Your relationships with your family are about those shared experiences together
Making time to enjoy a meal together does not always have to be have to be either at restaurants or at home. You can make time to be with the family anywhere; it can be a BBQ in the backyard, standing at the roadside enjoying some hawker food, and enjoying a roadside dessert like icecream. Or as we Malaysians do – we will gather around the roadside for durians (tropical fruits of South East Asia). You can enjoy meals traveling with the families in caravans, airplanes, trains, cars etc., or on those camping trips.
Your relationships with your family are about those experiences that you shared together. Sharing means connecting with those tears that you shed together, those hugs that you shared together, those late nights that stayed up to help your children with their projects etc…. It does not matter what you do, it is about those SHARED EXPERIENCES together.
Let me share with you the crazy durian season in Malaysian. The durian season in Malaysia is around July. My aunty just posted pictures about their recent trip round the Penang Island with my parents and brother, hunting for durians along the roadsides as well as visiting plantations. And on top of that, she showed me the mouth watering durians…. Ohhhhhh – that’s cruel
Durian – it is the king of tropical fruits. You either love them to death or you hate them to death. There is no in between.
The durian season starts in July, so in the month of May or June people will be gearing up to search for the durians. My husband and I were back in Penang in late April/May this year, and we could only find some durians from Thailand. Since it was the beginning of the season, it was still very expensive and not that nice, but we were “happy” (but not satisfied) we could at least taste one or two fresh durians.
During the durians seasons when I was growing up, my relatives would mostly plan durian plantations visits to purchase durians. We would sometimes stop by the roadsides on the way to the plantations to buy a few of them to bring home, or we would just stood there at the roadside, opened the fruit on the spot and ate the durians there.
If we were to buy home or bring some to relatives’ homes, they would normally prepare coconut rice to go with the durians as a meal. We would sometimes have families travelling from other states to join us for durian “tours” and durian hunting.
It was a fun time for everyone, especially the children. It was a time to meet up, connect and play… not to mention the fevers and coughs that came along, all part and parcel as well as putting on the kilos for the adults.
Today, even though I am so far away from my country of birth, we will still join in the facebook chats/connections with pictures and videos of family members who are enjoying durians in Malaysia. Here I salivate and mesmerise aboutthe fun they are having with the delicious durians…. I am sure all those durian lovers who grew up in Asia will experience a similar fate as me during the durian season.
Even though we can still get durians here in Australia, it is a different sentiment. It is not just about the delicious fruit, it is about family connections, enjoying the company of family and friends who share the same passions about the fruit season and activities. The shared experiences were enjoying the things that we did. We shared purchasing durians along the road side, eating durians at the roadside, visiting plantations in search for durians, or travelling round Penang Island in search for durians, sitting round together and opening and admiring the fruits – Fun and connections were about those SHARED EXPERIENCES that we enjoyed together.
The shared experiences of growing up in a similar environment, enjoying similar food, sharing the crazy durian seasons together… these are the foundations of our relationships.
There are many things that we do right now as a community, like celebrating festive seasons together – such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya, Duanwu Festival (when we had Zongzi), Christmas etc. Those are the shared experiences that we had with our friends and relatives, which formed the foundation of our relationships with each other.
There are many things that you can share and experience with your family. Apart from food festivities, there are religious festivities that you can share together, or share family rituals, family outings like camping, or go travelling together, having dinner together, cooking together and so on. Every single thing that you do and experience together daily can form a connection – these are your shared experiences with your family!
It does not matter what you do; it is about the time you invested in your family, the time you put in to establish the relationships with your family… these will form the foundation of your relationships with your family.
Your time, your presence, your memories that you create with your children, the communication, those late nights projects, those arguments, those tears, those laughters etc… Those shared experiences – I would call it an investment!
Go and create the experiences with your family. Remember, the level of connections you have with your children depends on the level of relationships you have with them. Start investing right now. It is never too late!