Grandma: The Giver
A lesson in kindness.
“It’s not much. It’s just a bit of a leftover from my last trip to Singapore. It’s not even 100 Singapore dollar,” my grandma said to me as she handed a red envelope, my birthday present (it’s common for older family member to give the younger a red pocket with money inside as birthday present).
Hearing that and the look of embarrassment on her face as she said it nearly made me cry. The woman who has taken care of me since I took my first breath thought that she should have given me more money for my birthday and felt bad that she didn’t.
I felt a squeeze in my heart.
Grandma has always been like this for as long as I can remember.
Having a meek and soft husband means she has to be a woman with a strong character. Fierce, protective, and for so long, she has always been like that.
From the exterior, she always appears to be a hard woman. She voices her opinions unfiltered. She doesn’t back down from a fight and when she thinks injustice has happened, she will not remain silent. She’ll make sure the world is righted when it’s a bit crooked.
Though she’s a bit brazen and at times, unforgiving, she is one of the most generous women I have ever known in my life.
Grandma has stopped working for years. In traditional Chinese culture, when people reach a certain age, it is the duty of the children to take care of them. My mother and her siblings took, take their filial duties very seriously.
My grandmother gets monthly allowance from her children.
It is from observing what she does with her monthly allowances that I learn how to give.
I have asked myself a question for quite some time.
How much do we really need to survive?
We are living in a fast pace world where consuming has become second nature to us. We buy things before we realize that we don’t really need the things we buy.
We spend so fast that there are times when it just feels like it’s never enough. Doesn’t matter how many hours we work or how much we earn, it seems like it’s never quite enough.
Every single month, my grandma spends around 75% of her allowance on OTHER PEOPLE.
Giving money to the beggars in the street, buying food for our drivers and housemaid, buying food for her grandchildren, buying medicine for our staffs’ sick family members, buying things for her family. She always offers to pay for meals on family outings.
She won a bit of a money in a casino once and she spent all her winning buying pants for my dad and brothers.
Her giving nature has helped me find balance in helping others and myself.
We all have those moments. When we see someone in need and we think we have not much ourselves. Sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes, we just forget that even though we have little, we have enough and so much more.
In times like that, I just need to remember my sweet, fierce grandma. The lady who will not stand still when she can help it. The lady who will not think twice in lending a helping hand whenever she gets the chance. The lady who taught me
we all have something to give.