Sunday, 25 March 2007

2nd chance with mom: Why it is enough


“You’re not wanted! I am going to give you away”

And he did, he gave his daughter to a poor village family. She was born into a decent family but her father didn’t want her, perhaps he wanted a son instead. Thus, she had to live a life of a poor kampung girl.

At a tender young age, house chores have already formed an integral part of her life. She was made to carry an axe to chop wood, firewood for cooking. By the time she was 14, she was asked to look after her elder sis’ daughters… all 4 of them. Her new mom will cane her if any of the sis’ daughters do not behave. She, in turn, caned those girls if they don’t listen to her.

All these responsibilities means she didn’t get to study, perhaps she only managed to complete her primary education before she was forced to grow up. She was asked to take up more responsibilities when her sis passed away due to cancer. Her bro-in-law had to work hard to bring home money. And when her mom also passed away, she had to take on the role of a ‘mother’ for her sis’ daughters… all these, before the age of 20.

Life got tougher as the days passed by, and she moved to KL, and worked as a maid. She was lucky enough to have a good master, and she was a very dedicated maid, always looking after her master’s children. I guess that’s why her master arranged for her to marry a guy in KL, so that she can settle down.

That’s how my mom married my dad.

Cousin told me I should know all that, and indeed, I should. Thinking about it made me realised why my mom is … my mom.

There are certain things that I never understand. My mother has never cared for my studies since young, since the very beginning. She never knew what time I go to school, what I was studying, when I need to take exams. I remember I came back with my UPSR results… straight As and my mom didn’t even look at it. The same thing happened with my PMR results. Some of my friends get hundreds for 2 or 3 As, but I just get a nod for my results. I was furious, and my hatred began to accumulate even further.

My parents also never plan my education. They wanted me to work immediately after Form 5, but I insist I will not. I had a very big fight with my mom regarding that, a story for another time perhaps.

Me being alone in my struggle to get educated has always been my main reason why I hate my parents, particularly my mom, since I don’t really care what my dad thinks. But knowing mom’s history changed all that.

Mom must have hated her birth parents too, why did they give her away. To mom, I guess being parents, the basic responsibility would be to at least look after the children. Well, at least parents should want their children and not give them away. And being so poor, mom must have thought… that putting food on the table for children is very important.

So that’s exactly what mom did, that was her priority in mom’s life.

She will always make sure she will be the one to cook. Whenever I make a passing comment about why she has not cooked this dish or that dish, rest assured, that dish will be on the table the next day or the day after. How does Zewt react to that?...

“Kam mat mo sik. Ngo chut pin sik,”
(Not eating today, I am going out to eat)

I can still remember that look on mom’s face every time that happened. Disappointment, but she never make any noise. Time and time again, she will make sure I have a motherly dinner at home, to which I so conveniently took for granted. And now, I will not even get to taste a single grain of rice that mom cook.

I think mom also wanted very much to be near her birth parents, she wanted her birth parents to be by her side. Hence, she wants me to be by her side all the time. She will nag me if I go out a lot, and she will complain that I am not homely.

“Ah tuck, ah ma jan hai em seh tuck lei,” mom hugged me and cried 2 days before I left for China for that short working stint. (Ah Tuck, mom will really miss you if you go)

In my mind, I thought… I only wanted to be away for 2 years, and will come back occasionally, nothing to be worried about, and I don't understand why can't she let me go. Of course, to my mom, 2 days away is already eternity, 2 years would be too much to bear. Mom wants to be the mother she didn’t have, the mother who is always near her child, and prepare her child.

Mom was very happy when I returned abruptly. But she didn’t tell me, she told me I should have stayed if it’s good for my career. But deep down, she was really happy to have me back… I know, because my cousin told me that night.

Ya’ know, I always said to people, that I am who I am because of the way I was treated when I was young. But I failed to apply that to my mother.

Mom was trying to be the mom that she never had. She must have wanted her mom to be near her, to hold her, to clean her clothes, to cook for her. As such, she became that mom to me.

Ya’ know, me and my siblings suggested that we employed a maid so that mom can rest. Mom said no, her reason excuse was that the maid will mess things up. But her real reason was that she wants to ensure that it was her hands that prepare everything for her children. She wants to be the one to cook the food that I eat, to do the laundry for the clothes I wear, to sweep the floor that I step on, to boil the water that I drink, to do everything for me, for us. Mom just worked hard… very hard. And I think she worked till hear death… for me, for us.

So many times we complain about our parents… Oh, why they didn’t do this. Why they didn’t send you overseas? How come they don’t buy you a Honda when they already got you a car. How come this and how come that.

Of course, there are parents out there who are not worthy of the title ‘parents’, but I think as a human… we all want to be the parents that we never had. And that may not be enough to you and me, but it’s the best that they could do. No matter what and how well they did, it will never be enough in our unappreciative eyes, but do try to understand life from our parents’ perspective.

My mom never understand the need for education or a car or that Gucci bag or an i-Pod, but she understood the need for love and care for her children, and she did just that.. right till the time of her passing. And that to me… is enough.

Love you mom.

42 comments:

Johnson Tee said...

foresight is a lovely thing
but you only get it when it has come to pass

nyonyapenang said...

for all the riches and material wealth in the world, at the end of the day, we'd realise that love, care and tender affection are what we crave for.

Rocky's Bru said...

zewt, i heard about your loss from nuraina. my condolences.

Calvin's Wife said...

Wow, your mom is a supermom... it is too bad that you knew it too late, but that's how it goes, Zewt... All humans are like that... Now all you can do is, cherish her and remember her words of wisdom...

Fang Fang said...

you are right, love and care are what we can never buy using money, and i think those are the best things in life that you can get from someone.

kyh said...

ur mum had an unhappy upbringing and childhood, but at least she had tried her best to gv u all the care and affection that she cudnt hv tasted in her life. wat a gr8 mum she was!

SK said...

Bro,

My condolence to you.

Reading your entries makes me appreciating my parents even more, indeed, it's a very good reminder to everyone of us!

You care care.

zeroimpact said...

What is material compared to love
The love of a parents surpasses everything one can ever imagined

Economist said...

Look on the bright side...This incident has taught you to approach life differently now...

I am sure your mum is happy now that you have recognised all her sacrifices...It is time to let go of the sadness and go on with life while at the same time remembering the GREAT WOMAN....

p/s HOW DID YOU UNDERSTAND SO MUCH MANDARIN ???????? :P

Huei said...

you have a great mum, and thankyou for making me realize that, i shouldn't hate my mum.

yes, she is happy now that you know all her sacrifices, so, appreciate all the memories you have, and never let them fade

:)

do try to get more rest, she wouldn't wana see you all tired

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

Zewt... can i make an early booking of your book 'A 2nd Chance with Mom', signed by Zewt. :)

The Angel said...

Hmm, you know, at least you have that 2nd chance...
I never meet my mum since I was 5, she never cook for me before...
Somehow, I envy with what your mum did for you...
At least to her, you everything she had, just that maybe she don't show it in front of you or just that you don't realize it...
But I'm sure your mum will be proud of you for who you are and you did for her...
When you have your own children later or sooner, it's your turn to give them love and guidance...that's the cycle of life

Y.E@eevet said...

May she R.I.P

angel said...

*dittos purple~mushroom*
*again, can't thank you enough for sharing...*

Moms are the best...

april said...

woah. damn touching.. you've put me into tears. I think that's why people say blood is always ticker than water.

Dangerous Variable said...

After knowing my mom's birth family, I got to know that my mom was very fortunate to be adopted by great parents and had a happy life. She was educated in the UK and was blessed.

Indeed knowing your roots will give you reasons on why your mom behaves and reacted the way she did.

zewt said...

johns - with foresight, there would never be regrets... without regrets, ppl will never change

nyonyapenang - that's what make us human isnt it? but it's very easy for us to go back to our material world. constant reminder is required.

rocky - thanks for your kind words. i am very touched by all fellow bloggers' concern.

calvin's wife - well, we need to be constantly reminded not to take ppl for granted. it's very easily forgotten.

kyh - yes, she was, she gave all that she had for us. she gave us her life.

sk - i am glad you appreciate it. thanks.

zeroimpact - yeah, indeed. couldnt agree more.

economist - i am also not sure, it's like mandarin version 1 just installed itself into my brains.

zewt said...

huei - yeah, you shouldnt. maybe you have your reasons, but you shouldnt hate your mom. slept quite a lot last night. will take a few days off to rest i think.

purple-mushroom - not sure if there will ever be a book. i am just going to write, dunno it will ever get published. but thanks for your wonderful support.

the angel - i am sorry to hear about your experience. i guess everyone has their own story. no matter what, i am sure your mom would have wanted the best for you. yes, let's keep the wonderful life cycle going.

zewt said...

Y.E@eevet - indeed, she is now in peace, at rest. the rest that she so deserves.

angel - you're welcome, i just need to remind myself constantly. dunno if i will ever get a book published. it's not that easy if you think about it.

april - yeah, blood and sweat ... with love... better than anything in the world.

dangerous variable - am glad you got to know that. it's very important for us to know about our parents, theif lives and all.

Landed_Angel said...

All the riches in this world can't match with the LOVE of a mother to her children.

All the suffering in the universe will not equate the suffering a mother goes through for her children

TTL! said...

sometimes it hurts me to see how some people could be so unfillial to their moms. i have never read something that speaks my mind better than this =) cheer up, im sure ur mom wishes the same too

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

Zewt, if you really wanna publish your book, just go to lulu.com. They offer personal publishing.

King's wife said...

You have made me realised how much my mum has sacrificed for her family too.
A mother's love is really unconditional.

DJINSAKTI said...

cannot understand story lah...me english no good. oso ah.. lazy to read long long one. can send semmary to me or not .. sorry ah..kaciau only me.

QueenB said...

Let the tears flow, and the sadness will slowly subside

Manal said...

Hey zewt, deepest condolences from me.

Then, one day, somebody will be surprised at oneself when he/she suddenly acts/speaks like their mum/dad....I hope u gonna be a better parent to ur kids/future kids and still manage to impart moral values that u were taught of by ur mum to ur offsprings.

She mustve bore a lot of grudges like many other chinese women her age or about her generation. Nonetheless, she has left the world peacefully and may god have mercy on her soul.

Thank you for sharing with us such a moving memoir articulately told (from the bottom of ur heart, i suppose).

Fiona the confusing girl... said...

Hey Zewt,
I'm happy that you continued your mom story in here or even in a book maybe somewhere future, I was real touched on what your mom did to you, i'm sure she must be glad that her son(you) already understand and appreciate her unconditionally love to you and your family.
Reading your story will always remind me to cherish my mom now before is too late.I'll try to everyday visit your blog once..Take care and may the god bless you and your love ones, I know your mom is watching and blessing you..

Someone who is constantly craving said...

hey you do just that referring to eating veges 49 days long..and i m sure your mom will be glad all that effort she put in is paying off..and i m sure she has made a bigger impact to all of us..made me so aware how i m treating my mom..respect..

zewt said...

landed angel - hi there, welcome. worse, the suffering of a mother whose children never reciprocate her love... horrible. thanks for mentioning about my mom in your blog and i hope you will appreciate your mom more.

TTL - thanks. there are still plenty in my mind.

purple mushroom - okay, shall check it out soon enough. but i am sure it will cost.

king's wife - you're a mother too right? well... i hope you will be able to communicate to your children more. they need to understand how you feel.

queenB - think the emptiness will always be there though.

Manal - i will surely be a parent my mom wants me to be. and i dont think mom bears any grudges, she found a lot of peace in her religion.

fiona the confusing girl - thanks for dropping by. yeah, i sincerely wish you will be closer to the greatest woman in your life. perhaps when you finally be a mom... u will be a great one too.

someone who is constantly craving - yeah... perhaps after the 49 days, we can go out for some good food. i hope you will be closer to your mom my friend.

Russ said...

Zewt, when u talk about ur mum, it reminds me a little of my grandma. She is half hokkien, and she was born on a wrong 'date'. So her mom told her to call her 'aunty' in hokkien instead of 'mommy', but her sister got to call her mom, mommy.. life can be so unfair and to be brought up in the world in such a manner. I only hope that people will treat their kids better, and do not repeat the mistakes of the past..

zewt said...

DJINSAKTI - i shall forgive you.

russ - i have a friend who is like that too, never get to call his mother, mother. he also call his mother aunty. strange that ppl will wanna do such thing. let us put a stop to all these absurb practices.

Deborah said...

Zewt, keep up the writing. The book is a good idea :) Not only will it be a constant reminder to you but also to others to cherish and love their parents every second of the day. I trust that your mum is in a safe place. May God bless you and your family always....

pinksterz said...

this is the first post that managed to make tears welled up in my eyes.

really touching.

i miss my mom.

zewt said...

deborah - thanks. if i do write a book... i am sure i wont be spending a lot of time in the office... no one to confirm your balances then :P

pinksterz - hi, welcome. i miss my mom too... very much. wi[e those tears away and tell your mom how much you love her!

RayY said...

Mate, i feel sorry for u. U will get over it.
But at least u had a mum. For me, my mum is still alive but she was never a mum to me. Never stayed with her since 5years old. Stayed with my grandma instead. I see her maybe once every 2 years. She is a complete stranger to me.

zewt said...

rayY - hi there, thanks for dropping by. indeed, i am thankful my mom spent 29 years with me. i am so sorry to hear about you and your mom. perhaps there's a story behind it. whatever it is, if there's anything you can do to make things better... you should do it.

Anonymous said...

This is... Im speechless.Dunno how to describe my feelings when I read them.

zewt said...

anon @ 29/1 6.10pm - it's ok, reading it also made me speechless for a while.

TRACE said...

Zewt, thanks for the post.
Love is action, i salute ur mom.
human can be selfish, but we can learn gratitude in everything that we went thru.
Dont spend our lives, but live a life. Live as if we dont have 2nd chance.

zewt said...

TRACE - yes, no one gets a second chance. besides, some things, you will never have a second chance.

chechawil said...

i don't know how exactly I was "transported" to this blog and to this post...but it brought tears to my eyes reading this post about your mum...oftentimes our deeper understanding of our parents only come when we are in our late 20s of 30s...my mum's story is in a way similar to yours too so I could relate to this...

zewt said...

chechawil - hi there... well, life has its own way to teach us life greatest lessons. most of them are painful, but we must learn it nonetheless.