on family, or the unrelatability of it

yesterday, in one of the occasions in a new year, I went out for quite a bit. meeting people, looking at people. I saw a family of three generations. they seemed happy.

made me wonder how it feels to grow up in a ‘normal’ family. never had one. never knew any of the grandparents. didn’t have much time with Dad. then again I still had it better than it was to him. no parents since early years. left the town for junior high school.

Dad, in Mom’s affectionate words, was ‘growing wild’. I remember it was from the song Nobody’s Child; ‘no mommy’s kisses, no daddy’s smiles’. something like that. but Dad was a good person. he was kind and friendly to everyone.

I wonder how it feels to have a ‘normal’ family.

back when I was in school, probably second or third grade, there was a writing assignment for the class about our grandfathers and grandmothers. I didn’t know what to write, so I just wrote two or three lines that they had passed. I think others in the class wrote at least half to one page on their notebooks.

I remember once when I was little. I was still in primary school. there was this photograph in the cupboard at home, framed with an ornate decoration. Mom and Dad weren’t fans of putting up photographs, so that was probably why it was left in the cupboard.

it was Mom and Dad’s wedding photograph.

I remember asking why Dad’s eyes ‘looked strange’, to which Mom replied that Dad was crying on the wedding day. she said that he remembered his parents, those that passed away years before, so it messed up a bit with the wedding make up.

but Dad wasn’t alone in that too. Mom didn’t have her parents either. they had both passed away for years. I remember hearing the story that grandma died right before Mom’s scheduled exam at the medical school. she took the exam anyway and still aced it, or so I heard.

I wonder how it feels to have a ‘normal’ family.

I didn’t have much time with Dad. it was on a Wednesday afternoon when I was still in primary school. I remember I was drawing some kind of soldier in medieval armor, sword and shield and whatnot. that’s when I learned that Dad had passed.

I remember I didn’t cry, and I was still sort of joking with the classmates who came at the funeral. I felt fine. but the after effect hours and days later was, well, not so pleasant.

so, yeah, I never really had a ‘normal’ family, I guess.

that had always been a theme growing up. Dad did his best, as did Mom with all we had. I wasn’t Mom’s only child, so sometimes I got my report card taken by an aunt—not that I mind, she was one of the cool kind too. it wasn’t perfect, but we also knew we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Mom did her best. she really did her best with all we had, all the way until the very end. so when she passed, that was something we accepted. no one said it was easy. but that was also something we accepted.

but still, sometimes I wonder how it feels to have a ‘normal’ family.

I went to weddings and saw the couple with their parents. no such chance for me anyway anymore. I went to a cousin’s home and the kids were calling their grandparents with the video feed. I didn’t even know how it is to actually have one. I saw a friend saying ‘I have the best Dad in the world’. I thought, well, maybe I did too. I never knew.

in a new year I went out quite a bit. I met people, I saw people. families, or the unrelatability of it, perhaps not unlike through the looking glass, something feels so familiar yet also something I never really knew.

I don’t know how it actually is to those people. I really don’t. but honestly, though, I do hope it would be something nice for those people to cherish.

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