As I was folding clothes while watching tv, mom came upstairs wheezing heavily. She complained shortness of breath and the need to rub ointment all over her joints when she finally settled down to rest after a laborious day. I told her to leave the clothes downstairs and we will help her to carry it up whenever we are back from work. I told her not to carry the pail of clothes upstairs but she wouldn’t listen. In fact, she never listens.
Yesterday was the first time I heard her genuinely complained about being tired and old. Most of the time, she refused to acknowledge she is aging and would do all things as if she were still in her 40s or 50s. She’s 65 this year.
Since she sprained her left arm some five years ago, she no longer able to carry heavy things with her left arm. Even stirring the wok causes her pain. Thank goodness for my cousin brother who is the “executive chef”at home – he coined this for himself. He likes to cook, so he helps out a lot during weekends whenever he comes to my house to stay for the weekend. I am very bad at cutting things, so my mom or aunt always shoo me away from the kitchen. So, I made it a point to sweep and mop the floor on weekends whenever I could and do the laundry. And also, try to spend less time on the computer to talk to my mom.
As both of us are watching X Men on tv, she asked me questions – why is Storm’s hair white? Is Magneto the bad guy? Why is Cyclops wearing the sunglasses at night? I find her questions hilarious but it’s better than having no conversation at all. Then, both of us doze off in between the scenes and let television watched us instead.
I think I am the very few people who are lucky to be still staying together with parents. In fact, Time Magazine said, one of five things the U.S. can learn from China is, looking after the elderly. In China, children are still staying with the parents even when they are all grown up and being married. This has cultivated virtues of filial piety. How does filial piety help China’s economy? It was said that, they have a self funding system for the elderly i.e. home care as opposed to the U.S. whereby most senior citizens are cared for in old folks’ homes which are getting too expensive to be administered.
Okay. Before I deviate, what I am trying to say here is, I am fortunate enough to be witnessing the aging process of my parents’ everyday. Dad – despite his eccentricity at times, I think he had been quite a responsible father. Mom has always been there for us when we were young till today. She still worries for us constantly even when we are all adults now, making our own money and taking care of them. A slight change of routine would put her on edges. Even contemplation of getting a new job worries her. What if the new boss is an ass? What if it rains so heavily, you might get caught in the flash floods? Mom will always be mom, I guess. She will never cease to worry till her last day on earth.
Ask yourself this question – When was the last time you visited your parents?