It is Mother’s Day.
I struggle to understand the woman who single-handedly brought me up to the woman I am today…well, sort of ‘woman’ since I am moving into such a phase of my life. The past few weeks have been hell for both of us, with me doing a semi-move out and coming home only 3-4 night each week, and with her complaining that I have heartlessly abandoned her.
From my own selfish perspective, I try my darn-est to drive my point across: that I wish to stand on my own two feet; that I wish to try out living with somebody before considering anything more serious; that I am very stifled by her.
Yet on the other hand, I am also blessed with too good a heart to walk out of that front door. As a mother, it pains her to have her only child move out and leave her all alone in an apartment; her fear of loneliness which probably heightens when she comes home to an empty home; her pent-up emotions at having no one to talk to; her fear of letting go; her dashed hopes of having her daughter by her side forever.
It is Mother’s Day, and we were out having dinner. She saw the families, seemingly happy, dining with one another. “She is so lucky, one son and two daughters,” my mum remarked. Another family walked in, and my mum’s eyes took in the frail old lady who sat between two men, presumably her sons. And my mum lapsed into silence, eyes staring into a distance. Was she thinking of her life in future? Was she thinking about the lousy daughter she has by her side, who only knows to take her out for dinner once in a while? Was she reminiscising about the days when her daughter was single, and could accompany her to the gym and dinner every Saturday?
It is Mother’s Day, and a television advertisement on rice came on. An old woman appeared, with a voiceover: I only ask for your patience, and your love, and nothing else. This rice, I cook with love, patience and everything else. My mum remarked, “Good advertisement. Echoes exactly how I feel.”
A pang of sadness hit me. Could I have done more? Would it have made a little more difference if we both had cherished each evening I am home, instead of hurling snide comments at me and lamenting loudly how “poor thing” she is? I wouldn’t have had to retire into silence, shaking within in rage and tears, while she tries her best not to drown in her own sorrows.
Could there be a balance, between pursuing a life I want and remaining a stay-home mother’s daughter? It is not that she restricts me so badly, it is not that she has imposed a curfew upon me. So am I asking for more, like I have always done? Would I have been the person I am, if I have resigned to obedience?
And what happens when I get married? Do I share her with my future husband, or will I be forced to choose between the two?
And so Mother’s Day will come and go; the days of Mother and I will pass with turbulence, day by day.
Filed under: Festive Cheers
When the Lunar New Year approaches, there’s loads to do (especially when you don’t have a maid):
1. Spring clean the house
For the tenth time, I question the rationale behind spring-cleaning the apartment/house a week before CNY. Why do we only take down those curtains, remove ’em sofa covers, pack the storeroom, empty out the cupboards and throw away 20 plastic bags worth of rubbish at this time every year? Does CNY warrant no-excuses to finally get down to tidying our nests before it becomes an obvious disarray, living evidence that the house has been lived in for two decades and counting?
This year, I play Treasure Hunt with my mum when she tells me to help pack the cupboards, mop the ceiling, shove junk into the storeroom, pack my table (full of HER things).
“Ah girl! Where are the cardboard boxes?”
“Find it yourself!”
“Where??? I ask you to put in the storeroom!”
“You got it!”
“But where? I don’t see it!”
I also realised how age has caught up with both of us. 10 years ago when I was 14, she was hollering at me to throw/give away stuff that I do not need, but at that point in time, I figured I’ll need that in the near future, maybe when I move out of my grandparents’ place, when I grow up….the list goes on. Now 10 years later when I’m rapidly approaching 24, it was a 180 degree turnaround. I move around the house with a single aim to throw whatever does not work anymore (for a start) which involved a teppanyaki/grill set which short circuited the entire place the last time the man and I tried to do some grill-your-own-dinner thing. My mum hollered, “Oh come on! Keep it, don’t throw it away!”
“But it doesn’t work anymore! Keep the pans if you want”
“Awww just keep it!”
“Aiyar you never know if it will work again right?”
2. Buy CNY goodies
CNY lasts 15 days, and we’re expected to have boxes of love letters, pineapple tarts, peanut candies, shrimp rolls and bak kwa lying around for two of us to finish? I’m bound to gain 8kg by the time I’m done with them, complete with sore throat, fever and everything else that comes along from indulging in CNY goodies. A raid through my fridge led me to a disgusting find of last year’s pineapple tarts (which still look and smell edible but I’m not taking any risks) – just by the way.
3. Shop for new clothes
Of course I’ll never say no to shopping with such great sales now (apparently it seems like we’re going to spend our way out of the recession), but when there’s no time to shop? Throw on a set of apparel that does not look (a) faded, (b) torn…so long your relatives have not seen it before. How often do they see me anyway?
4. Go to NTUC to buy one week’s worth of groceries
Erm, not like the shops are gonna be closed for one week like they do in China.
I might just change my mind about the above after a walk through Chinatown next weekend. Well, you never know!
Or would I have wished otherwise?
I found my favourite chill-“pill”. I discovered it with my Christmas guest, who took the liberty to whisk us to that island. I was introduced to the later addition of this chill-“pill” when Wine Glass opened, and it was all complete.
Those who I hold dear to my heart, have seen the place with me.
But gone is my Christmas past, where “present” shall never be.
Why do I even bother, looking back so wistfully
When Christmas has come and gone, ever so fleetingly.
Every Christmas, I sing this song:
And all is white
A lonely nightBells ringing clear, Christmas is here
Card in hand, I read the name
Suddenly I’m young again
Thinking of how fate led me to you
Friends we were so long ago
You came into my life
Guiding me at every step
How you have grown
Smiling still, my tears of joy
Wishing from my heart
All along that Christmas is
To you, a Merry Christmas.