I’m a 24-year-old boy. My mom comes from a very simple upbringing (and now she is a housewife) and my dad had the most difficult childhood I know of (he worked since he was 16 years old to help his mother take care of him, his two siblings because my grandfather died when my father was just 6 year old and it was very hard for my grandmother to raise 3 kids all by herself).

My parents never had a formal full-time job and were always struggling financially, as my father is a farmer in India. At one point, when things got very rough, as I also had 4 elder sister. And to raise 5 kids with farming is so difficult specially in India. But they somehow paid for all years of good private school for me and my sisters. I can’t even express how humbled and grateful I am to those two human beings.

The thing is, as much as it is easy for me to write all this, it is really difficult to express love and gratitude to them, during the day-to-day — even though I moved to live with them again now, during the pandemic. I believe some of it is due to my uptight personality; but mostly I think it’s because my parents worked so very hard to raise us, that there was barely any “fun-family-time”, so me and my father never felt comfortable hugging or complimenting them (even though we do all this stuff with our friends and companions).

Now, I’m trying to thank them the best way I can by working really hard and studying until I find a stable job position with good pay. This way, I’ll be able to guarantee they have a healthy life as they grow old. I just want to make them pride.

As the days go by though, I’m stuck in my work, we have lunch, we have some banter, and a few times, there will be a joke or two, but I just wish I could hug them and say “thank you for everything; everything is and it’s going to be alright”.

So I wonder if I should just get rid of that lump in my throat and tell them all this out of nowhere during lunch or something (I’ll probably cry my eyes out)? Or should I wait for a special occasion, such as the day I got a good job, or the day I move out, and express my love in more subtle ways until then (hugging, asking if everything is OK)? Does anyone even relate to that difficulty in expressing love? I think this may be more common among the son and his dad, when kids are raised with lots of formality and less “tactile affection”.

I love my parents and I feel like they need a lot of love and emotional support right now, but our upbringing was difficult and very formal, so I never felt comfortable being affectionate to them (mostly to my dad). And I know during this time of pandemic we shouldn’t wait to express our love for our parents or siblings. And even I tried a lot of times to say three magical words to my parents that “I really love them” and they are my biggest achievements in my life, That I am so blessed to have them as my parents and being their son. I can never wish for any better family. I just wish I could easily express these feelings to them.

I guess many of you can understand the situation I am in and It’s not that I haven’t tried to express my love but every time I got choked.