Pining for my parents
Iam already in my mid30s, but I am suffering from separation anxiety, a condition that usually happens to babies. Recently, things have gotten harder for me when it comes to parting with my parents. Every time I return to Beijing from my hometown, it takes me at least two days to overcome my nostalgia.
Last month, I paid a threeday visit to my hometown. I found that my parents are aging more quickly. I am a new mom with a baby now, but they still treat me as their little daughter. My mom hardly sat down. She kept busy cooking my favorite foods and walking quickly between the kitchen and the dining room. My dad, who has a habit of playing ping pong every day, just skipped it in order to spend time with me.
A three-day visit is too short. We could not even arrange our time together well. My mom wanted to have a good chat with me but could not help going to the kitchen, again and again, to get me fruits, drinks and snacks.
I suddenly realized how much we are sentimentally attached to each other. When I left, I hugged my parents for the first time in my life. As a traditional young Chinese, although I have learned much about the Western culture which promotes direct expression of love to family members, I had been too shy to hug my parents over the past 30 years, let alone saying “I love you.”
Back in Beijing, the scenes of being with my family were like montages live streaming in my head. I missed them. I was already back, but my soul was still on the way.
I asked my friends, “Is it shameful that the older I am, the more unwillingly I part with my parents?” Surprisingly, many of my friends replied that they have a similar sentiment to mine. And one of them said, “No. Quite the contrary, it just proves that you are really grown up.”
“They gave us the best they could afford but we are not able to be beside them when they get old,” she added.
For many people my age, when we were young, we were eager to leave our parents. We believed that we could be free and see the colorful world only by leaving home. Now, we have run far away enough but suddenly we realize that we are kites and our threads are still held by our parents.
The other day, I watched a TV program in which a Beijing woman told her story about taking care of her aging mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. “Company is where happiness lies,” she said. “I regret being far away from her for so many years.” The woman has a teenage daughter, but she said she will not send her daughter abroad as she had planned in the past. “It is just good to let her stay close to me.”
More than two decades ago, the economic imbalance was obvious between big cities and small townships. That is why many parents hoped their children would study well at school and then use the gaokao (the national college entrance examinations) as a seesaw to leave their hometown for a bigger city for better personal development. As the distance between different regions has gradually become closer nowadays, I think it is not impossible that more young people will choose to stay in their hometown with their parents.