For Daryn, Fari, Sarah and Azlan (Dar-Far-Sar-Lan)

Source_Star: Parents are forever. A DIFFERENT SPIN By JO-JO STRUYS

Not directly related to our family nor any serious problem with us. Just the Natural relations written in lovely way. I had seen an old lady worried too much and complaining noisily at Jusco Information about her lost boy seperated while shopping. At last, we all have to smile when her young boy came to the countre. He is already 60 yr old but for the mother he is still a boy!

No matter how old you are, they will never stop fussing over you.

I WAS speaking to a mother who said her toddler used to grip on to her leg when she was trying to leave the house. Going to work was emotionally challenging because she really wanted to be with her son. She did not want to miss out on those growing-up years but the couple had no choice.

They were both working hard to save up money for their child’s education.

Her son is now 15 and she hardly sees him. He uses the house like a hotel, eats the dinners she cooks every night and disappears into his room, far more interested in his computer games than speaking to his mother.

One afternoon while she was at work, she heard he got injured while playing football so she took immediate leave from the office and rushed to the school but this only embarrassed him.

Mum, it’s no big deal. Why are you here? My friends are going to think I called you.”

So, just when she thought changing diapers, her failed breast-feeding attempts and sleepless nights with a baby screaming his lungs out was the toughest part of motherhood, he became a teenager.

His rebelliousness raised her blood pressure levels and turned her world upside down. There’s a reason why so many books are sold to parents round the globe on how to survive the teenage years.

Becoming a teenager is a challenging time where we try to find our footing in this world. It’s a transition between letting go of childhood and preparing to become an adult. As we fumble or glide through our teenage years, our parents have to adjust to all our changes, some more smoothly than others.

You can probably bet how many parents miss how small and cute their children were, not to mention how much they were needed as brand new parents.

As a kid, I naturally always wanted my parents to be around. This was not always possible. My father travelled a lot for work but he always brought back a small doll for me so that I would know he was thinking of me.

Moreover, as a CEO of a public listed company, it was common for my father’s secretary to take messages on his behalf when he was busy but I always managed to get through. I never realised this was no accident.

He gave specific instructions to his secretary that he would personally tend to my calls, no matter the reason. When you’re five, it’s never anything important but he would take the time to hear me out, even mediating arguments between my sisters from his work desk.

My mother was always, unfailingly there for me. My schedule became her schedule. She would pick me up from school, ferry me to my tap dance classes and was always the first person I would speak to about anything happening in my inner world, until I became a teenager.

By the age of 15, I was already excited to turn 18 so that I could be of legal age, drive a car and become more of an adult. I used to argue with my mother constantly when I couldn’t get my way because I wanted what all teenagers want, and can never have enough of – freedom.

When I turned 18, I remember trying to negotiate a curfew with my mother, “1am is just too early, Mum. I’m not 16 anymore, you know!” as if two years made such a critical difference. When I complained to my father about it, he said: “Even when you’re 60, your mother isn’t going to stop fussing over you. You’ll always be her kid. Might as well get used to it.”

By the time I was 24, I was living on my own and working overseas. I had all the freedom in the world and no more curfews but here’s the irony.

I would spend ages talking to my mother on the phone, looking forward to the sound of her voice, “Jojo, are you eating enough vegetables? And please don’t overdo the gym. Mum saw you in a magazine the other day and you looked so skinny.

“Make sure you have enough carbohydrates and be careful of those high heel shoes you wear. It’s not good for the back!”

And there I was nodding away on the phone, feeling profoundly grateful I had a mother who wasn’t going to stop caring about me.

What made me realise how hard it was to be a mother was by watching someone else’s mother being turned away.

When a girlfriend of mine broke up with her boyfriend and was bawling her eyes out, her mother tried to come into her bedroom to ask her what was wrong and she said: “Go away. Just leave me alone!”

I saw how hurt her mother was as she started quietly backing out of her daughter’s room.

I realised toward the end of my teenage years how important it was to always leave my “door” open because I did not want to be the type of daughter who shut her parents out.

I took the initiative of sharing what was going on in my life from the guy I was dating to what passions I wanted to fulfil in my life and that wall separating teenagers from their parents came down. Trust automatically grew because I kept it real.

I even warned them that they might not always like what they hear. In fact, I bought a magnet on one of my travels, which I stuck on the fridge for my mother. It said: “Mum, I know you’ve always been there for me. You’re forever a step behind me, probably tearing your hair out!”

Even when we take breaks, our parents never do.

The person I am today has everything to do with my parents. The older they get (my father is past 70), the more aware I am of all the sacrifice they have made and how precious they are to me.

Jojo Struys is a TV Host/Producer and the youngest of three girls in her family. You can catch up with Jojo’s thoughts on twitter@jojo_struys or her blog at www.jojostruys.com

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