Sunday 23 May 2010

Mother's Day is over, but Eat With Your Family Day is coming

I don't have many friends.

So most of the non-work related phone calls I get are either from telemarketers or my mother. Of the two, I prefer telemarketers because at least I can hang up on them.

When I owned a car, my mother would regularly call me to drive her somewhere or pick her up from somewhere. I've been a little happier since I sold the car.

But my mother still calls me every few weeks to try and guilt me into going to her place for dinner. Which isn't so bad by itself except it's usually on the day of one of the innumerable Chinese festivals that I can't keep track of when she cooks a lot of food to pray to our dead ancestors.

She just wants me to help eat the leftovers.

When I say no, I can hear her heart breaking over the phone, but mine has already hardened over the million times we have had this phone conversation.

As you may have guessed, I didn't call my mother two Sundays ago to wish her a happy Mother's Day. She didn't call me too. I'm assuming she didn't have leftovers.

And I don't expect her to call this Thursday even though it's Eat With Your Family Day.

As far as I know, Eat With Your Family Day is meant for busy working parents to bond with their young children and not for elderly neglected mothers to retie the apron strings to their uncaring grown-up sons.

As a working parent myself, I don't need a day dedicated to eating with my children, now 13 and 11. I believe I spend more than enough time eating with them.

I've recently come to realise that most of the fights I have with my wife and kids are over food. When we go out, it's almost impossible to agree on where and what to eat.

My son would eat McDonald's double cheeseburgers and fries for every meal if he could. My daughter likes KFC. My wife loathes fast food. I just don't want to spend too much money.

If each of us get what we want, we would be eating in four different locations. But for the sake of family bondage - I mean, bonding, we usually end up eating at some place that at least one person hates.

The resulting bitterness and resentment can get so bad that I would've preferred eating at my mother's. At least the food there is free.

My phone is ringing. I hope it's someone trying to sell me a wonderful new financial plan.

- Published in The New Paper, 23 May 2010