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When you’ve been single for a while, the question you usually get is, “Eih, why you still single ah?”
It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from. I’m pretty sure you can relate to this especially during family gatherings. The question that we can’t really avoid and answer it anyways. Vaguely.
Well, let me share with you a story about what happened to me that’ll make you think twice about this question.
Before we go into the story, allow me to introduce myself. I come from a decent family and full of responsibilities as the eldest. I don’t get the question very often but I do get the pressure from my uncles and aunties during family gatherings. “You’ve grown up, can get a girlfriend already.”
And it all happened when me and my parents went to a wedding at my mum’s kampung. What happened that day was life-changing for me.
And the story goes like this
So me and my parents went to a wedding at my mum’s kampung in some rural area. I kind of hated the rural areas because it’s hot and dusty there. And muddy. Anyways, I followed along since I had nothing much to do and there was free food.
You know wedding, people singing and eating and drinking. For me, it was a kampung wedding. Just like any other wedding. Boring. I started to think that I shouldn’t have come along. But just as things are getting boring for me then it happened.
I went into the house looking for something to entertain me. And as I passed by the living room, I saw my mum. She was holding a baby. And she’s feeding the baby as she talks to other aunties.
I was very curious about whose baby she’s holding so I went beside her to have a look.
The baby is around one to two years old. Chubby face with large and round eyes. My mum wants me to hold her. And I did. Holding a one-year-old baby is the most soothing feeling ever. You get to hear them laugh and kiss them on the cheek. It’s lovely.
My mum played with the baby as I held her. And the baby was enjoying our company.
Then I realized something
I noticed how genuinely happy my mum was when she was playing with the baby. I’ve never seen her this happy before. The look on her face made my heart melt. And the baby was laughing very hard too.
Holding the baby in my arms and looking at my mum smiling while making the “sayang” sound she usually did when I was a kid to the baby. My mum was very happy.
All those questions make sense now.
I used to be confused about what’s with those questions. I used to think that it’s our responsibility to raise a family. But it all made sense to me at that moment.
That moment of truth really hit me hard. It’s realizing the truth of life. I didn’t know because I haven’t reached that part of my life yet. But life has a touching way of showing you its lessons.
Love brings two people together. And it requires sacrifice. Love brings them together and their sacrifices gave us a family, a home. Trust me when I say there’s no greater love than a parents’ love. And to be honest, I cannot relate to a parents’ love at all. Not yet.
But from what I see, it’s the purest form of love. Because it’ll break their hearts to see you sad and hurt. We neglected this because we took it for granted. A parent’s love is an act of service.
They’re not asking it because you’re single. And they’re not asking it because you should raise a family to show that you’re responsible for your life.
For them, having a family brings them happiness and they wish you the same. They want to see you happy.
I understand my parents now
We all have our own responsibility in the family. Whether you’re the eldest or youngest, we cannot run from it. I used to think that my responsibility is annoying. Being the eldest, I had to become the role model of my siblings. And taking care of them is even harder. You might have to sacrifice time and effort for them.
My ignorance has made me forget that this family is a result of my parent’s love story. I can see that clearly now.
My perspective changed ever since that day. When I got back, I sat in my room thinking. I had an emotional breakdown. I listened to sad songs all day to make myself feel better. I do that every time.
What if they don’t get the chance to hold their grandkids. And I don’t ever want to deal with those regrets.
All those feelings were too much for me. I was breaking down for days. I was slightly depressed not because I broke up but because I am single. You can get heartbroken from being single too. Like me.
I can’t force something like a relationship. Not to say marriage. That’s a huge commitment. But I can’t deny the fact that my parents are getting old while I’m busy growing up.
I’m busy. But once in a while, my parents’ happiness became my priority before anything else. I’ll make them happy every chance I have. Taking some time to cook them dinner is more than enough. They are already happy to see me.
They wish all the happiness in the world for me, and I want the same for them.
For more stories about fatherhood and motherhood, read We Asked Men in Their 30s, 40s, and 50s: What’s It Like Being a Father? and How Your Relationship with Your Parents Change after They Get Older.