My siblings and I basically grew up with the help of nannies. Back then, my parents were very occupied with work just so that we can have a better life than them. For my readers who are not from Indonesia and not familiar with this, it is very common to have one / two nanny for one kid here.
Because of that, I didn’t have any personal connection with my parents at all. We would only talk to each other when I was about to go out, when I need a tuition fee, or when my mom called me to eat dinner. There’s no how are you / how’s your day / I love you. The dinner table was always silent, where everyone just focused on their food. No one initiated conversation because nobody knows how. I even thought it was normal because that’s how it was since the beginning.
Do I blame my parents? No.
Is there a lot of things to work on now? Yes.
I know how to be hardworking because of my mom. But I also know how to prioritize my family because I’ve been in the child’s point of view. I also learned how important it is to have a mentor in my life. We are always taught to be a successful and smart person in school. But nobody ever taught us how to be a good parent, how to be a good daughter, how to be a good sibling, how to be a great friend, or how to be a great wife? All of these things are much more important than what we learned in school.
I’m glad that everyone is an adult now, and we still have the chance to fix our relationship. I initiated a lot of conversations with my parents, and we bonded more nowadays. So nothing is ever too late.
My siblings and I are seven years apart (and yes, my brother and sister were born in the same year. Jan ‘86 and Dec ‘86 lol you do the math). During the crisis in 1998, they were sent to study abroad due to safety reasons. I was only five years old, so I stayed in Jakarta with my family. Because of that, my siblings and I were not that close, they were abroad for about 5-6 years and finally came back to Jakarta for their university.
Just when I thought I’m going to have my siblings back, they went to a university outside the city. So they rented a house near the university complex. And there we go again; I don’t have my siblings for a total of 10 years. After spending about four years in university, they came back to Jakarta. And that was when I shared one room with my sister, who felt like a stranger to me. Our age gap also made it a bit awkward, but we managed and became close. We would go shopping, mani padi together, and hang out with her friends. That is why I used to feel that I’m older than my age. When I was a teenager, I would think and act differently than other people because I’m surrounded by friends who are seven years older.
A few years after that, my sister got married, so I lost my roommate and sibling again. I never felt that sad before because we were very close at that point. We moved to a new house where we actually have our own separate bedrooms, but she would come to my room every night just to sleep together. She would use my face as her canvas when she was learning about makeup. I learned how to put makeup through her as well. She made me do it.
Now she has three beautiful kids, and I love all of them so much. The first kid resembles me a lot. She looks like my daughter cause we look so much alike. We are not as close as we were living in the same house. Now both of us have our own family to take care of. But we are always there for each other. I always try to make time for my nieces and to spend time with my sister.
My family isn’t perfect; we are still far from perfect. Sometimes I still envy families who treat each other like best friends. We are not there yet, but we are definitely going there. I love my family so much, and I couldn’t thank them enough for being in my life.
2019 is a day away, so don’t forget to make time for your family despite your busy schedule, and don’t forget to show how much you love them.
Happy New Year, everybody. See you in 2020.