There are many things to be learned in life, such as values, manners, cultural traditions, so on and so forth. Personally from my experiences, I’ve learned so many that I can’t even recall. One of the ones that I do value and that I can honestly say that I believe in the most is the importance of spending time with my family.
In my immediate family, I am the second child out of four girls. Yes, a lot of people do ask my dad how he manages to live with five girls, the fifth being my mom. As a kid, my family and I would go on many what I like to call, “field trips.” These trips would mostly be to simple everyday places, such as the zoo, museums, the beach, places of that sort. A couple of times we went to places out of state, for example, SeaWorld in Ohio and Wisconsin Dells. All these mini vacations used to be so much fun when I was younger, but later as my sisters and I got older, these trips slowly happened less and less, eventually stopping altogether.
The last vacation I went on with my family was to India in the summer of 2006. Trips to India usually meant going to see my grandparents, but this time I actually went sight seeing too. One of the places I went to was to a city named Mysore. This city is famous for all its ancient palaces and statues, so my dad decided that we should go tour some of them. One of the statues he wanted to visit was this enormous one in the shape of a bull. Now getting to this big bull required walking down about a hundred billion stone steps. After a while, one by one, my sisters and I started complaining, me being the one who complained the most. I kept mentioning how stupid and lame it was to be walking down all those steps just to see a dumb statue. My dad kept telling me that it would be worth it once we got there, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to go back to the hotel. Time went by with my never ending nagging, so my dad just gave up and said we can turn around and leave, so we did. The expression on his face is one that I’ll never forget. It was so full of disappointment and sadness, just having realized that all his girls are grown and aren’t interested in what he finds “cool” anymore. My heart broke a little after seeing it, but my desire to go back was so great that I didn’t say anything. After that day, he never brought up going on another “fieldtrip” again. I felt so bad that I came to a resolution that the next time I visited India with him; I would bring him to Mysore and walk down all those stairs with him so he could see that statue.
Two weeks ago, my dad had to get surgery on both of his legs for excessive vein clots. Over ten veins were pulled out in each leg, leaving both not as strong as they used to be. Climbing down all those steps is now physically impossible for him, so my resolution of taking him back to Mysore is no longer achievable. Not walking that extra bit for my dad is something I’ll always repent because really, how bad would it have been? It certainly wouldn’t have killed me. It would have resulted in his happiness, something that would always be worth the sacrifice.
After that day, I realized how nice it was to have been able to have done stuff together with my family, even if sometimes it was lame or dumb. All of us are very busy now, my parents constantly working trying to make ends meet and my older sister off at college. Most of the time, just me and my two younger sisters are at home doing homework. Those times when my older sister comes down for break and when my parents get time, we all go out to a restaurant or to the movies, small places like that. These outings are nothing like our “fieldtrips,” but they’re still something that mean a lot to me. Being with my family makes me happier than I usually am and it’s something that I’ll always cherish, love, and believe in.
“Friends, come and go. But family? They’re forever.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.