I love this photo of my dad and my Uncle Joseph. If he kinda looks familiar, we had the privilege of having him “officiate” our ceremony. Due to the way a legally binding marriage works in Malaysia, we were already technically married on paper so we had the liberty of picking whoever we wanted to “marry us“. My uncle took on the challenge graciously and proudly and we couldn’t have been more honored.
I hope everyone has an Uncle Joseph and Auntie Shaw Luan in their lives. They are thoughtful and loved and have hearts the size of the moon and back.
I have nine cousins on my dad’s side and along with their partners, we’ve all gotten a special “treat” growing up and even as adults! Whether it was an extra special scoop of Haagen Dazs after dinner, a pretty little outfit shopped with love, a fancy ten-course meal, Auntie Shaw Luan’s home-cooked magic or Uncle Joseph handing you his latest and greatest gadget because he “conveniently” didn’t need it anymore.
Every cousin and cousin-in-law and even nephew will know what I’m talking about because after an elaborate super yummy dinner, we have all probably at some point suddenly inherited a prized camera or game console or laptop or tv or tablet and had the wide-eyed “I get to keep this?” as we looked from our parents to our uncle to our aunt back to our parents again and then just broke into the biggest beaming shocked smile as they all nodded.
But more so than that, they have always sent special ‘God loves you and so do we’ text messages and emails on important and just because days, flown in to celebrate the little and big, or more insane things like paying for college educations or cars and “sponsoring” part of your wedding dinner in a way that just humbles you to your knees.
The part that gets me every time is that they didn’t just do it because they had extra, but they did it because they selflessly chose to share and they taught us the power of giving and lighting up a world.
They came for a short visit this week and as usual, they loved on us and made us laugh and we are reminded again, the power of family.
This came up randomly in a joke about old age and forgetting names and being lovingly called “ah ping koh”* but they pray for us by name. All the brats and spouses and ah ping kohs. I had to compose myself because I was so humbled with the revelation that in the every day and busy busy busy, not just on special occasions, that we were individually prayed for by name. Humbled.
*’ah ping koh’ is a Cantonese expression said with love similar to “what’s your name again?”
I love hearing their “tragic” growing up stories, whether it’s the first time or the seventeenth time I’ve heard it, it never gets old. My dad and his siblings grew up in poverty and so we hear stories like a raw egg mixed into a steaming hot pot of rice with a little soy sauce to feed a family of seven, or how a little treasured apple can be divided into five even slices so each child gets a fair share. Or my personal favorite, how my dad would spend all his allowance so at the end of the month, my uncle Joseph would wait for him in the school canteen at recess with half of his coke saved for his silly little brother.
It breaks my heart to think that our fathers have had to sacrifice and work so very hard to make sure that we always have more than enough. But the biggest lesson I have learned in these stories is we do our best, we don’t take things for granted and we take care of our own. I hear love spoken again and again and again and that is what makes these stories so magical.
I’m so glad I caught this moment and took this random picture. After a big breakfast, the brothers decided to share a Nasi Lemak for lunch. And when it came, Uncle Joseph immediately put all the best parts and the biggest portions on my dad’s plate and then they insisted that the other have it.
You know how I shared on Father’s Day that my dad always gives us his best? His biggest cut of steak, his sudden “aversion” to yummy mango, most of the raisins in a rum and raisin scoop…well he had some really good teachers and some day I hope, we teach our children these sacred life lessons too.
Because even at sixty and sixty two, they still take care of each other and they have left us a legacy and a lifetime of good humor, taking care of each other, having faith that can move mountains, and the humbling lesson of always, always, giving more than you receive.
That’s my Sunday Eight this week. I originally had a bunch of other trivial stuff to share but I started downloading pictures from the week and thought this one just deserved a post of it’s own.
Thanks for reading.
“In this house, we are real, we make mistakes, we say “I’m sorry”, we give second chances, we have fun, we give hugs, we forgive, we do really loud, we LOVE.”
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