How to deal

How to deal with life falling apart. No, scratch that. How to deal with life falling apart? I’d really like to know the answer to that.

The last 8-9 months have been tough. When Mother left the house, I thought that I was prepared for what was to come. I knew that we would have to step it up in every way: caring for each other, cooking, cleaning etc. I had secretly hoped that it would be a coming together of the family, where we all learnt to pull our weight and communicated more effectively. It was just one of those unicorn dreams you harbour about your fantasy family. It didn’t quite happen like that. In fact, as I type this right now, the house is in a mess. Shambolic, if you will. But I’d like to think that we’ve improved from the days when we relied on mother for everything. I can’t quite tell because I don’t have the luxury of hindsight. Growth is small comfort for the crumbling of life, admittedly, but I’ll take it.

I’ve learnt to tackle conflicts with my siblings and others directly, instead of running to Mother. Michael and Matilda (the two youngest siblings) have certainly become more responsive to calls for help. And I’m really proud of them for having the discipline to wash their uniforms, even if they don’t always hand-wash them. I’m proud of Matilda’s efforts toward the PSLE, and for chasing hopes that others told her not to. I’m chuffed that Raphael had the will to study for his O levels, and bothered to ask questions, clarify doubts, make study plans, and do practices. Maybe it sounds like all of these are a given, but that boy is a far cry from the one that was, just 6 months earlier, whinging on about dropping out of school and accusing us of forcing him into doing the O levels. I was just puffed up when he got his results and achieved his goal: to qualify for junior college. Also because I like to think that I had some part in that 😆. I’m thankful for my older brother, (Gor Gor) Gabriel, for being ready to drop everything if we needed it, and for being a phone call away even if he can’t always be here. And for buying cereal, and food, and for helping me clean, and for listening to me. I am grateful for (Jie Jie) Lynn, the oldest one, for her protectiveness and her cooking skills and her desire to improve our lives and to be adventurous.

The last 3 months have been gruelling. We were pretty much parent-less at home. Or it might have been just that way for me. I haven’t talked to my dad much this year. I’m still struggling to find the words to bridge the gap. I’m not sure where it’ll go from here. Hopefully better, we’ll see. But if anything has kept me going against the currents and riptides, it’s to just keep swimming (or you know, clamber to shore because you can’t really out swim riptides).

Also, the family you see in the cover photo are the fins that help me swim through the ocean of life. #blessup #wayup #idontactuallyknowthesong