An Ode to Her: A Mother's Son

An Ode to Her: A Mother's Son

Known for his witty humour and strong drive, Gabriel Gn is part of the Business Development team at Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts. This Mother’s Day, he opens up on how his mother has shaped him into the person he is today, and how her unwavering support and continual guidance still serve as guiding pillars of his life.

Hi Gabriel, what is your relationship with your mum like?
My mum and I have always been very close. Growing up, she has always been the disciplinarian, making sure that I ate my meals on time, finished my homework but was also the first one to hug me when I cried. My mum has always be there for me.

How has your mum being the “disciplinarian” shaped you as an adult?
There are many parts of my life that are completely shaped by my mum, simple things like getting my work done before I relax, for example. It’s not always a good thing because you do get stressed out but that is very much part of my character and it definitely instils a sense of responsibility in the way I handle my work.

Do you encounter conflicts within the family and how do you resolve it?
This happens all the time! But what I learned over time is that we are not always going to agree with one another. So as a family, we prioritise my mum’s feelings because she has sacrificed so much for us. She is always the first one to give in and say, “It’s okay, let’s do it your way.” during times of disagreement.

During times like this, we make it a point to stop and consider my mum’s thoughts before coming to a decision or conclusion.

How does your family spend time together in the midst of your busy lives?
We always have one big family event during my mum’s birthday. Every year, we travel together to somewhere more extravagant where we start making rash decisions on our finances (laughs). But this is also an annual event that allows us to do it.

Is there any advice from your mum that you still live by today?
My mum is the complete mum. Everything you envision a mum doing or saying, she has done it. It can be in the very small things like, “Shower before you sleep!”, “Remember to pack first-aid kit for your travels!” and “Always eat your vegetables first.” She has always been there for me. And she is always on my mind now as well, operating as a second brain.

In recent years, I had had a lot of doubts coming into this stage in life where I was getting married, planning to have children and planning for the next 10 to 20 years. I wasn’t very clear on what I was trying to ask her, or at defining what my doubts were but what my mum shared with me was very simple. She told me: “You’re thinking too much. There’s no one who can plan the next 10 or 20 years of their lives. You will be a different person then. You will already be a different person 5 years from now. What you need to know is the things that are truly important to you that you will regret not doing in these 5, 10 or 20 years. It’s very unlikely to regret doing something, it’s more likely that you will regret not doing something. If you make a mistake, you learn and move on. If you don’t do it, you will always be wondering and you will miss an opportunity to grow as a person.”

This reflects my personal philosophy in life, and this simple conversation set me right back on track. It’s also advice that, I believe, everyone can relate to.

What kind of parent would you envision yourself to be?
I think I will be terrible! But really, if I could just be half of (how my parents are to me), I would be so happy.

The most important thing I have learnt from them, is simply being there. There are so many aspects of being a parent that is important but ultimately the one thing that truly matters is being there. If I look back on my childhood, and I’m sure when others look back on theirs as well, they won’t particularly remember or look back fondly on things thinking, “Oh, we went to this place and did this together.” That is still an amazing memory but that warm, fuzzy feeling comes from a sense of totality that is built from an emotional closeness and connection shared with my parents. It’s in the little things in the everyday.

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