“Surprise Por Por!” I leaped into my grandmother’s arms and gave her a big hug. I was back in Sydney for the weekend and had decided to surprise her with some takeaway. She had recently fallen over and fractured her ribs, so I didn’t want her to fuss over hospitality.
“Did you know I was coming over Por Por?” I asked excitedly. “Of course! I made your favourite soup and your Gong Gong has steamed garlic prawns for you!” I glared at my mum who smiled back sheepishly. She has always been terrible at keeping secrets. On receiving news of my arrival, my injured grandmother had hobbled on foot to pick up groceries. “Por Por please be more careful! Here, I brought you some fruit.” I held out a small bag of apples and mandarins. My gift suddenly felt very measly in comparison to her efforts to welcome me home.
Dinner that night was loud and lively as usual. In spite of the pain, my grandmother was eager to serve us with extra food and drink. At the end of the night, my mum thanked me for making time in my short stay to visit. She noted that it had been awhile since she had seen my grandmother so happy. I was humbled. It really didn’t take much to make my grandmother smile. I guess in my childhood home, nothing says “I love you” with more sincerity, than simply showing up for family dinner.