In a blink of the eye, and they gone.
Mom and dad left today after a month-long visit. Can't believe the time just flew by- it didn't seem that long ago when the girls and I picked them up at the airport.
And today, we sent them off. They are somewhere over the Eastern seaboard as we speak, enroute to KLIA and home.
It's been a wonderful month- having my parents around, having mom's homecooked recipes, conversing in Chinese, seeing them interact with my girls. And Kris has been most patient, putting up with our idiosyncrasies and obsession with white rice.
But truth be told, a part of me cried a little, coming to terms with our reality- one that any expatriate Malaysian with children will likely encounter. You realize that you may consider yourself Malaysian, and remember your smalltown boy roots fondly, this will not be the same for your children. Because of the distance, they will never be as attached to your family as you are; that in all likelihood they will be much more attached to their families here, and would have trouble understanding some of the cultures, language and traditions you may share with your parents and siblings.
And so, it was heartwarming to watch the girls interact with their Ah Kong and Ah Ma, I was a bit saddened to see that they were more attached and familiar to/with their maternal grandparents. That they had their moments too especially when they were tired when they just didn't want anything to do with my parents. Like how Alli had to be coaxed to even give a goodbye hug at the airport, because she just woke up from their nap.
My parents being as patient as they are understood. And I'm sure this was something they knew would come- sending their son overseas and having him start a family there. This is to be expected, that despite the phone calls and Skype sessions, that the distance will always be there and so the girls will grow up not having them here all the time. Sending them off had a profound effect on me- and I left the airport feeling somewhat lonely, realizing that the girls were not as saddened as I was, and that there would be no one on this continent that would feel the way I do about my parents.
But yet, another part of me was humbled and in awe too of their sacrifices. Being a father now, I realize how it is really possible to love your child that much. How crushing it is to leave your child. And yet, because they saw a better future for me away from Malaysia, they had the strength and love to encourage and let their kids spread their wings and fly and go to where life takes them. And in my case, half the world away.
Have a good flight, mom and dad. We enjoyed your visit and will miss you...