me enjoying the ride and scenery. Let me carry the burden and lighten the weight on your shoulders. Though we live miles apart, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I shall always be there when you need me. You can always count on me, Dad, rain or shine.

HAPPY 76TH BIRTHDAY, DEAREST FATHER! I LOVE YOU….

~ Alice N.


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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

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Today records the 18th year of my “married” status. I have come this far?! From a carefree young lady, with not much care of what really going on around the world to tying the knot which immediately earned me the status of a wife and years later, mother of two lovely children. Of all the hard work, one look at the children’s faces would immediately erase away years of achy muscles, wrinkles and exhaustion. Worth it!

This year, I have decided not to count anymore from now onwards and not to make a big deal out of an anniversary. Every year is a milestone reached, every year is a celebration of growth, life and love. Let’s just not expect too much from each other. Sharing our lives for so many years is good enough. When we expect too much, we expose ourselves to unnecessary stress and much disappointment. Why live life with so much stress? Just take what comes by and cherish each one of them. Life should be happier once the right expectation is set, especially for a marriage to stay on.

My parents have been married for 50 years and I can see the love in them. No marriage is perfect. Arguments, celebrations, misunderstandings, laughters and tears are the basic ingredients in all marriages. That makes life less boring. However, be careful not to let any problem sits for too long. Resolve it as soon as possible, so to reduce the degree of hurt it brings to any one or both parties.

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Love itself is a mystery. Keeping the flame of love after marriage gets more and more complicated as years gone by. Why is that so? Simply because nothing much surprises us anymore. Nothing much excites us as it used to be in the first couple of years of early marriage. However, over the years, most of us have grown up and established new goals and purpose for our families. We start to view lives from a different light. Things become more practical and realistic.

All being said, anniversary is just another day….no big hoo-hah about it. Counting the years give different people different reaction. For me, it is like the clock ticking. I feel this way because I prefer to live life a day at a time and cherish every moment in it. Life is too short to be spent counting the years and expecting lots from the spouse.

What does anniversary mean to you? How do you feel when you count year by year?

Today, I accept it as any other day. Work, chatting with friends, making people smile, hug my children, receive whatever hubby presents to me or not, watch my Korean drama, dine with family and retire for the day. Another day well-spent!

Cheers to all.

~ Alice N.

~


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Why Do We Get Married?

There will come a time when we are ready, or rather, feel ready to tie the knot with our partner (boyfriend/girlfriend). Someone once asked me, “What age is right?“. There is no right or wrong age for marriage. More like, are you ready to share your personal life space, which you have enjoyed singly and happily all these years? It will no longer be just you but more like “US” now. That’ll be your new status, which comes with huge responsibilities.

There are people in the world who married for what I’d like to call, for the wrong reasons. Something like, transfer responsibilities to another person, out of loneliness, for wealth or status, for business prospect, for convenience, or simply “because my friends are married, so would I”. Is that good enough reason to get married? Would that form a firm foundation to build a marriage on?

Just couple of weeks ago, I had a lovely chat with a dear friend. She was first my physician then we became good friends, for more than 15 years! She has adult daughters, all are working or studying overseas. This wonderful lady has travelled to most part of the world and knows how to enjoy her life! She is able to balance her career, family and vacations with girlfriends so well.

She told me, as she would her daughters, that marriage is about growing together. About being a better person as you grow together. About being compassionate, unselfish, considerate, patient, ability to compromise, to think of others before ourselves….what she’s getting at is that when we get married, we learn to grow together and live harmoniously. It is a lot of hard work since two people are of different minds and characters. It takes time to achieve a pattern in which both can move together as one, in harmony.

Of course, at first it is all about the lovey dovey stuffs. Reality is, lovey dovey doesn’t last. May I say, usually, from courting time to shortly after marriage. So, don’t get your hopes up or you’ll be in for a great disappointment. The first year is tough for those couples who have not lived together prior to the wedding. That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for those who have lived together before. After the fairy tale wedding reception and honeymoon are over, you’ll soon return to the real world. Like I said before, it is no longer about YOU but US. US is not confined to just you and your partner but your partner’s family too. True that you married your partner, not his/her family. Fact is, without the parents, you don’t get your partner, right? I’m afraid they come as an extended package. If you draw a thick hard-line to separate them, you’ll soon discover one of the reasons to your near future grievances would be this important issue, the in-laws. So, thread carefully on this sensitive issue. If you are mindful, you can have a pleasant relationship with all concerned. Take a step back and you might win two steps forward.

What about the lovey dovey stuff, you ask? It’ll come back after you’ve learnt to grow your relationship and love for each other. It takes time. To some young couples, during the first year of marriage, there will be new addition to the family. As they grow their little family, couples can’t quite find time for each other. Simply because, a lot of energy and time are spent on caring for their children. At the end of the day, both would be drained. During such time, arguments may break out often, for lack of attention, understanding, disappearing romance, etc. I believe many married couples with young children go through this tough phase. Stick together for support, talk it out and have lots of patience. As the children get older, their level of dependence on you will get lower and thus, you’ll have slightly more time on your side to rekindle the romance.

Next month, we’ll be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. These 17 years are not all bed of roses. There were laughter and tears in them, which I cherished. There were ups and rock-bottom down, which I learnt that nothing stays the same forever. The wise person who created the marriage vow knows his/her stuff very well. In health and sickness, for richer and poorer, etc. Just as my wonderful friend said before, marriage is about growing together. It is challenging and adjustments have to be made all the time to keep up with life’s tempo. Challenging because we both come from different backgrounds with different characteristics. We learnt that our upbringing plays an important role on how we think, the way we see and do things.

It took us 16 years to finally really experience the lovey dovey stuffs and understand that marriage is all about growing together. I won’t call it a return of lovey dovey as we had a very short courtship. I had no intention to get married but at that time, it felt right with him (dear hubby). Our first year was almost-hell (sorry Darling, for the description), as we try to find a way to live with each other. Fortunately, we took time to get to know each other before growing a little family of our own. Now, I can happily say that we have come a long long way and we have learnt not only to tango, but to waltz too, to life tunes. We’ve made quite a great team together. Of course, life challenges doesn’t stop here.

It takes time (years) to reach to this phase, which we discovered last year. There is hope for such deep and special love in a marriage after all. Such love and feelings aren’t the same as the young love. It is deeper than that. It makes your heart swell. When you smile it brightens up your inner self which brings a special glow to your face. You feel it deep down in your heart right down to your tingling toes. Whatever action you choose to make, it is out of respect and love for the other half, not fear. It’s difficult to describe…you’ll have to experience it to know it. We have just found it so it’s new to us. I trust we must continue to work on it to make it last.

If you haven’t got to this stage yet, be patient. Keep working on your marriage. Don’t give up on it. Don’t give up on romance. You have to do all the works, like laying the foundation, like planting a tree. It takes years maybe because, as the children grow older, couples will have more and more time for each other. You have to grab the chance as it shows up. Create opportunities for romance. Make your partner feels good/wonderful when in your company. You have to feel good first, of course! Fill you heart with love, compassion and forgiveness. Look at the positive side in everything. When faced with unpleasant things or if you are upset, do speak up to make your partner understand.

It is alright to argue, but not all the times though. Arguments bring couples closer if you know how to compromise at the end of it. Once an issue is settled, erase from the memory. It’s history. Don’t bring it all up again and again. It’s depressing for all and won’t do any good to the relationship anyway. Ego has no place in any marriage. Marriage provides a safe haven for you to be weak without making you feel any less about yourself.

Marriage takes a lot of continuous hard work, compromise and patience. Life is about give and take. It is not about sacrifice. When you do things out of sacrifice, over time, you’ll feel bitter, used and unhappy. It is an irritating thorn to any marriage. I’ve heard many people telling me about their sacrifices in their marriages, spoken with despite and sadness. They felt trapped in their own marriages. It’s not about sacrifices but about making choices which work reasonably well for both of you.

So, if you are planning to get married, make sure you marry for the right reasons. To some, being single is better than married, especially so when you are not willing share your personal space. To those who are into it, may I wish you all the best….don’t give up so easily when you have been doing the right thing all along. Engage your partner on your thoughts and actions. Remember that we are no mind readers. Have common goals to ensure that your marriage works. Communication is as important as compromise. If you “fight”, fight for the marriage to win. Not individual victory.

Here’s to a wonderful life experience!

~ Alice N.


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You Ain’t Heavy, You’re My Husband.

A couple of days back, we celebrated a special man’s birthday. He is the one I married to, 16 years ago, without many courting days. At that time, it felt just right and I felt save and calm, to give him my heart.

Darling, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! On his birthday, he had to work as usual, though it was a public holiday. I understand him very well. When he needs to work, I’ll let him go with my best wishes. I’d like to think of it as a dose of sunshine a day, just like people take vitamins every morning.

I have, since a long time ago, treat everyday as a birthday. Must be the age factor; when one gets older, one treasures the substance in life more than how it looks on the outside. Each day we spend on earth is a gift of life; each day we get to see and feel the presence of our loved ones, is a celebration, each day when we open our eyes to a brand new day is a birth day.

So, it was okay not to have dear hubby with us the whole day, on his official birthday. That gave us some private time to cook up some surprises for him! Moreover, we still have other days. As long as he is happy….

My wish for my big man is, may all dreams come true and that all his hard labor will come to fruition soon. We have come a long, long way and whatever life serves us, good and not-so-good, we receive with open hearts and mind. There is always a good reason behind everything that crosses our paths. You know, Blessing In Disguise? All we need to do is look at the opposite of the bad. There is always an opportunity to learn or to act differently, don’t you agree?

So my dearest hubby, go out with a clear mind and brave heart, to reap what you have sown. We will be right by your sides, always ready to lend you our weights when you need them. We may be smaller but we are all strong to walk with you to the finishing line. You ain’t heavy, you are my husband and father to our children.

Just remember always that you are so loved and thought of all the time. If we can bring the sun to you, we shall not hesitate to fetch it. Since we can’t do that, we shall pour our “sunshine” to warm you when it’s cold outside; we’ll shower you with cool kisses when it is too hot and hug you like soft, comfy blankets when it is hard out there, so that you can let your tired body rest for a while.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR HUBBY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU….

~ Alice N.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mummy Dearest,

Through the years, you have taught me a lot, since very young, to prepare me for adulthood and make me an independent person.

When you discontinued the service of “Ah Yee” (our house-keeper whom we addressed as Aunt) and started to train me to do housework, I thought you wanted to torture me. I resented every single chore that I had to complete. I shed tears each time I had to wash the dishes, cut the vegetables to perfection, learning to cook, do the laundry (those days, all clothes were hand-washed!), ironing (heavy metal charcoal iron) those clothes with you, etc. You also tried teaching me floral arrangements, sewing, knitting and gardening, but failed because this daughter (sigh) just didn’t have any interest! Wish I paid more attention then. Now, I am hopeless in sewing and can’t keep a decent garden!

I couldn’t understand why I needed to learn all those “life-surviving” skills till years later when I went away to further study, then to work. Equipped with all these skills, I actually survived effortlessly. When I got married, I knew from day one how to run my household and also, able to carry out my role as a daughter-in-law, which made my Mom so proud! There were times when I blamed my mom for teaching me too much and too well.

Anyway Mom, without your dedication and patience, I wouldn’t have been who I am today. I shall take it in my stride to teach the same to my daughter too. For I know now, instead of spoiling me by spoon-feeding me, you chose the hard way “by teaching me to fish” instead. I can see clearly now. I guess it takes a Mother to know a Mother. Her intention has always been good. She knew all along that the skills she transferred to me will one day make my life simpler. She is so right – mother knows best!

Thank you, Mom! For teaching me to fish, instead of handing me the fish, for my sake.

Thank you, Mom! For letting me grow at my own pace, under your guidance.

Thank you, Mom! For being there when I need you, at all times. Never once have you turned me down.

Thank you, Mom! For your unconditional love, now and forever.

Mom, you have done very well in bringing us up; you always make the best out of any situation, even with limited resources; providing us a beautiful home to return to. A home which is always warm and welcoming; you make us feel safe and pampered as if we were children again; where we can find love and of course, super delicious home-cooked food. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful mom.

On your Birthday, I wish to you continuous good health, peace in your heart and mind, happiness and love always. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUMMY! WE LOVE YOU ALWAYS… ❤

~ Alice N.

Family

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.

Teenage Dating

It seems like only yesterday your baby was born then, learning his/her first words and steps. Given the chance, I think, many parents would like to keep their children as young as possible and remain that way (LOL!).

I have heard so much being talked about teenagers and dating. I’m sure these kind of talks have been around all the time. I wasn’t paying attention to them as they didn’t sound relevant to me till I have one under our roof. Then, my ears started to pick up signals of such talks and boy, was I so interested to listen to more of them. We all know – some parents find dating a big NO NO! To some, it is alright, but with a few rules to follow.

Why big NO NO? Many parents feel that their teenagers are too young to fall in love and it may distract and disrupt the children’s studies. I also read of a few possibilities that when teenagers started going steady, they would surely want to spend as much time with their boy/girl friends, having long chats on the phone or Facebook, they may neglect family members and other friends, they may get hurt and don’t know how to deal with it.

For those parents who said it is fine, they understand that children at this age will start to be curious about forming special friendship with the opposite sex. Through these relationships, teenagers learn to respect and care for another person, other than him/herself and family members. They also learn to be more understanding, tolerant, about success and failures, happy and sad moments.

Parents have to learn to let go, but of course, must first set guidelines and let teenagers know the consequences when guidelines are violated. No matter what, teenagers still need their families’ attention, love and guidance. Let them know that you will always be there should they need you for a heart to heart talk.

Teenagers and Dating, at what age do you think is appropriate for them to start going steady? Your say or vote below….

~ Alice N.