Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm A Horrible Daughter

I'm a horrible daughter. My mom and I were doing some catching up last night after they arrived from Manila. They're here to attend Sun papa's funeral on Wednesday. My mom told me about their trip to Taiwan during Christmas and how her friend celebrated her 60th birthday.

She said her friend's 3 daughters and their families all went to Taiwan and surprised her. They showered her with gifts and held a big party in her honor. And what did my mom's 3 children do for her 60th birthday? Close to nothing.

When my mom celebrated her 60th birthday last December, my brother and his in-laws came to HK and we all had a double celebration for her and my brother who's birthday was in late November. But the main purpose of his trip was not to celebrate any birthdays. My brother just freaked out abit when my dad was hospitalized for nothing serious a few months ago. He felt we should do all we can to spend as much time together as a family, that's why he came. It just so happened it was during my mom and his birthdays. I won't go into the details of the lunches and dinners we had to organize because there was just too much drama. Suffice to say we're not a sentimental family, so celebrations and organizing big gatherings for a measly birthday is not our specialty.

That evening when we actually got them a cake, went to a fancy restaurant, took pictures and sang happy birthday, I really thought it was good enough for my mom. Growing up I don't remember ever celebrating my parents' birthdays. All the birthday pictures I saw were of my brothers and me. So until last night, I always thought the simplest of celebrations was good enough for my parents, my mom especially.

But when my mom went into details of what her friend's daughters did, I could see the slight hint of tears in her eyes, the slight crack in her voice which she was trying hard to swallow. It broke my heart hearing her talk and filled me with guilt that all I gave her was a lousy sweater which cost less than the shirts we gave my brother. I couldn't believe just how horrible of a daughter I am! I wanted to give her a hug and tell her we'll do better next year, but that was already beside the point. The deed was done, or rather not done and there's no doing over.

What I did tell my mom is that I'm sorry we didn't match in terms of effort of what her friend's daughters did. I promised her when we are more financially stable we'll make sure we do something better. And then I also told her I didn't know things like this mattered to her. All our lives we never celebrated their birthdays or anniversaries, its never been programmed in our heads. Even hubby and I don't go out of our way to celebrate each other's birthdays. I don't even remember what we did during our last wedding anniversary. And you can forget about Valentines, Mothersday, Fathersday and even Christmas! We simply greet the person who's day it is, give a kiss and a hug, maybe a cake and our day goes on like any other. Maybe when our son is old enough we'll have to start doing something, but in the meantime, its all just marketing fluff to us.

Of course I didn't go into that much detail with my mom. She understood where I was coming from and even mentioned all my dad would say during her birthday or even his own is: "Oh, its your/my birthday? That's good." But now that I know, I'm going to get my butt into gear and put some effort into it. Knowledge is power, and I'm going to use this new information for some good this year.

Thank god my mom's birthday isn't till December.

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