For as long as I can remember, life for my parents has revolved around 3 fundamentals: family, church and work.
Oh, sorry…no, make that 4. I forgot about their fishing.
Simple, God-fearing, hard working Indonesian immigrants who came to Australia with not much more than their 3 young kids and the ambition to create a new life of opportunities.
But nothing makes them happier than to have hearty homemade meals together as a family, with an extra plate or two for guests.
It’s frustrating to find some random person in my lounge room, eating my mother’s cooking, making small talk like they’re long lost relatives. But the thing is – to mum and dad – EVERYONE is family.
After 37 years, my parents said goodbye to another family – their Australia Post colleagues.
On Saturday night, I went along to the farewell party at the Chinese Restaurant to fulfill daughter duties of obligatory attendance. Instead, I was completely blown away by the 5 full tables of friends who wanted to wish my parents a happy retirement.
After everyone else’s speeches, the intention was for me to say a few words on behalf of the family.
But I was caught off guard.
The heartfelt words that others had to say about my own parents – my own simple folk – left me in awe, hooking my emotions in a complicated twist.
“These people are the back bone of Australia Post”
“Between the two of them, they have more experience than all of us in this room”
They fondly spoke of my mum’s “glorious spring rolls”, how much they’ll miss the “plates and plates of food” she cooked and brought in to replace the usual drab in the canteen and her constant insistence to “Eat! Eat! Eat!”.
By the time it was my turn, I was a blubbering mess.
I understand how hardworking my parents are. I’m aware how generous they can be. It’s a revelation, though to hear it and have it appreciated by so many others. In fact, there was sense of pride for my parents I had never experienced before.
Anyone can work long hours, spend years and years dedicated to an organization.
But at the end of a career, it’s the spirit of generosity that people will remember most.
What you’re willing to do for others; To do beyond what’s asked with chivalry and poise; To create a positive environment for those around you.
Ma and Pap, you’ve left behind a legacy. I’m grateful and so proud to be a part of it.
Now it’s time to kick back and enjoy these Golden Years.
I don’t know two people who deserve it more.
Joining Essentially Jess for IBOT