Tress and Kiddo came back on Saturday morning. I picked them up from Tullamarine a bit after 9.30am and we headed home. At home and unpacked a couple of hours later, we had lunch at FHC (a Chinese dumpling joint called Baowie) and caught Jason Bourne battling big data and big brother. Or at least I did, as Tress was so tired she slept for the most part. Kiddo said she slept during the car chase scene. Really.
Later that arvo, I walked the little fellow and then did some cooking. I cooked the week’s lunches for myself and a soup for everyone for that night. During both meals – lunch at FHC and dinner at home, we talked about their holiday home to Malaysia.
Everyone’s very grown up, they reported. A niece of mine finished secondary school and is now doing a matriculation type of course in a college nearer the capital. She did really well in secondary school and so won a full scholarship for that course. She has a boyfriend. Her younger brother is missing her heaps. He’s still in secondary school in Penang and it would be a couple of years before he finds himself in her shoes – asking what this big wide world has in store for him. I said to Tress yesterday, after dropping Kiddo off at Tulla for her return flight to Canberra, that my sister Sim and her husband Daniel would probably have it tough for the next few weeks. Tress said Isaac the little “baby” brother, would probably have it just as tough. They will all miss her and would find it will be a while before they get used to this emptying nest. Tress and I know all too well, and I still feel it every now and then.
YY is another nephew of mine now living with mum, together with May my sister and her mum, and his little brother, YJ. He’s the same age as Isaac and he’s apparently a health and fitness freak. He eats carefully and made sure he exercised. He’s only 16 – such a mature head on a young body. Stories of YY and YJ made me laugh, and I felt good that mum now has this family with her every single day. I’ve said to Tress numerous times, I sympathised with Goh, May’s husband who has remained in Suzhou to work. He too was back in Malaysia for a short visit when Tress and Kiddo were there so it was good they could all be together for a little while.
Kiddo relayed too, that David my brother and Jean his wife, are well. David was unwell earlier this year but he looked well in recent photos too. Kiddo spoke about how Jean often seeks out my little niece and herself, to just spend time and talk.
What made me laugh out loud were the accounts of the antics of my mother in law’s younger sister. Together with my mother in law, they (she more so than my mother in law) terrorised the stall keepers of the morning markets in Eng Ann. They sought out bargains and bullied stall keepers into feeling they’re practically robbed off their wares. They’d “speak” to each other across distances which ensured her (that younger sister’s) voice retain recognition by every trader plying their wares in that market. I recalled her visit to Melbourne several years back and can now laugh at the fact that I too was terrorised at that time by the endless and very loud chatter at any and everything. My mother in law has an elder sister and four younger sisters. That younger sister is the loudest but when paired with the youngest sister here in Melbourne, they form a formidable team who can probably out talk even world champion property auctioneers.
My mother in law sounds like she remains the caring, generous and loving lady I’ve always known her to be. She and my father in law are two of the kindest and gentlest people I know.
Brian is in college in the north of the peninsula now. He’s the younger child of Victor and Beng Lan. They live near my in law’s in Berkeley together with Eunice their firstborn. I’m sure Vic and BL felt the way we did too, when Brian first left home. Apparently he once “ran away” from home (only as far as my in-laws’ home) after an argument with his father. He sounds like a sensitive and intelligent young man. Eunice has a disability and lives at home with her parents. They bought her her favourite lego sets and I imagined as always, she beamed the widest smile when she was given those presents.
Megan has, apparently, acquired the teenage angst. The older of two children of Ben and his wife Jean – Tress’ other younger brother – she’s a lovely but strong willed person. She would probably develop into a matriarch years from now and that would be no surprise. Zack is the younger one and he’s also a very sensitive young man. A little less of a go-getter than her sister, he sounds like a well balanced and very focused young boy.
All these family accounts made me think of Ed Shaw’s book on same sex attracted Christians. He argued for a wider sense of family in the church, as a means for same sex attracted persons to better live obedient lives of celibacy. It made a lot of sense to me.
As Tress dropped me off at the station this morning I found myself feeling normal again. Two weeks of being alone in dark/grey and cold and wet Melbourne made me feel like a zombie on a treadmill making the paces of life mechanically and literally, coldly. Knowing I will no longer be going home to an empty house made me feel whole again. I loved for her to be able to spend time with her parents, siblings and other family in Klang but selfishly perhaps, I loved for her even more to be here at home with me.