Us and Kids, We are Family

Asking a child to choose a mom over a dad or vice versa is like asking someone whether he needs to breathe or not. The child may struggle to answer this type of question because he/she wants both. Similarly, parent could not tell the child something like, “You stay with Dad and I take your brother/sister,” because the child does not want to be separated from his/her siblings. It is understandable that parents face daily challenges, and there are times family life is just tough. Sometimes and perhaps often, children are suffered the most due to tough family life situations, such as divorce, infidelity, poverty, etc. However, it is unwise to put children in difficult position while you as a parent knows that the problem could be solved between husband and wife. 

Parenting and marriage are two different topics but are interconnected. When you decide to commit in a marriage, you should aim both for happy marriage and successful parenting. These two topics must be discussed seriously before you say “I do” and after you both say “I do.” It is also important to practice being unselfish because once the child is present in the family, roles and lifestyles need to be adjusted.  

I’ve always believed that it is a privilege to be a parent. If you are a parent, I want you to know how precious your job is. Not everyone could become a parent. Some people struggle to have children. Some people either too sick or too old to conceive a child. So, if you are a parent, I want you to treasure your journey. Raising children is exhausted, but it is rewarding. Your children will always remember the time you have spent together because memory is irreplaceable. Therefore, even if a family life is under “turbulence” tries at your best to control the situation in the peaceful way so that they will not get traumatized due to that event. Family is the first and foremost child’s life experience. It shapes child’s personalities which will continue to grow as the child gets older. Family life and every little experience in the family influence how the child sees the world and him/herself. All of these become a foundation in the child’s overall social and emotional development. When the foundation is healthy and solid, the child will grow healthy and thus could become a responsible citizen. 

Will you do it? 

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“Give it to God and Go to Sleep” 

I love hearing the phrase  Give it to God and go to sleep because it teaches me to let go and let God take control of my life. 

The phrase is also a reminder that God is our creator and thus, He is the one who has the power to make changes according to His will. 

Each of us carries our own “cross.” The word “cross” in this context means problem, worry, or illness. The more problem we have, the heavier our “cross” are. We could try so much, but at the end, we have to let God carry half of or perhaps the entire cross for us. The process of letting God to take control is tough because it demands us to fully trust God. It is easier for us to memorize Our Father prayer than to allow God to guide us.  

Little do we know that God could and will do amazing thing for us when we fully surrender to Him. 

So, will you give your “cross” to God and let Him handle it on behalf of you? 

On My Way to London 

This is the third part of the fictional stories of Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. All names here are fictive.Both the first and second parts of the stories could be accessed on this blog

Sonny Sunshine couldn’t believe what he has just heard on the phone. Gray is off to London for 6 months to interview and photograph families of children with serious medical illnesses. This girl always does something unthinkable. He never imagined that Gray would dare to leave him for this project. Sonny had a long day at work, but this one is the hardest of them all. He sighed, put down his phone and recalled the first time they met. 

It was Sunday night in April when he met Gray at the church. They sat on the same row and apparently their cars were also parked next to each other. Gray had a flat tire that night and Sonny helped her by calling his friend, who owns car service, to come and fix Gray’s tire. They exchanged business cards and two days later Gray called him and offered to treat him lunch as a way to say thank you. Gray who worked in the non-profit foundation at that time invited him to her foundation’s social events on monthly basis. Sometimes, Sonny felt tired of responding to her invitations, but he did not want to sound unfriendly to her. Checking on Gray’s LinkedIn profile, she indeed is a smart woman with long lists of achievement. He noticed that Gray liked him just by looking at the way she was staring at him. This was not the first time he had female friends who grew fond of him, but Gray definitely was not his preferred one. Sonny decided to ignore her invitations and chats, though it did not last long

Gray found so many excuses to keep in touch with Sonny. He wondered why this girl did not leave him alone. He knew at least some legitimate guys laid eyes on her, but she just ignored them. Sonny wanted to trade space with some of those guys. He deliberately screwed up things and acted somewhat childish to make Gray giving up on him. Unfortunately, all of those tactics did not work

It was not until he changed to a new phone and open his unused LINE account that he learned Gray has been leaving him thousand unread notes addressed to him on her timeline. He seldom opened LINE and so he did not know that LINE users could customize their timeline’s audience. He read those notes from bottom to top and spent the whole day to read everything. The last note was written 6 months ago from the date he read it. The note stated that Gray asked for his prayer as she was heading to hospital.

Sonny thought long and hard. He could not understand why Gray did this to him. Who would write thousand of notes online and did not tell the intended recipient about those notes???? He shook his head again in disbelief as he skimmed through his LINE

Sonny’s attitude toward Gray changed since then. He was more genuine and nicer to her than before. He slowly showed Gray his true behaviors not the fake ones. Gray never wrote on LINE again, but she did not bother Sonny as often as she used to be. This made Sonny felt weird because he has been used to be annoyed by Gray’s endless excuses and invitations. He wondered if he slowly became interested in her. No way, he thought. 


Once he learned about Gray’s conditions, Sonny accompanied Gray to almost every doctor’ or lab’s appointment. They both knew the lump was not cancerous cell but they knew it could change at any moment. Understanding the fact that it could become a cancer made Gray feeling down. Life was hard both for Sonny and Gray during those time periods because Sonny had to go back and forth between two cities to care for Gray’s health. His contractor’s job required him to travel and check construction sites. Likewise, Gray could sense how Sonny became irritated and overwhelmed with these changes. He tried to make up the time he was away, but perhaps he was too tired that Gray knew he treated her as if she was his “construction job” that needed to be supervised

The week Gray decided to take the project in London, Sonny was out of town. He is usually gone for 4 days and stay with Gray for 3 days. This pattern has been going on for a few years. He never left Gray longer than a week, but this time he had to complete this final touch of his construction work. Gray used to call him everyday before she found out her condition. Now, it’s Sonny’s turn. He usually checks on her 3x in a day when he is out of town, and when he is in town, he will come over and cook dinner for her

Sonny’s faraway thought is stopped when he hears his phone is beeping. He grabs his phone from desk and sees that Gray is sending him a message. She wrote “Hey, I arrived in London. We rent a house in suburb area. There are 2 other students who are in this project. I am going to change my number. I will send you my new number along with the address. Take care!”  

Sonny was browsing on the travel website as he read Gray’s message. He searched for outbound flights to London. Five minutes later, he secured his reservation. He booked one way flight from Singapore to London. His flight is two days from now. He could see the Singapore flyer from his window. Pretty night, he thought, but it was meaningless without Gray. There is a smile on his face. This time is a genuine warm smile. Gray’s birthday is on August 18. He wants to be there to surprise her. He needs a vacation anyway, and London is just perfect for him. 

You are My Home 

This is the second part of the “2gether is better than one.” The first story could be found on this blog, too. All names here are fictive

Gray Cloud’s condition has been stable and good for the past two years. This has made her felt relieved and thankful. She started classes in photography and journalism a few months ago. These fields are new to her, but she is excited to learn more from the experts in the field. 

Gray’s interests in photography and journalism started when she learned that she could be diagnosed with cancer. She would like to write her stories and take pictures of things that are mattered to her. Gray then started to create a personal blog. Most of her writing topics are around family, hope, and love. A few of them are fiction but the majority is opinion. If she could live long enough, she would like to interview cancer survivors as well as those who are struggle with cancer and share their stories with public. 

On another note, Sonny Sunshine has been supportive to her. Gray has been trying to detach herself from him because she is afraid that her presence will disrupt Sonny’s work. Sonny always accompanies her when she goes to see a doctor or to the lab. Gray was worried how she could repay Sonny’s kindness. Gray already liked Sonny when they met on the first time. She tried to get to know Sonny more at that time, though it appeared to her that Sonny had no interest to her. Now, she regrets it because she does not know how to “undo” their relationship. 

Mr. Gram, who is Gray’s teacher, knows that Gray has a strong interest in writing stories of cancer survivors. Mr. Gram offered her to join him to travel to London for 6 months to interview parents of children with serious medical diseases. He said this would be a good start for her. Gray wants to do this, but she doesn’t know how she would tell Sonny. 

Gray and Mr. Gram will leave for London tomorrow. Sonny has been out of town for a week and won’t return until the following week. Last night, Gray called his cell phone and informed him about her trip. Sonny did not like her idea. He said it would not be good for her health. Gray quietly listened to Sonny’s words. Gray then said, “Let me go because I will go back to you. I will take care of myself. You could use the next 6 months to focus on your work and enjoy your life a little bit. I am sorry that I cause you a burden. I should not have approached you last time. I did not foresee that I would get sick. I promise I will be okay. I will return here because you are my home.” 

Sonny knew he couldn’t do that much since he was far from her. He could only wish her a safe trip. With that said, Gray is off to London the next day. 

Sally and Willy Tie the Knot

The first two parts of this fictional story were written in Bahasa Indonesia and were published on the community writer platform (idntimes community) under the titles “Sally dan Kisah Cintanya di New York” (Sally and her love story in New York) and “Sally dan Tetangga Dokternya: from New York to Atlanta” (Sally and her neighbor: from Atlanta to New York). This is the third part of the stories. You could access the previous two stories on: https://www.idntimes.com/wieke-sutrisno 

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Sally met Willy, who was her next-door neighbor two years ago, in Atlanta. Sally is a wedding planner, and the only reason she moved to Atlanta because her boss offered her higher position and salary. Willy, on the other hand, is a medical doctor. He moved to Atlanta with his brother who is also a doctor. It all started with lunch and dinner appointments that turned into dating relationship. Willy asked her out on Christmas Eve while they were in New York for vacation. Their friends referred them as a workaholic couple because they spent more times at their own work than being together as a couple. Both Sally and Willy are forefront believers that so long as there is a trust and mutual understanding between them, even if work situation is busy, their relationship will remain the same. They even argued that they looked forward to seeing each other after long hours at work or after being separated for a few weeks due to work load. 

Last year, Willy had to move back to New York for their medical practice, and this means the time they could spend together is getting shorter and rare. Although some close friends warned them about the challenges of long distance relationship, Sally and Willy never thought so much about it.  Willy traveled to Atlanta to spend time with Sally whenever he could. Similarly, Sally would go to New York every major holiday and when she could get longer off days. Thus far, this arrangement has been working really well. 

Neither Sally nor Willy planned to upgrade their relationship status. However, close friends and families urged them to make their relationship official and legal. Willy took neutral position in this matter. Sally was rather anxious, and the reason was because there is a huge age gap between them. Sally is four years older than Willy. Sally’s relatives frowned when they learned that she dates Willy. Although Willy has been convincing her that age has no issues or whatsoever in their relationship, Sally is still not sure how this will turn out in the long run. Willy is secretly planning on proposing her. 

The proposal day is arrived, and that day falls on Willy’s birthday. Sally flies out to New York to celebrate Willy’s birthday. Sally booked a dinner at a fancy restaurant near Lincoln Art Center. Sally plans to watch Jazz after dinner, but Willy insists that they need to visit other places. Sally is surprised when Willy takes her to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Willy says, “I asked you out after attending Christmas mass. The church we went last time is already closed now. This church is still open, and so here inside this church, I want to tell you how important you are in my life. I know you are concerned with our age differences, but let me tell you again, here in the presence of God, at His house, that a good marriage is not solely based on age. A good marriage is mutual understanding and continuous effort between two loving persons. So, again, don’t worry so much about that. Here in this church, I ask you to be my lifetime partner, to stay beside me, and to cherish every moment. Life is unpredictable but my love to you remains the same. I am a doctor, so if you are too old and fragile to care for yourself, I could take care of you. So, are you in?”

Sally remains quiet. She doesn’t know what to respond. Willy says, “My little thinker, thank goodness you are not a doctor, because your patient could die when you are their doctor. You think too long and far.” 

Sally responds to him, “Shut up!” and laugh. She then says, “Fine, I am in.”

“There you go, what it so hard to say yes.”

They both laugh and spend a few minutes at the church before heading home. Instead of giving Sally a ring, Willy gives Sally a necklace with a key pendant. The key symbolizes how he finally could un-tie the knots inside Sally’s heart. 

They both set the wedding date on December 26, 2 days after their anniversary. The wedding is small and attended by close friends and family members. The wedding color-theme is tiffany-blue color because Sally likes Tiffany and Willy likes blue color. Guests compliment how pretty Sally is on her wedding day. Her look and style remind them of late Princess Grace from Monaco. Willy looks gorgeous on his tuxedo. He gets butterflies on his stomach as he watches Sally entering the church, walking toward him. 

2 gether is Better Than One

Gray Cloud’s heart filled with dark clouds after her doctor’s appointment. She felt sad upon learning that the lump underneath her armpit could turn into a cancerous cell sometimes in the future. No need surgery for now just a careful watch that was the doctor said. Too rush to remove the lump could trigger more lumps development. Gray Cloud kept this information to herself. 

Sonny Sunshine is Gray Cloud’s best friend. People often think that they are dating, though the reality they are not dating. Gray knows that Sonny likes him, and she enjoys his company, too. Gray prefers to keep their friendship status as best friends because dating looks scary to her. Now that she knows about the lump and its risks, she is sure she wants to live alone. Gray thinks solitude is not a bad thing. 

Sonny Sunshine’s personality is the opposite of Gray Cloud’s personality. Sonny looks cheerful most of the time. His daily job is to make Gray either laugh or mad at him. When Gray is mad, Sonny will laugh hard and they both end up laughing together. Sonny knows that Gray is a person who is very serious especially when she is working, and because of this, he likes to keep their interaction stress-free. Sonny is a serious hard-working guy, too, but he seldom shows it in front of Gray. He likes to act silly and joke a lot when he is around Gray. 

  
The day after doctor’s appointment, Sonny noticed something was not right with Gray. As usual, Gray kept it to herself. He came up with a tactic to get Gray talking to him what is bothering her. Sonny asked Gray to be his girl friend. Gray rejected the proposal, but she declined to say the reason. Sonny insisted that he should know the reason why he got rejected. 

After a week of unsuccessful attempt, Sonny accidentally saw Gray was browsing about cancer treatment. Sonny pointed to the screen and asked Gray to explain to him. Tears were running down on her cheeks as she told Sonny what the doctor said to her last week. Sonny gave Gray a hug and told her that he would take care of her with and without cancer. Sonny convinced Gray that she would be okay and that the lump would not turn into a cancerous cell. Gray Cloud is no longer feeling cloudy after hearing Sonny’s words, “Let me love you just the way you are. Together is better than one.”