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The Parents in Our Lives
01 July 2021

Often times we are so caught up with growing up that we forget that our parents are growing old. Yet in our parents’ eyes, we will always be their little one. Photo credit: Canva

By Paul Bashyam, Medical Social Worker

With all the uncertainties of 2021, it was easy to overlook celebrating Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day this year. However, do we really need a specific day to celebrate our parents’ presence in our lives?  

When I was a young boy, I remember rushing to make paper greeting cards for my mother on Mothers’ Day and attempting to make a DIY present for my father on Fathers’ Day. I recall how exciting it was, to celebrate these special occasions and how happy my parents would be.  

As I grew older, I realised the importance of our mothers and fathers in our lives; without them, we would not be where or who we are today. Whether it is our own parents or a special aunty who is like a mother to us, let us take the time to appreciate them and let them know that we have not forgotten their sacrifices for us.  

I am reminded of my experience with one of our patients, Mr Moe. He worked in the market and drove a truck. He had two children who were still schooling then and he was suffering from a terminal illness. As he grew weaker, he still insisted on working, to save enough money for his children’s further education.  

Once, when he and I were discussing end-of-life planning, he recounted how everything he did was for his children and family. He shared how every extra shift to earn overtime pay, was used to buy food and save for his children’s future. When times were hard, he would skip lunches to save for his children’s milk powder.   

The time I spent with Mr Moe made me reflect on my own life and experiences, as a father to my 18-month-old toddler. Ever since I became a father last year, I realised we give up many things for our children; we sacrifice time for TV and sleep to care for and spend time with our little ones. I cannot imagine the sacrifices my parents must have gone through.  

This made me reflect about the most special people in my life—how they have taken a back seat as I grew older— and how the two dedicated days for parents are losing their magic, as time passes by.  

As a parent now, I know that we will not be around forever and I am just preparing my child for my eventual passing. Children are a gift from God and we are caretakers on God’s behalf, caring as parents to our children, or possibly parent figures to others.

There is no way to be a perfect parent, but we can only do the best we can for our children. Recall the good memories with your parents or someone you regard as a father or mother and let them know how much they mean to you. A big thank you to the Mothers and Fathers in our lives— for teaching us what we otherwise would not know and for always being there for us and with us.