Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Mother-Son Conversation

A few months back I talked to my mom about a bunch of stuff. Life, depression, love, moving on, not letting setbacks push you down, and the like. She talked about how she was perfectly fine with facing cancer since being sad or angry wouldn't have changed the situation in any way whatsoever, and how that attitude helped her face it better than other relatives who went into slight depression upon finding out that they had cancer.

My mom has always been a rather strong person. Dealing with cancer, an elder son who failed his A's, a younger son who did nothing but fight in his childhood, a pair of two who really seemed like a pair of loner siblings in the world, a child which makes her even wonder whether said son viewed her as a liability or not, yet she still does everything with a smile. A strong attitude that I rarely see in people, save a teacher I know who probably faces an even worse situation medically but still stands so firmly.

All this goes in contrast to my dad. My elder siblings both had issues with him, and really, shouts and screams did fly by around in the house every once in a while. When my sis married and moved out of the house just before secondary school life, the house became more quiet, but it was always so often that I heard my brother complain to me about my dad's attitude, and so on.

Did my dad do anything wrong? Not really. He's pretty much a stereotypical Asian father - strict, seemingly uncaring, and breadwinner. He also makes a fuss rather often and complains a fair bit, a trait my brother and I can't seem to adapt to. But because of that we never really got along.

In my conversation with my mom she talked about how men really were from Mars and women from Venus. How their mindsets differ, and so on. Stereotyping in a gender-equal society, perhaps, but I hardly disagreed with her thoughts. So, she remarked, that's why there're those women out there who are successful in everything but just ended up falling in love with the wrong guy. And that's why everything goes downhill.

It was a queer feeling I had, that there was something slightly more to that statement than she said. But such things weren't really meant to be spoken out, and I just replied with a 'mm'.

A friend of mine later on had a conversation with me about family. She asked me if I ever asked my parents why they married. I replied no, and she just asked why, saying that she did. I answered that it wasn't something that I should ask her about since it wouldn't change my opinion of her in any way. But I kept that thought in mind.

A few days ago, a couple of friends wanted to stay over at my house. I informed my mom, but forgot to do likewise for my dad. Suddenly realizing that, I called over to my mom in the living room about that while making something for myself in the kitchen. She commented that it would be fine as long as my friends remember to greet my dad when he comes around. After all, she said, my dad was a rather simple person who just required other people to respect him (Personally, that's a very uphill task for me but I do my best not to make that obvious).

Suddenly the opportunity just presented itself and I remembered about my friend's lingering question. Almost insensitively joking, I decided to ask her about it.


It was a reply that induced guilt and depression, if anything. For a moment I felt very stupid for asking that question and for expecting an answer that would surprise me. From the kitchen, that voice seemed just like a few months ago when she talked to me. A very casual comment. I didn't get to see her facial expression. Was she serious? Was she joking? Was she crying inside?

Without my mom I'm rather sure that the entire family would break apart, given how my sis and bro get along better with my mom than with my dad (Undeniably, me too). I might actually extend it further and daresay that I might've just went ahead and committed suicide long ago if not for my mom constantly being there.

Was she revealing her weaker side to her youngest son, the only one left in the household while one is married and living elsewhere and one is overseas serving his two years? I honestly don't know. And likely the opportunity will never present itself again. Really, I feel like a fool for asking in the first place.

I sincerely wish, that if my mom was serious, that I do not end up an emotional liability to others. But I'm rather afraid that it's too late to make such a wish.

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