Many years ago on Mother’s Day, I told my mother that she should be giving my sister and I presents instead of the other way around. My logic was simple: without us, she would not be a mother. Similarly, on my birthday, I should be giving her and Dad presents because I would not be here without them. After all, I had nothing to do with my being here. Of course, I was just being cheeky – we all know we should be celebrating our mothers every single day, am I right?
This year, Australia Day and Chinese (Lunar) New Year occur 2 days apart. Normally, my family follows the very Aussie tradition of doing a BBQ on Australia Day. If it is a hot day, we would jump in the pool, make up some ridiculous games that usually end up with someone (me) getting a cramp or pulling a muscle, but always laughing till our cheeks hurt. Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated with family dinner on the night before the new year, a time for everyone to down-tools, put the past year behind us and start afresh.
Over the past several weeks, my family has experienced the loss, half a world away, of a close family friend and then a family member. Both took us a little by surprise. So we decided to keep our celebrations a little low-key this year. A friend asked me the other day how I was going to be celebrating this year. I replied: “Well, we are going to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. We are going to a Chinese restaurant on Australia Day and then we’re going to a steak restaurant for Chinese New Year.”
I stayed over at my sister’s house last night as she and my brother-in-law had a rare night out. I was minding my nephew who has to be the easiest kid to babysit (once you’re used to his routines as if they’re the Order of Service at a wedding :)) and he asked his Mum, my sister: “Is Ah-yee (meaning your mother’s younger sister in Cantonese) living with us?”
Now, for those among you who are cynics, he wasn’t asking the question in a whiny way. He was serious. That was a precious moment – he wants me to be there all the time. Ah, that is a proud aunty moment, for sure, and one that I will treasure for as long as I can before he becomes a grumpy teenage boy! Lol
After receiving a phone call last week from an old friend’s sister-in-law to inform me that my friend had passed away suddenly from a motorcycle accident, then attending his funeral 2 days later, I needed some good quality family time. My friend was only in his mid-30s and has left behind a wife and four young children.
So I am keeping this short and sweet. Go and hug (and maybe kiss – if appropriate :)) someone you love. Tell them you love them and show them you appreciate them for being in your life.
Do it. Now.
If you ever need a reason or motivation to do it, just watch this wonderful video – Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. I have watched this a couple of times and have also read his book. It is powerful stuff.
On Friday 29th April, 2011, an estimated TV audience of 2 billion tuned in to the “Wedding of the Century” as Prince William of Wales married commoner Catherine Elizabeth Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. They had met at university and had been together for 9 years (bar a short period of separation) and for almost as long, the world had been asking “when will they tie the knot?” Once their engagement was announced and a wedding date set, then more questions followed: “who is she going to wear?” (making it sound as if she will be wearing a person), “who will be invited?”, “where will they have their honeymoon?”, etc. And now that the ceremony is over, the next big question to the happy couple is “when will they have a baby?”. And when that question is eventually answered, no doubt the next one will be “when will they have another one?”. Ah, so many questions!
We are all fascinated to some extent by people who lead very public lives and, of course, the British royal family is one of the most famous and most public for many reasons. Like all newlyweds, we wish the happy couple much joy and happiness. But when all is said and done, the confetti has been cleared from the London streets and royal wedding memorabilia have been sold out, we return to our normal day-to-day lives, and our reality is a very different picture.
Although I was not among the invited guests at the royal wedding, I was fortunate to have been able to attend another wedding a few weeks ago of an old high school friend to her partner of some 15 yrs (or more?), and the father of her two beautiful daughters. It was a much smaller and more intimate affair – something that I am sure Will and Kate wish they could have had, being surrounded by close friends and family. There were no formal invitations sent – a simple message on Facebook announcing to friends the wedding date a mere 4 weeks ahead of the special occasion, followed by another one announcing the time and location of the ceremony and reception. No formal RSVPs were received other than some messages posted on Facebook. For Rodney and Mary, this was their perfect day.
In case you didn’t know, today is Chinese New Year. It marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Now, before you go asking me what that means, let me just say I have no idea…will it be a good year? Well, there are a lot of people in this world so I’m sure it is bound to be a good year for at least one person, right? 🙂
As is tradition, I got a red packet (or “lucky money”) from my parents. For the first time this year, I would not be getting one from my Grandmother since she passed away recently (In Loving Memory for my Grandmother). The very thought threatened to bring tears to my eyes but I was determined that I would not start the new year with tears, but rather, I was going to remind myself of the many blessings in my life. And it would seem that I am not the only one to be thankful for my friends of late.
This next story I am telling does not belong to me but it makes me happy telling it just the same. You see, earlier this week, my favourite actor, Matt Bomer (star of White Collar) was appearing on US late night TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. All of us Collars are excited at every opportunity that we get to see Matt. So needless to say it was very exciting for us fans seeing him promoting our favourite show, but of course, not everyone can get to L.A. to meet the man himself. And this is where having great friends makes me “squee”…you see, Christine Antonios could not make it to L.A. to meet Matt in person, but two of her friends were kind enough to go, and here is the best part. Not only did they get to meet Matt outside the studios, but they went, armed with a handmade sign for Matt to hold so they could photograph him with it…and below is the result:
Matt Bomer holding a sign in support of my fellow Bo-mite Christine Antonios
For most of the past 18 Christmases, the special day was celebrated at my sister’s house. Although not so much the biggest fans of dinner parties, my sister and brother-in-law would host the Christmas Day lunch as they had the biggest house to accommodate both sides of the family. Lunch was traditionally the good ole Aussie BBQ with a touch of side salads and variety of cold meats and the like – the usual fare that would leave you thankful for wearing pants or skirts with elastic waistbands. Cleaning up was always the “fun” part and that was another good reason to have the luncheon at my sister’s since they have a dishwasher (I, on the other hand, AM the dishwasher). My sister has two pieces of household machinery that she swears she cannot live without: the washing machine and the dishwasher (I suppose you could say the refrigerator is pretty important too but if the fridge dies you could just eat out). So it came as no surprise that she went into hyper-crazed mode when her dishwasher died just before Christmas a few years ago.
That year, I spent Christmas Eve at my sister’s and she suddenly proclaimed: “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Now, I have to point out that I am from a pretty spiritual and religious family, so for her to say that was pretty serious (for the non-Christians who may not be familiar with this phrase, these were the words uttered by Jesus Christ at his Crucifixion)! So I stopped and reminded her that there were people in the world who were homeless or had no family to celebrate Christmas with and that a broken-down dishwasher would be the least of their worries!