I always scoffed at those girls who’d romanticise what I always felt was so meaningless – peeling prawns. To me they just wanted their boyfriend to do everything for them, including something that didn’t require much effort to begin with.
“Peel your own prawns man, I’m not like those lame girls,” I’d declare haughtily.
Not too long ago though, something happened.
My dad had just cracked open a coconut for me and while drinking its juice, I remarked that the coconut was old and its flesh was so tough to scrape off. After I had finished drinking it my mum called me to the room so I left to see what she needed. When I came back, I saw this. He had scooped up all of it for me. My heart filled with warmth. My dad loves me! So it clicked. It’s not what about the prawn peeling that matters, it’s the intent and heart behind the act of servitude.
That made me think back about my father – humble, tender, dependable, sensitive, hard-working, quietly confident. I don’t honour him as often my mother, the one who made the decision to dedicate herself to taking care of me and my brother. I adopt her ways and share with her all the girly things I can’t share with my dad. He was never at the forefront but yet, he still remained that pillar of strength for my family.
For my mother, he puts his needs aside. He will do the dishes everyday. He will do the laundry too and on weekends, help her out with cleaning the house and drive her wherever she needs to go without complaint. He supports her when she needs help at work. Tomorrow, my mum is doing house visits to the needy as part of her job and cab fares are not reimbursed. So he’s her personal driver.
He’s slow to anger and often the mediator when my mum and I get into a heated argument (never actually seen my parents yell at each other before). They share everything and still express affection to each other regularly (to my dismay🤢). The line is clear – you guys are my children and I love you very much, but my wife is my life partner, my priority and we are a team till the end.
For me and my brother, he’s generous and loving. He used to sneakily buy candies for us at the checkout when my mum wasn’t looking, tucking us into bed almost every night when he got back from work and giving us hugs and kisses before he left (he had insane work hours). My brother would ask for handheld game consoles like the gameboy and PSP. He’d always surprise him with one and made sure I got one too. Every morning before school he’d fill up my water bottle so I wouldn’t worry about it when I was rushing out the house. When I was in a little older he’d frequently pick me up when I’m out late even when I insisted I didn’t need it and also send my friends back. Now that I drive, he’d clean my car and always make sure I have a full tank of petrol.
My mum has always told me, “Celestee, wait for the right man. He will come and he will be worth all the time and effort you put into waiting and praying”. I see that. I see that in the way they take care of each other. I see that in the way they complement each other perfectly. I see that in the way they collectively value raising up their children with discipline, but with love. I see that in the way the strong foundation of their relationship makes it easy for me and my brother to develop healthy relationships.
We had our struggles. We’d have dramatic, explosive fights (at one period of time, frequently, but I won’t get into that…..) and moving around so much aggravated things. Having a sole breadwinner with an average paying job also made it difficult for us in many ways. Despite that, we have never lacked anything.
In our family now, my brother and I share about our grievances, joys and experiences (both good and bad) with them. We hug, kiss and say ‘I love you’ to them all the time. We have the kind of confidence you have when you never ever doubt for one second how much your parents love and support you. Whenever we get into fights, we apologise, forgive each other, talk about our differences after and hug to make up.
Habits like that are cultivated by the cumulative effort of a couple who are not only connected in heart, mind and spirit – but a couple who is God-honouring. Two people who model themselves after Jesus and place Him at the centre of their own hearts, their relationship and then, their family. Their lives are a testimony of God’s glorious gifts for those who choose to seek Him. Fulfilled beyond what we need, blessed beyond what we deserve.