Monday, 9 January 2012

Heartstrings.

When I was little, I cried when Snow White died. And when Bambi's mother died. And this afternoon I cried when I latched on to an episode of Switched At Birth, a new series on telly that I'd never watched before, because some things just yank on your heartstrings. :(


The series is about two girls who were switched at birth and brought up in totally opposite environments - there's the wealthy family who got the dark-haired Bay, and the struggling single mother who got the deaf daughter Daphne. Their stories are linked closely together in the series because both families now live together - in the rich neighbourhood.

So this episode I watched - Episode 5, I think - contained a narrative about Bay and her (new) boyfriend Ty. Ty is from Daphne's old neighbourhood. The first part of the story has Bay's parents disapproving of Ty, or wary of him, but then while they were having that classic "boyfriend interrogation" dinner together - Ty, Bay, Bay's non-biological parents - it was revealed that Ty's enlisted for the army! To add to the melodrama, he's leaving on Thursday... and Bay didn't find out til then!

I cried because ... I think any woman can understand the heartache Bay was going through. She loves him, she wants to be with him, but he's leaving for the army and he's not going to change his mind ... so it's an inevitable goodbye, even if it's a goodbye-for-now. And then I cried more because Bay's parents were heartbroken to see their daughter hurting - her father asked her mother, "How do I protect her from a broken heart?" And I cried even harder when I saw Bay's mother in pain at watching Bay cry in her arms.


I don't know if my mum understood why I was sobbing loudly, "Mummy this show is SO SAD!" 

I guess it's part and parcel of life to get our hearts broken, and imagine as parents how helpless they must feel to see their children's hearts get broken too. :(

On Episode 2 of Love Bites, there was a gay man whose father disapproved of his homosexuality. But then after getting to know his boyfriend and giving him blessing to propose to his son, the father of the gay man said at the proposal, "All a parent ever wants, is to see their kid happy. When I look at my son, I see Drew makes him happy. I am very proud and honoured to be a part of this day."

Given the universality of parenthood, I wonder if my parents feel the same way too. Does my mum worry about me and Willi, does my dad want to protect me from getting my heart broken? I wish they could know him like I do, wish they could see that even though he comes from a whole different part of the world and a whole different kind of upbringing, that he's a blessing, and he makes me happy. But I guess it's my fault, because I never gave my parents any chance to get to know him. I guess the biggest part of me is afraid that they'll disapprove, and another part of me doesn't want to jinx it, don't want to talk about it when we've only been together for five months, it's like trying to make a film about a butterfly on your fingertip.

I wish they could see that he's an amazingly responsible guy. He doesn't come from a privileged background - after high school, he went to work to put his sister through college. Then, he saved up money and is putting himself through college. He's turning 30 this year, and at an age where people usually settle for any paying job and just chug on with life, he sees the value of education and wants a better life, so he wants to get a degree and be a history teacher. He cooks, he cleans, he takes care of his friends when they're sick, he cares so much about his family, and he got a part-time job at a local store so he can save money for us to be together. He says that I'm a part of his future plans, and that working hard now and sacrificing now is for us in the future.

He's patient with me when I'm being unreasonable, and comforts me when I'm stressed out, and (tries to) talk sense into my head when I lose my marbles. He tells me not to torture myself with "what ifs", tries to get me to see things from my parents' perspective when I argue with them, tells me that my parents love me, that he loves me no matter what and that he'll support my decisions. He uses these collective terms like "we will get through this" and "our future", and doesn't make any promises he isn't sure he'll be able to keep. I wish my parents knew how easy it is for me to talk to Willi, how I feel like I don't have to hide anything, and I can completely be myself and know that it's okay. He believes honesty and openness in relationships are important, the "being-able-to-talk-about-anything" test. And when we have any problems (even with each other), we talk it out instead of keeping it bottled inside. I love that he's older, even if he's really only six years older than me, and I love that he has life experience.

I'm no expert on relationships, but I know when people are toxic and when people are good in our lives. And Willi, he's a really special guy, he's who I want and need. Sure, like most 21st century women, I'm going to have a lot of issues to deal with - paranoia about adultery, questioning fidelity, being selfish in any relationship, etc etc. I won't be a fool in using "But I love him!" as an answer to everything, because I know love alone really isn't enough - there's so much more to making a relationship work and last the long haul. But I always remind myself that if Willi and I can last the distance, knowing it will be years before we will be together, then when we are finally together, it'll be a relationship that is truly worth it. :)

And applying the philosophy of that father of the gay man in Love Bites ... if my parents don't see it right now, that's okay, because when they see that I'm happy with him, they'll be happy too. :D

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