This summer I was fortunate enough to spend over a month in Toronto, Canada with my extended family from both my mother and father’s side. It was the longest period of time I’ve ever spent with everyone. Most meals, whether it be casual, spontaneous or planned had over 15 people. I have an amazing family, it made me wonder what I would be like if I grew up in Toronto surrounded by everyone.
I am more than thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up in Hong Kong, one of the craziest cities in the world but it was really nice and reflective to spend this summer in Toronto. Despite the over indulgence of food every meal, being able to live life with my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins makes me incredibly happy. I have cousins who have young children, work full time but still took the time to take my brother and I out every week.
Yes, being out with all my cousins this summer was most definitely one of the highlights of the month but more importantly, I was able to spend more time with my grandparents and my cousin’s children. Those moments spent were very important to me and here is why,
Picture 1: My grandpa from my mother’s side
Picture 2: My grandma from my father’s side
Both of my grandparents below currently live in the elderly home and we only got to see them every once a week or so when we went to visit and/or bring them out for a meal. I saw them as often as every other year as I grew up, but was never mature enough to really treasure my time with them. I have two grandparents who have been admitted to an elderly home the past few years and that have changed the family dynamic drastically. I don’t have a very open relationship with them, I don’t know their life story nor do I tell them about mine in detail but being with them humbles and grounds me.
I imagine the joy and hardships they endured, all of those questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis they went through as well. Their life experience exceeds what I could ever imagine. I wonder how they think of me, and my upbringing. Did I turn out the way they thought I would? The more time I spent with them, the more I began to think of the people around me growing older. Sounds pessimistic but it makes me understand the true meaning of treasure every moment.
Picture 3: My aunt (dad’s eldest sister) with all her grand children
I’m proud to say I’m the aunt of these handsome young men and beautiful daughters. Knowing that they look up to me in everything I do makes me want to be a better person. I treasure every moment I get to spend with them because I want to be involved in their lives despite living in a different country, I want them to feel comfortable coming to me with anything they need whether it be help with school or simply ask questions about life. I can’t wait to see them follow their dreams and be everything they want to be. No matter where I am, I’m always going to be right by their side. I pray I continue to be the role model to their lives in whatever way they need me to be.
Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
– Gail Lumet Buckley