big and small

there is no culture of hugs and kisses and “i love you“s in my house. when we wake up in the morning, we greet one another, chat a bit, i see my parents out for their morning walk, talk a little with my sister over breakfast (nothing deep – mostly what’s in the news), read the papers, have my breakfast, a quick farewell to my mother and then i’m off.

it’s only in the past year that i’ve made a point to give my mum little hugs when i see her, or pat my dad on the shoulder before i head out the door. it’s just in the last couple of times my parents sent me off at the train station that i’ve kissed them goodbye and said that i love them. i just feel that life’s too short to leave love unexpressed in any physical way possible.

it doesn’t mean that my home is devoid of love. i know my family loves me, though not from verbal expression or gifts or acts of service. i know they love me because they trust me, they make sure i have everything i need, they nag me when i’m getting out of line and they have shown adequately in their own indirect ways that all they want is for me to be happy. it’s the big things – trust, faith, support – that have shown they love me.

now that i know about the whole love language thing, i finally know why, for a long time, i’ve felt that my family’s brand of love wasn’t enough for me. you see, i prefer to express my affection for people by making them things, buying them things, or just going out of my way for them. it makes me happy when people feel special or know that they’re on my mind…maybe because i am most insecure when i feel taken for granted.

the things i appreciated most in the past were the extra bananas my mother put on the table at breakfast so everyone can have fruit in the morning and the bowls of soup with customised contents (chicken feet for my father, extra meat for my sister, innards and gizzards for me) at dinner. thanks to some epiphany my mother had when she became ill, now i also get phone calls from her at odd times in the day, which i enjoy very very much.

i guess i was too much of an angry kid before to realise that my family actually did do their bit at showing affection in little ways: my parents gave me a birthday card one year (which i found rather amusing at the time), my father brought home my favourite peaches from china once eventhough they were declared goods he had to pay for (and he’s not well-known for spending his money that way), and my sister still makes a point to ask me first for movies eventhough it’s been a long time since i’ve had time to watch one with her.

the original question on my mind when i started typing this post out was “is love expressed more in the big things or the little things?” i just felt that although the foundation lies in the big things like responsibility, accountability and faithfulness, it all doesn’t say much unless expressed in the little things that show you love someone.

i’m just grateful that i have both in my family. i hope i’ll be able to pass it on in the future too.

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