When I was young, we lived in the police barracks for a time. I don’t remember much of it because I was only about 4-5. I have some black and white pictures to aid the memory but I also bits and pieces here and there. I remember that the houses were in a circle with a field in the middle. I remember my sister slept on a box because we didn’t have enough beds. I remember being teased with the boy from the opposite house across the field. The boy who was called “ayam”. Oh how I hated that. I remember mum used to play her record and I would dance and dance around the house, once for some visitors, much to my delight.
One other thing I remember was my neighbour. Each evening, when he gets home, his kids would chant happily “Abah balik! Abah balik!” (Daddy’s home). They were obviously happy to see him and how happy he must have been to be greeted in this manner. As a parent now, I realise that it would be the highlight of my day to come back from a tiring day at work and be greeted by happy kids like that. It would surely make some if not all the stresses go away.
For a long time, hubby did not get this treatment from us. When the kids were at kindy, he would leave the house while we were all sleeping. No one got up to say goodbye to him. When he got home, most days we would all still be napping (yes, the kids napped till very late evening previously), so he would let himself in. Now that the kids are in primary school, he takes them to school in the morning so he wakes us all up (since he is the morning person) and we turn our backs on him sleepily, cover our faces with a pillow and try to go back to sleep but at least the house is noisy and alive after that.
If he is home late, we would sometimes be eating without him and he would ask “never wait for me ah”. Everyone would be busy eating and talking at the table, no one takes any notice of him when he comes in the door and he would say “how come no one comes to say hello to me?” Haha. Now that I bother to write this down, I realise that his coming home from work isn’t anything at all like that of my neighbour from years ago. 😛
So I decided that in the evenings, we would all go to the door to smile, say hello and greet him when he gets home. So thats what we did for the past two days. The first day he said “why is everyone smiling?”. The second day he said “I saw the light on upstairs. How come you’re here?”
“We came to greet you.” I said. The little one held out a drawing he had just finished and showed it to him. The elder one had left a note for him on his table, something about “daddy, can you give me money to buy flowers for mummy for Mother’s Day.” so she was eager to see him too. He isn’t used to it yet but I hope to keep it up, teach the kids to stop what they are doing and go to open the door for daddy and welcome him home. It would certainly be nice for daddy and the kids. It doesn’t take very much effort for me to do at all since I have a helper who helps me with the cooking. After my helper leaves next year, I could still do it if I time my work properly or perhaps the kids would have gotten into a habit by then. I hope to keep it up and that is what this post is for. To remind me to make that commitment to do so. It is such a small thing that I can do for my spouse and my kids but it will be good for them and I hope it makes them happy. Being able to do this makes me happy.