Family Matters

I love long weekends. Especially when they involve sunshine and a whole lot of uninterrupted Facebook ex-boyfriend stalking time in my jammies. But some long weekends are different from others. Easter long weekend is one of them.

I moved to Canada when I was 17. My family unfortunately couldn’t come along for the ride. If I told you that my life was incredibly wonderful without having to deal with parental controls on everything, you would be believing a big fat lie.

The truth was that I was miserable about having no one to nag me for quite a long time before I started to appreciate it. Today at 25, after 8 years of being on my own, I don’t think I could ever move back with my parents. And I will guiltily admit that I don’t always miss them as much as they miss me. But there definitely are some days in the year that really get to me. Birthdays are a big one, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Thanksgiving weekend, Family Day- which is Canada’s cruel way of giving people without families a day off to lie in bed and cry, Easter weekend and most Sunday evenings.

This Easter weekend is no exception. But this year I decided that instead of being mopey about my family not being here, I’ll share you guys how awesome they are and celebrate them instead!

My parents are from a little state in India known as Goa.

My beautiful mother and my dotting, expert camera timer setter father on their honeymoon.

My mom met my dad at a New Year’s dance. She told me that he had a small bottle of an adult beverage in his pocket when he asked her to dance. He also stepped on her several times during said dance. Some 7 or 8 years later they got married proving that it is indeed possible to overcome mediocre first impressions, even if takes 7 years.

Dad:

My mother couldn’t have picked a better guy to have me with. My dad is one of the most hard-working, honest and affectionate people I know. When I was kid, he would wake me up at the crack of dawn on weekends and take me to the beach with him for a swim. I loved everything about those days. We would spend hours together in the water and come home at sunrise to the smell of freshly made breakfast.

My father skillfully keeping my head from falling off.

As I grew older and no longer cared much for early mornings, my dad replaced our beach dates with trips to my favorite place on earth- The Family Bookshop. He would let me spend hours in there perusing Enid Blyton books. He would let me buy a couple and now I’m pretty sure this was his sneaky way for steering me clear of video games. Till today I’ve never played a single video game. Tetris is not a video game.

Years later, when I was 17, my father held back tears and let his only daughter go off to college all her own in a strange country a million miles away from him. I think this was his biggest sacrifice as a father. Perhaps even bigger than the billion dollar bill he footed for my university degree.

Mom:

This photo was taken while there were bombs and gunshots outside during the Iraq/Kuwait war. My mother in her Sunday best, me with a big smile and my brother ready to punch someone

If you ever wondered where I got my sarcastic streak, you can thank this woman for it. My mother is as affectionate as my dad but she had her own way of showing it. Although she was never very vocal about her feelings, it was not hard to see her selflessness in everything she did for her family. After the birth of my brother, and the rise in the mischief and noise levels in the household, my mother’s aim at throwing  random objects such as hairbrushes, slippers, shoes, books and erasers at her unruly children reached expert levels. I’m sure she would have made us proud if throwing random objects were an Olympic sport.

 She was also the proverbial good cop in her and my dad’s parenting stratergies. For example, that one time when I threw the entire contents of my lunch in the garbage my dad’s way of punishing me was to cut off my food supply altogether. My mother’s way on the other hand, was to patiently tell me that when I died, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to heaven until I ate every morsel of food I’d ever thrown away in my lifetime. Till today I lick away the crumbs of my potato chip bag and would rather be sick than throw away a perfectly good fifth slice of pizza.

Years later, when I became a foolish teenager, my mother and I butted heads over everything and I used to think we would never be friends again. It took thousands of miles between us for me to realise that my mother was the best friend I could have ever had. And there was nothing I could tell her about myself  would ever change that.

 

Kevin:

Kevin and I at the Jack Johnson concert in Toronto.

My brother Kevin was born in Kuwait on August 3rd, 1990, just one day after Iraq invaded Kuwait. This earned him the nickname, Saddam Hussein. Although, this was a terrible nickname, Kevin was kind of a terror when he was a kid. Before he even learnt how to talk, he knew how to manipulate situations to his advantage. He would wack me in the face with a spoon and run crying to my mother with his hand on his face. Guess who got some beatings with a stick disciplined for that one!

I bullied him all the time but with the price of his own crafty revenge tactics. We used to share a room together and one weekend, he woke up early at around 6am and started vacuuming our bedroom. Specifically the space around my bed. Our vacuum cleaner had a decible index high enough to wake up the dead and small animals from hibernation. In an obvious fury, I complained to my mother, who immediately yelled at me for being such an ungrateful lazyass and that I was lucky to have a brother who was nice enough to do my chores.

Such was the nature of our hate/hate relationship growing up. And then, much like my relationship with my mother, everything changed when life separated us. Four years after I went off to college, Kevin finally joined me in Canada. Today, I barely recognise him from the mischievous little boy I grew up with. He stands at 5’10”, has a ridiculously sarcastic sense of humor and better taste in music than me. He is also the most awesome concert buddy and the only one in the world who can put up with me on an airplane. And even though our parents are still far away on major holidays, I still have Kevin.

I could go on and on about these three people in my life, but I know I should probably stop here. As much as I miss them, I am grateful to this distance for making me realise how much they mean to me and how lucky I am to have them. Perhaps some day when life works out, we will all be together and distance will no longer be there to teach me gratefulness. But until then, you will have to hear the endless antics and anecdotes that only serve as proof of how lucky I am to have such an awesome family.

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62 thoughts on “Family Matters

  1. I love this post. I come from a big family and we are all spread out. I get to see them every so often though. I hope the time comes soon for the reunion of a lifetime with your family!

  2. I gotta disagree about the “no parental controls during teenhood” comment. My parents moved back to Singapore from Australia when I was 15, and I got to finish school by staying in Australia with a friend and his family.

    The lack of parental smothering really helped me grow and figure myself out as an individual. Sure I missed my family, but my mom can be kinda over-bearing and I don’t think I’d be as comfortable with myself now if I didn’t have those few years of independence.

    • I absolutely do not disagree with you on this. What I meant with that was that as much as I needed to be independent at that time, I missed them too much and it took me a while to adjust and really appreciate my independence.

      I think moving away had been the best decision at the time, even if it meant we were going to be seperated. It’s like you said, it helped me figure myself out.

  3. Sweet. That was so precious. Families, lots of good times and struggles. When your ears ring, you can bet they are talking about you, probably so proud and happy you turned out okay. It’s good to have space, too. Just don’t wait too many years before you see them.

  4. This post made me call my family. I had been super close with my family and not spending holidays, birthdays, and even Sunday dinner together was unheard of. Then 5 years ago, I moved to China and it was a bit of an adjustment not having them around when I need them. Plus, realizing that life still went on without me kind of sucked. But, I look back now and think about how spoiled I was (youngest with two older brothers) and I needed to grow up. You had to do that at 17. I did it a bit later, but so much better for it.

    • I’m quite flattered that my post compelled you to call your own family! Its true, I think it was discussed on this thread that distance truly is the best way to learn independence and to grow as an individual. At some point or the other, the umbilical cord needs to be cut. I hope you get to see your family soon! 🙂

  5. I love this post. I live 4000kms away from my family (and a lot of my friends) and miss them sooooo much .. until I go and visit for 2 weeks .. I love them but cannot live with them ! I do wish I could see them all a tad more often xx

  6. Yes, you did have a fantastic family! 🙂

    Mine is a delusional mother with an incredibly flexible memory, two brothers who I haven’t seen in thirteen years and a psychotic father hell bent on killing me should the opportunity present itself.

    Seems by speaking the truth about his activities when we were kids I cannot be allowed to live.

    Amazing how an abusive parent can rewrite the script when his actions are exposed…

    Love and hugs to you and your wonderful family! 🙂

    Prenin.

      • I was in touch with the youngest, Keith, last month however I have to take care as he’s the only member of the family who still talks to our sperm donor (he’s not fit to be called father!) and will be the only beneficiary of his will when the evil old sod kicks the bucket…

        Neil I haven’t seen in 13 years when he visited me in the psychiatric hospital after my being driven to insanity and suicide.

        He’s got his own problems though, so I can’t blame him…

        Love and hugs!

        Prenin.

  7. Lovely entry. You are lucky to have an awesome family even though they are so far away. I am used to spending all my family holidays alone but that is pretty much my own choice. I take Black Sheep Syndrome to the extreme. What a beautiful baby you were!

  8. Awww, bless your heart. Sounds like you have a great family there.

    I might start calling my brother Saddam Hussein just for a laugh.

    I wonder if these two will grow up to have such a loving family as well;

    • Awww thanks Michael! 🙂 I do have a great family. Did your brother also hit you with spoons? Its a good thing you dont live in America or I would have strongly suggested against calling your brother Saddam there.

      I’ve seen this video before and I’ve always wondered if these two are brother and sister. Either way, bitches be crazy. I’m sure they’ll grow up to have wonderful families.

  9. My brother used to do the exact same thing! Hit me and then go crying to my mom. And of course, who will listen to my just denials when there’s a crying dimwit claiming otherwise…
    Now, however, he has taken up slightly more mature tatics like placing photographs of me in the fridge and then asking me if I’m feeling cold or not. 😀

  10. This was so sweet! I love the vaccuuming around your bed haha I gotta try that one next time I go home!
    And PS I got told I wouldn’t go to heaven if I didn’t floss every night…
    it didn’t work

  11. This was a real sweet blog and I guess it just shows that regardless of the place, time or past events, we all always love our parents, brothers and sisters. Even though we might not be with them all the time or get along too well, they are wonderful to have.

  12. I truly enjoyed reading this! It just made me realize how incredibly lucky I am to have most of my family a few hours away. This past weekend we have 30 some people gather together at my parent’s house. It was such a great time & something that I wish every person can experience. I hope you can cherish the memories you have & always look forward to the day you will be together again!

  13. Great post! I love how you and your brother are getting along.

    After having gotten along so well growing up, my brother and i had a falling out a couple of years ago and have yet to recover. I hope we can pick up the pieces some day, I I really do miss him and the distance emphasizes it. 😦

    • I think all families are at some point or the other tested with fall outs. I know it must be a lot more complicated than this but have you or him tried reaching out to each other? Sometimes I feel maybe distance is a good thing in these situations. But I hope neither one of you wait too long.

  14. Goa is such an incredibly beautiful section of India. It has been one of my favorite destinations in my travels through India over the years. At some point, I would love to hear what took your parents from Goa to Kuwait. It seems to me that there is probably an interesting story there. And, I can relate to being far away from family. I miss my parents and two siblings all the time–but particularly on days that mark big events. Lovely post.

    • Goa is a beautiful place. There isnt really too much of an interesting story there. My parents got married and my father applied and got a job at the oil company in Kuwait. The money is really good and it was a means to a much better life so they both moved there and started a family.
      I used to go to Goa over the summer months when I was a kid but that about it. Whats your favorite place in Goa?? I’m pretty sure you would have seen way more of it than I did (or remember)

      • I would not call myself an expert on Goa, just someone who has very much appreciated it as a guest. I mostly know the northern portion. I love Candolim–it has such a beautiful beach with morning glories creeping up to its edge. In my experience, it’s a little less crowded than Calangute and Anjuna but every bit as beautiful. I also very much like the village of Panaji (or Panjim, depending on whom you’re talking to) and all its Portugese-inspired architecture. Whenever I share my photos of Goa with friends, they can’t believe its a real place.

  15. I have moved away from my family four times. Three times to different countries, and once (current) to a different part of the U.S. I have always come back. Oddly enough, I never once thought I was coming back to be with my family – I always saw it as a failure on my part. But this time around, I’ve been allowing myself to severely miss my family. And this time around, I’m honestly not sure that I’m coming back (for good at least – it’s a good deal easier to pop up a few states than to fly internationally)… It’s amazing how much better we function when we stop deluding ourselves.

    • Yeh I know what you mean. I had other options apart from moving to another continent away from them. But I guess it was an unspoken agreement where we all knew it would be best this way in the long run even though it sucks.
      Sometimes we have the luxury of giving ourselves time to seperate ourselves. And sometimes we have no choice but to rip the bandage and move on without looking back. That doesnt mean we cant go visit once in a while though 🙂

  16. I love this post. Even though when I move I probably won’t be moving that far away from my family, I understand these sentiments completely. I don’t know if my parents understand that the distance helps us appreciate each other more, especially in adulthood when I’m forging my own path, and you said it in a way that I can articulate. Great post, and I’m glad you do get to spend time with your brother. 🙂

    • Thank you Samantha! 🙂 I think parents understand and don’t understand. My parents also left home at a very young age and went to a foreign country for a better life. So in that sense, they do get it. But I guess I will only really understand it when I become a parent and my kid leaves home.

  17. Wow, what a history! Your story is so worth sharing.

    I just found your blog today & have loved going through & laughing pretty much constantly. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I can only hope they are hahah. They do at times find my fabulousness a tad annoying but that comes with the territory.
      I’m touch that you would move mountains and oceans for me. But really if you conquered the world, the only thing I would want you to do is take over immigration and bring them here. And then move next door and be my equally fabulous neighbours 😉

  18. Such a sweet post mixed in with a few jabs here and there. I find too the further away from people I am the closer we end up becoming. It’s the old “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” mantra.

    You and your family seem like the biggest group of wise-asses on the planet. That’s good though. I’m amazed how “Canadanized” (is that a word?) you are despite such a short time away from where you grew up. I’m sure at times though they bug you still even with the distance. Thank you Skype. Now there’s no excuse for not talking to far away relatives.

    • Canadianized is very much a word. My parents use it often to lament about their children losing their culture. We didnt really have a long way to go though to become “canadianized”. My brother and I grew up watching North American shows and only spoke English at home.

      Wrestling and Seinfeld are our family favorites. Add to that, there actually is a wise-ass gene from my mother’s side being passed around so considering everything, it was pretty easy to fit in.

      Kuwait has actually banned Skype (among other regular things) so thank you MSN video chat for not having an excuse to avoid distant relatives :/

  19. Awwww omg this was so hilarious and sweet at the same time 🙂
    It sounds like you have an amazing family that has helped shape an amazing young lady. I think I was on the verge of shedding a tear at a couple of points during this post =P

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