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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