Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ohana means family

One reason that constantly keeps us from uprooting and moving to a country much less stressful, cooler and with cleaner air is family. Packrat and I both believe that our families are important and moving would never be permanent unless we could move the maters with us. Now that we have children, that message is all the more important so that the children get wind of it.

Packrat believes very strongly in us modeling behaviour for our children. Why demand something from them if we can't do it ourselves? On top of that, we believe in setting up family traditions so that our kids will know what is important to us and hopefully bring it into their own families in the future. As is, they are beginning to figure it out. Both Jordan and Evan demand that where ever we go, we go as a family. Their greatest moments of joy are when all five of us are squashed in our bed and we're fighting for space to sleep. Muffin gets hysterical if one of us isn't present even if it is just getting into the lift. He also insists on holding both Packrat and my hand when he walks.

So some of the things that we do so that our kids will learn that family and grandparents are important people in their lives.
1. On the weekend, we kill ourselves getting from one house to another to share meals. And it is a half an hour drive sometimes for just a one and a half hour visit. If we can't go to the grandparents, we bring the grandparents to us.
2. We try to take vacations with the grandparents. That way, they are in a good mood and can spend time with the grandparents who are also chilled and in a good mood. 
3. We have meals with the children's great-grandfather, Tai Gong, even when the wanderlust grandparents are away, even if he already has had his cup noodles and wants to snooze.
4. We get the children to say hello to them, loudly for my hearing impaired father, goodbye and big hugs and kisses.
5. We celebrate their birthdays with them in a big way. The children get to pick out the cake, stick in the candles, make cards, bring presents, the whole works.

And we see even the gruffest of grandparents unbend under the smothering, joyful attention of the grandchildren. My father is not only deaf, he is grumpy and impatient with any sort of loud kiddish misbehaviour. But he allows his grandson to clamour all over him and his other grandson to sit on his lap and regale tales of cars, trucks and spaceships, even if he can't quite hear what the boy is saying.  It brings us joy to see it and I can only hope that it brings them joy as well.

Today is Packrat's mom's birthday. We celebrated it on Sunday. But I think it would be sucky if people didn't remember my real birthday just because I had a luncheon a few days ago to celebrate it. So, I got the children going. Every bone in my body screamed to not do anything this morning (I think I am either coming down with something or am just vibrating at an extremely extremely low frequency today). Anyway, I took a deep breath, hustled them out of the house to the nearby flower wholesaler. My plan was to buy a bunch of flowers, a vase and bring it over to Grandma's. But apparently, the wholesaler hasn't sold fresh cut bunches in years. Only pots of garden plants. That would do. Orchids, though not the newly christened Wills and Kate ones and off to Grandma's by way of dropping Muffin at school. 

Grandma could not stop grinning as the twins jointly hauled the pot of orchids into the house for her while hollering Happy Birthday. I think they made her day. She showed Tai Gong the flowers and proudly placed on in the middle of the dining table. She beamed. The twins beamed. I breathed and then hurried them off back into the car to go home to catch the school bus. Mission accomplished.

I wasn't all that close to my grandparents although I lived with both grandmas at one point or other in my life. Even then, I remember seeing my mother make the effort to visit the one we weren't living with, always going armed with tea snacks and me in the back seat. I now know why and I hope that it is something the children will also pick up from what we have done.

But for now, I want to curl up in the corner and just phase out from the morning's activity before resuming my parenting duties in an hour's time.

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  1. You're such a great daughter and DIL! I also think it's v impt to be close to the gramps, cos I was very close to my maternal grandma who helped bring me up.

    my kids are very fortunate to have gramps on both sides who are very involved in their caregiving too!

  2. Thanks Lyndis! I hope the parentals feel the same way! :)