Joined: 21 Sep 2007
|Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:23 pm Post subject: Those were the days .... cherish every moment you have
|JOAN LAU - The making of your children's memories.
WHEN you were a kid, who sent you to school? Did you cycle there yourself? Or maybe you took the bus? Me? My dad took me to school every morning and picked me up as well.
Yes, he did this the entire time I was in school. All 14 years, including kindergarten! I didn't feel particularly special at the time. Many of my friends were sent to school by their parents as well.
I think there was only a brief period when I attended the afternoon session that he did not send me to school. But he still picked me up after. My dad did this for all four of us kids when we were growing up and nobody -- not even my dad -- gave it a second thought.
Fast-forward almost 30 years and this simple practice of sending your children to school has become somewhat extraordinary -- and in many cases, impossible. People who live in the city especially find this a chore they can barely manage.
Unless you are a full-time home-maker, there is very often no way you can send your children to school. Or pick them up after.
I have a friend who is struggling with this right now. She wakes up really early to send her daughter to school (by the way, the school is not near where they live nor on the way to her office) and ends up at the office way before anyone else at 8am.
At first, she thought it was a good thing -- getting a head start on the day and all that. But she soon found out that this simply did not sync with the rest of the office. Everyone else came to work an hour or so after she did, so she could not go home earlier.
By the end of the first week, she was a physical wreck. In effect, her work day was now longer than it was before. So, the simple act of sending her child to school was turning into a nightmare for her.
When did life get so complicated? It was a long while happening, but the irony is that progress has made the simple things in life, like sending your children to school or going home for lunch on a work day, impossible.
I had not thought about my dad sending me to school in, well, almost 30 years. But something reminded me of this recently. Over the past month, I have been spending a lot of time in Kota Kinabalu on work. Every time I tried to make an appointment with someone, I noticed that they would plan it around sending their child to school. Or picking them up.
This was not a few isolated cases but something that was pretty consistent. The most interesting thing for me was that all these examples involved men: journalists, businessmen, musicians. Very often I would get an SMS that said, "I will be there after I send my boy to school", or "I will come by for a while and then go pick my son up after school".
And just as it was all those years ago with my dad, nobody there thought any of this was unusual. It almost made me want to go around and shout at the top of my lungs: "Hang on to this moment. This is special!"
People who come to Kota Kinabalu now marvel that it has changed so much. Why, I daresay it is even more vibrant than my hometown of Ipoh. And yet, there is still something so endearingly small-town about the way almost everybody sends their children to school themselves.
Sure, there is less traffic here and people don't live so far from where they work. But the thing is, they seem to genuinely enjoy doing this for their children. They don't have to do it; they want to.
Now that I am older, I can see how something so simple is actually so precious. I never realised then that the time and effort my dad put in to simply be there for us is what makes us so close to him today. Now I do.
I remember how I looked forward to seeing my dad every afternoon or evening when he picked me up from school. He would take my heavy bag from me as we walked to the car, and I remember even now the feeling of being cared for.
I am glad I got to spend some time in Kota Kinabalu and be reminded of that time again. I am sure there are still many places in Malaysia where something as simple and mundane as sending your child to school is still possible.
It is just that where I live -- in Kuala Lumpur -- this is becoming rare. And it makes me think, just what are we so busy doing that we cannot even do this simple thing any more? While we are busy making a living, the very people we are doing this for are missing a precious memory-in-the-making.
I am glad, though, that in my family, the tradition is being carried on in a way. My nephew started school last year and after a few nervous days, he settled into his routine nicely. While my brother cannot send him to school, he or my sister-in-law would pick him up every evening.
Oh, it's not easy. They both have challenging jobs. But I know that, years from now, my nephew will realise just how special he is to his parents. And that, as they say, is priceless.
It made me reminisce back during those days where my family would willingly doing so and it last through the whole of my schooling days.....
when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade then finds someone whose life has given them tequila and have a party|| Do wat makes you happy, b wit who makes u smile, laugh as much as u breathe & love as long as u live