Pin­ing for my par­ents

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Liu Meng Page Ed­i­tor: chen xi m eng@ global times. com.cn

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.

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