When I was 22 and fresh out of university, the only thing I had been looking forward to was to start my life as a legitimate adult. You see, I fancied myself a nearly-there adult prior to graduating because there were a lot of things I had been able to get away with. From running away from house chores to having a permanent job, I almost never needed to do anything because my parents had always been there to do it.

They have always supported me, from the second I was brought into the world to even after completing my tertiary education. They made sure I never had to worry about, putting food on the table or paying for a bill. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a delightfully memorable childhood. I grew up to be a highly independent woman, whose goals were to make it big in life.

So, naturally, after I was done with my degree, I landed a job and began to understand how the real world worked. I realised how silly I had been during my teenage years to wish for adulthood to arrive as soon as possible, because it wasn’t how I expected it to be. But that is how it usually works, isn’t it? We always wish to have something we don’t because we think life would be better somehow. We always think that the grass is always greener on the other side because it’s a side we haven’t quite explored yet.

Although I’d been living with my parents all my life, I’d wanted to have my own place since I graduated from university. Perhaps it was because I thought that I would have more freedom to come home as late as I wished without getting an earful from my mother. Perhaps it was because I thought that there would be fewer arguments with my father over petty matters. Perhaps it was because I thought that I would end up being a better, more responsible adult by learning how to take care of myself.

Some months back, my parents were talking about going into semi-retirement and settling down in a small town away from the city. I knew that I could never do that because my job required me to be as close to town as possible. Before I could even blink, I was already looking for my own apartment to move into. Finally my dream was coming true, and I was ecstatic. I counted down the days and looked forward to a new beginning in life.

I spent one week moving into my apartment and unpacking boxes. Most of the days were spent alone with the radio switched on for company. As much as I enjoyed the peace and quiet at home, I slowly realised that I missed having conversations with my parents. I slowly realised that I missed playing with my dog and annoying my five cats. I slowly realised that I missed getting a scolding for not doing something I was supposed to.

Suddenly, it was all about getting things done myself. I had no one to rely on to do my laundry or make a cup of coffee. The realisation gradually dawned upon me — all the sacrifices my parents have been making without so much as a complaint.

To my parents, thank you for all that you’ve done for me without expecting anything in return. I know that it must have not been easy raising two children while holding a full-time job each, and having next to no time to yourselves. Thank you for being so patient with our crazy antics, and ever so enduring in your love for us.

To all the youngsters out there, give your parents a hug and thank them for all that they’ve done for you. You may not realise how much they’ve sacrificed just so you can achieve your dreams someday. You may be in a hurry to grow up, but trust me when I say this: you will wish for the contrary someday.

Cherish your parents and all that they’re tirelessly doing for you today, before it’s too late.

Ashley Greig, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/
Indian lineage. She believes in a
tomorrow where there is no racism and hatred

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