Friday, June 5, 2009

A Tribute to my Mom

Mom and her three girls. That's me in pink.

During my childhood and teenage years, for as long as I can remember, my mother was always at home. She told me that she worked as a kindergarten teacher briefly until she had my eldest sister. She chose to stay home and raise her children herself because she couldn’t bear the thought of her children in other people’s care. My father was a busy man, and as his main office was two hours away from our home, we normally see him on weekends. My mother practically raised us single handedly by herself.

I remembered reading a quote somewhere, “A mother never stops being a mother.” Now being a mother myself, I understand now why my mother worries so much for her kids, which are no longer kids, mind you. But there are some things that I admire about her, several sides of her that I wish I had taken after, but sadly didn’t.

All her children except my youngest brother went to boarding schools, so we were pretty independent teenagers for our age. But that never stopped her from constantly mothering us, especially me, because my school was about ten minutes from home. I wasn’t allowed to go home every weekend, so she came every weekend without fail, bringing me home-cooked meals, washing my dirty laundry, sending them back to me nicely folded and ironed. Even when she couldn’t come, she would send my older brother to send my food stocks. When she had extra time, she would even cook up extra food enough to feed my whole dorm. Needless to say, my whole dorm and class were so used to seeing my mother, they knew her by face.

The nag of the house is reversed in our home. My mother doesn’t nag. My father does. But as you probably know, people don’t listen to nags. Their voices tend to drift into one ear and come out the other without you even registering what they say and you just go “Emmm. Ahh… Okay.” That was my father’s voice’s effect on us. But my mother never scolds, at least in my memory; I don’t remember her scolding me, ever. But she would speak in quiet, disappointed tones that would make your heart go thud, right down to your feet. She would say it just once. But it was far more powerful than any yells, screams and nags and has immediate effect. That was her way of enlightening and educating us.

When I started working, my first job was as an auditor, which means absurdly long work hours. I was staying in a big, intimidating city with my cousin. My work required me to travel a lot, mostly to clients’ places around the city. When I needed to work late, I would usually continue working in the office, where there would still be a number of people working until the wee hours of the morning. There were a few times that I did an all-nighter i.e. working straight to 6 a.m., go home, take a shower and put on fresh clothes, and go back to the office. When I think back to those times, I think I must be crazy to enslave myself to work that way. It doesn’t even pay me all that much!

How does my mother come into the picture? My mother calls me every night, without fail, to make sure I have arrived safely at home. I think during those two years I was an auditor, she was worried sick for me. There came times when I just had to lie, knowing she would worry too much if she knew I was still working at unearthly hours. Sometimes she would call when I was hard at work in the main “aquarium”, the main working area where it was all rowdy and loud with auditors. Then I would run to the partner’s toilet and close myself inside and tell her, yes mom, I’m safe and sound at home. Sometimes she calls during my late night drinks with other colleagues at stalls. Then I would yell to any friend whose car parked the closest to us “Give me your keys!” and jump inside her or his car for a few minutes, and again, lie through my teeth. This scenario was pretty popular with my friends, and they never forgot it even after I’ve left my audit job.

Now a mom myself, I understand and appreciate my mother more than ever before. Now when I go back to their home, I wondered how my mother held herself together, being a full-time stay-at-home mother. I am running around breathless with one toddler, who is driving me insane, trying to be a good mother, wife and employee all at the same time. How did she manage five? Nothing more than motherly love and patience, no doubt.

I wish that I could say I inherited her amazing patience, but I didn't. (What a drag.) But I must say that being a mother has extended my patience limit by a whole lot, as I am definitely not a patient person. Even so, my patience is stretched to the limit a lot, and I do lose my temper sometimes with my bundle of joy. But not my mother, no. The phrase “patience is a virtue” must have originated from her. She's more patient with my daughter than I am. (Ermm...I hope this doesn't make me a bad mother.)

So here's to you, mom. Love you more than ever.

The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.-W. R. Wallace


Related Posts with Thumbnails