People who have met my mother thinks she is fourty-something (even when I was 12 walking alongside my mother, people thought we were sisters - oh my!) and once told that she is 58 going to 59 years old, they said that she is, then, a retired government servant (because she always look well-dressed with soft-looking hands as though she never did houseworks and that she has an indonesion maid to do all).
Let me introduce you to my beloved mother. Her mother (may her soul rest with Allah's beloved people) passed away hours after giving birth to her 14th child when my mother was only 10. My grandfather never remarried till he passed away last year - at the age of 91- a week before i was supposed to start working in The Little Red Dot. Having such a big family and for worrying that his daughters will leave him if they get educated, my mother never went to school. She and my other aunties were taught by my grandfather after he came back from his office. She could be more than just a housewife if she went to school. My youngest auntie grew up to be a doctor. Still, I am so fortunate she is my mother.
For the lack of formal education, she quenched her thirst for perfection in everything she does. My grandfather never remarried but he always dressed up immaculately because my mother was the one responsible for his laundry. I could never keep up with her standard in doing laundry and ironing. Until a few years ago, I asked her to iron what is necessary only as i wanted her to rest more. Otherwise, every cloth in the house is ironed (including the underwears). I made a mental note - my mother hasn't got the energy she used to have and for that, i did not allow my mother to take care of my nephews even at the price of my sister quitting her job.
Her cooking is phenomenal. When we were small, we never buy things because we would never get anything as good as hers. My uncle, who was smitten with my mom's karipap sardin and telur when my aunt brought him to see my parents for the first time, queitly wishing my mother will serve karipap whenever his family came around our place. For my 5th birthday, she singlehandedly prepared so much food and my favourite kuih koleh kacang. Our house was thronged with so many people (for her delicious foods) and i had my best birthday party ever. I learn how to cook dishes at the age of 10 when my mother gave birth to my youngest brother (as it was not easy for her siblings to come all the way from Kota Tinggi to care for her). Ever since that day (01121984), i got hooked to cooking (my stress-reliever and problem-solver). Then again, I could never beat her cooking though I've mastered how to cook and clean at the same time because she hates to see things lying around her immaculate kitchen.
Being a Virgo, my mother is a perfectionist as reflected in her way of running her house. My relative even told my landlord that in my mother's house, you can even sleep in the bathroom. You could never find anything in her sink or dryer - everything is dried right after washing before putting them back where they should be. My sister and I learn to fold our clothes in exact manners and sizes she told us. My sister and I were denied playing time when we hit 9 years old because she wanted us to help her in the kitchen, hanging the clothes, watering her garden etc. At times, I cried under my bed asking why I have endured all these chores while my friends were happily playing 'masak-masak' under the tree.
I am glad I did all that since nowadays, not many women know how to run a house. As a human being, I learn how to give my best in everything I do, how to be kind even to your enemies, how to persevere, sacrifice and love - wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I am glad I have a good heart - still not as good as my mother's.
I am becoming like my mother, in a way or two. Since working in The Little Red Dot, my time at home is so limited ( I don't even meet my friends since then), I learn to do so many things and get them done before 12.30 pm - the lunch time. My mother is so strict that if possible, the kitchen should be spick and span after that time. Before I go back to the Little Red Dot last week, she cried while hugging me - she pitied me for cooking so many dishes for her and my father ( I don't want them to eat out often), for 'spring cleaned' her garden, for cleaning her windows etc. I was taken aback. I had done this for months only while she had been doing for her family for many years. That made me sad because I wish I could say that to her too when i was small how much i appreciate her.
Having lost her mother early in her tender age, my mother sometimes think she has not been a good mother. She missed her mother for a mother is indeed irreplacable. My mother told me that my aunt (the doctor) used to write in her book that "without a mother, the world seems like without a sun" when she was a little girl. I believes my mother looks younger than her age because after doing her best, she leaves all to Allah, who knows what is best for her and her family ("Tawakal"). She never see mounting chores and responsibilities as burdens but those are her ways of expressing her unconditional love and care. Her ablution or wudhu' plus her Oil of Olay are her anti-ageing boosters. Perhaps, that feeling pushed her to be a good mother, when she is the best mother ever. I know she will never read this but I hope her pure heart will receive this message, just like we used to do - our hearts are connected to each other.
Happy Mother's Day, Mak...