Being a motherless Mother

It was just a regular day, I always make sure I get a good meal in me before I pick her up from nursery (which is her teacher’s house), I’d put on a podcast and enjoy the 15 minutes ride (perks of living in Sibu, 20 minutes drive is considered a long drive for us local folks)

Her teacher is chatty, even thou most days I am exhausted and running low on patience, I try to linger and talk to her, mostly about Anya. Obviously, she can tell I am one of those parents that spoil their children (an obvious sign would be carrying her bags for her). Her teacher has been telling me it will be a difficult transition for her as she move on to primary school, she will need to be more independent and learn to take care of herself instead of me babying her all the time.

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Just the other day, my husband sent me a photo of parents waiting outside of a primary school, fetching lunch boxes over the school fence during their lunch break. I joked and told him that pretty soon I’ll join their ranks, too, just waiting outside with her lunch box, probably dapau from somewhere since she never likes the meals I prepare for her.

I understand alot of my behaviour stems from not having a mother growing up, it’s almost like I am trying to compensate because I was so deprived of the nurturing from a mother when I was a child myself. I go out of my way to take care of her and babying her, even thou I know the consequences it may causes. Unlike her, I had to learn to grow up very quickly. Now that I’m well into my adulthood, I came to appreciate how it has shaped my character, having to fend for myself from young age, I know she’s not going to have the same experience, being in a protected environment all the time.

When I was in primary school, (that was over 20 years ago) I remember I had a classmate, his mom always visits him during recess with a lunch box, day after day without fail. The image of them sitting side by side in the cafeteria, enjoying their meal together, is still very vivid in my mind. Although we used to joke about him being a “mommy’s boy” , but I was envious of him. Every Mother’s Day was painful for me, we were often instructed to make a special craft for our mothers, and I didn’t have a mother. I can still feel the sadness even after all these years, they never go away.

Being a mother has been very healing for me, it is through motherhood that I understand, a mother’s love never really go away. I know now even thou she’s not physically with me, her love is always here. I can feel it when I’m with her, the love I have for her, reminds me of the love my mother has for me.

All I need to do is to find a balance, because I don’t want her to be an annoying little spoiled brat.

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Becoming a mother

Every mother’s day is tough for me, not that I resent being a mother (Anya has been particularly difficult today…which made me nearly tear all my hair out) Jokes aside, whenever mother’s day rolls around, I think about my mother alot.

My mother died of cancer when I was merely 4 years old. Once, a family friend told me, how she was still crying for me during those last few days of her life. Over the years, I hear similar stories from different relatives and although I have no recollection of her, it paints a very painful picture in my head. It created an illusion that I was in the room, watching her, crying and trying to reach for me, and I just stood there, watching her die, without any emotion.  ‘Till this day, I carry alot of the emotional traumas from the loss of a parent at young age, which has never healed..the idiocy of some of my actions and behaviour may correlates with that.

My sister took  it the hardest. Being slightly older than me, she remembers her passing vividly. She dropped out of school, repeatedly got herself involved in gangsterism when she was a teenager, constantly running away from home…her journey was tough, but she eventually turned her life around. We never really got along untill I moved away, then our relationship got better. It’s the same with my dad, I’ve learnt that my dad did the best he could as a young widower of 2 daughters.

During my early days of motherhood, I often felt resentful towards my mom. Sounds funny, I know, she didn’t have a choice, but I resented her for not being there for me. I still can’t listen to the song, “世上只有妈妈好” (A very famous Chinese song, Mom is the best in the world.” ) It brought me back to my childhood, where my classmates were making cards for their moms, and I had no mom to give the card to. As a kid, I didn’t want people to know I didn’t have a mom, I often felt embarrassed and shamed, although I had no reason to be.

It is only after I became a mother I realise my mother’s love for me has never left me. I know she would cringe at the way I parent…and disapprove of many things I do, but I know she loves me. I’ve thought about a million times of how if I leave this world, my love for Anya will remain eternally, it’s then I know, she loves me. I don’t have much of her, except a few of her photos, but I have her love.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I will eventually meet you someday.

 

 

Peanut butter kaya jelly

It was one of those mornings again : the dreaded holiday. I have the best intention not to rush through the morning, but with Anya around, things just don’t go as planned.

She was whining on the sofa, she said she was hungry.

“Eat the Horse Ear bread I bought you, you said you wanted it.”

“No…I want to bring that to Kid’s Cove.”

“Just eat half of it, and save half for Kid’s Cove.”

“No….” she proceeded to moan and cry on the sofa, with TV noise blaring in the background.

I was annoyed, as I was rushing up and down the stairs, the “light” came on. It’s one of those many instances where another being is talking to me internally, I call them “the light”.

“Pay attention to how you are behaving, you’re not a 6 year old, she is.”

I paid attention to my breathing then.

Grabbed her shirts, and I went to her, still whining on the sofa.

I drew in another breath, and I said. “Ok, so tell me exactly what you want.”

“Grandma’s bread with peanut butter and kaya.”

“Ok, now I know what you want.”

I prepared the sandwich for her.

“You see ? You gotta verbalise what you want. I don’t know what you want if all you do is scream and yell at me. We’re not animals, we don’t talk to each other like that.”

(It’s crazy how it always feels like I am talking to myself, whenever I talk to her. )

Eating her sandwich, she replied calmly, “Ok.” as if nothing has happened.

It’s so hard to believe, just minutes ago, she was screaming bloody murder at me. It’s like the switch is now turned off.

Her half eaten sandwich, wrapped in a tissue paper and placed on our car dashboard.

 

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