Mar 31 2009
I lost my mother in 1975 when I was only 13 years old. That was a good 34 years ago!
I can’t even remember how it would be to have a mother now. I grew up without one, esp during my adolescent years. I always envy people who still have mothers. I try my very best to be nice to MIL so that I can be like one of her own girls. After 28 years, I have to admit defeat. DIL remains DIL.
My mother was very strict but at the same time caring. I would stay away from her when she was angry (normally it was when I didn’t clear the mess in the house, or added more mess!). She seldom hit me, but when she did, she really gave me a good beating – sometimes with marks that lasted for a few days. Despite that, I never dared to answer her back, definitely not with a loud voice. Any answering back was more of explaining/defending myself, but most of the time she just refused to listen.
Despite that, I remember that whenever she got angry, I was at fault.
One story that stays with me was whenever she sewed me a new dress – most of my dresses then were sewn by her. If I refused to wear it (normally because it’s too itchy with laces/ruffles), she never failed to tell me her life history. She lost her mother when she was hardly 5! She grew up with an auntie who was poor, and who would give her a new dress ONCE a year. Each time she got it, it would be a size or two bigger than her actually size, so that the dress could last her until the next year! This would normally happen just before raya (dress for raya). She told me that when she got the dress, she’d hide herself behind the door and cry. She longed to have her own mother. I know exactly how she felt because I felt that way too every raya, even though I always managed to get a nice pair of dress – from aunties/cousins who were nice enough to either give me fabric (for me to sew my own dress) or sew the dress for me. Yes, I started sewing baju kurung when I was 12!
Mother was married off when she was about 12 or 13. The marriage didn’t work out. She was a divorcee, and only met my dad when she followed someone to Singapore (looking for work). Prior to that mum was making local kuihs for sale.
On a slightly different note, I am not sure if I am a good mother or not. I try my best, but my best may not be “up to my kids’ standard”.
I don’t remember raising my voice to my mother. I know sometimes I did answer back and irritated her, but somehow I feel that it was not as much as what my kids sometimes do to me.
I hardly raised my voice to MIL. Actually only ONCE I did so – I was driving in the jam of Seberang Prai, trying to look for signage to follow, to get onto the Penang Island. There were so many trailers, lorries, and other cars. MIL and FIL were arguing on “nothing significant”. It was so annoying that I had to raise my voice to get them to stop doing so, so that I could focus on my driving. I swear, THAT was the only time I actually raised my voice. Later that night all of us laughed at it. DH has NEVER raised his voice to his mum for as long as we can remember.
But now, my children answer us back (in the tone that I do not fancy) regularly. Do I deserve it? I always ask myself that. I must have done something wrong somewhere, some time, I guess to deserve this. I don’t know, but what I know is that I do get hurt. Instead of me “merajuk”, most of the time it would be my kids who merajuk .
Or maybe I’ve not been a good mother? Every time one of my kids hurts my feelings (especially with this “answering back” in high note), I get hurt, and each time I question myself what I’ve done wrong to deserve this? Have I been a bad mother? One thing for sure, I keep on telling myself to avoid getting in that scenario again. You bet I am afraid of my kids!
If I live long enough to become fragile, I wonder if any of my 6 kids would be kind enough to tolerate me? Or maybe I’ll just end up in an old folks home? Masha Allah….
To my kids, if you are reading this, like what I’ve mentioned before, I never had a proper “role-model” mother. I only learn how to raise kids from sitcoms like “Family Ties”, “Diff’rent Strokes”, “Happy Days”, and the like. I may not have raised all of you the correct way, or the preferred way. Forgive all my short comings. Your dad and I always try our best to give you the best we can. We may not be as good as your dream parents but we surely love all of you and try our best. The next time you want to raise you voice to me, or “tarik muka masam” I hope you think again. That is IF you really care. Otherwise, go ahead, and do whatever pleases you!