My siblings and I grew up seeing my grandparents several times a week, if not daily. We had the great fortune of living close to both sets of grands. My mom’s parents living a 15 minute drive away. My dad’s parents only a short walk through the field. We spent countless meals together. Hours upon hours gardening, drawing, reading, playing games, fishing together, sitting on the porch together. Watching Lawrence Welk reruns together. And not a birthday was celebrated without seeing them sitting around the table, ear to ear grins speaking to one another in a mostly English/occasionally Japanese hybrid while they laughed and clapped and oohed and ahhed from the candle blowing until the last of the gifts were opened. Their presence elevated our birthday celebrations to a level of special that could not be reached any other way. And we knew we were lucky to experience it.
I’ve always wanted that same experience for my kids.
Living in an exciting city like Hong Kong definitely has its perks. We are surrounded by all kinds of amazing things- world class restaurants, endless shopping, entertainment, culture, all kinds of excitement. We live in a city of both shiny and shabby scrapers reaching high into the clouds in dynamic contrast to the lush green hills and nature to hike, explore and escape to. It’s all right here for us to experience.
But it’s so damn far away from the rest of our family!
So of course it was a big deal that my parents were coming to stay with us for a month spanning Alfie’s birth and the aftermath to enjoy the kids but also to offer support. As usual we counted down the days to their arrival almost as intensely as we counted down the days to Alfie’s birth. And when they walked through our door it was for me almost as special as Christmas. And the whole month was just as marvellous as we anticipated it would be. To have my mom and dad here with us. Loving on the kids. On all of us. Adored by my kids. By all of us. Being a part of our every day life. Right here in front of us and not on a screen. IN PERSON to hug and kiss and just be next to.
And though my kids can’t just walk through the field to their grandparents’ house most days after school like I did, the thing is, when you only have a limited time together with those you love, you work hard to make that time count. And you really appreciate your time with them. You hone in on the love and leave no room for the negative.
Maybe we don’t see my parents daily, weekly or even monthly but we packed it all in. We had delicious, enjoyable meals together. We took lots of walks together. We went on daily outings. Went to the Peak. Played games, watched movies, made things, cooked and baked together. Laughed A LOT together. Talked a lot about a lot. We made sure we made up for those 8 months apart. They gave my kids that level of special that I remember feeling. And they knew they were lucky to experience it, too.
I know I’ve written about how great my parents are, but I’ll continue to sing their praises for as long as I live. They deserve all the praise in the world. They are wonderful and exceptional human beings, and are in their family’s eyes the most amazing parents and grandparents on earth. They’ve shown us that family is everything and that they’d do anything for any one of us. They stop at nothing to make us feel loved.
And our hearts overflow with love for them.
It was an unforgettable month.
Thank you, mom and dad.