So this month, we thought we’d shake things up a bit and give tribute to those wonderful women who are the very reason why we’re alive and kicking today – our wonderful mothers!
One of my favourite quotes that I’ve come across recently has got to be, ““Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.” by Audrey Niffenegger, in The Time Traveler’s Wife. It gives a feeling of no matter where we go, and what we do in life, we can always count on that one person to be the beacon of light in dark times – even if it may not always be smooth sailing.
This year, we thought we’d share some of our stories about our moms and appreciation towards them..and also, MAJOR brownie points to us for the most awesome Mother’s Day gift ever! (c’mon, one of the few perks we get as writers, eh!) We hope you enjoy our tales, and do share your stories with us too
1. Of Aquariums and Caterpillars
There are so many anecdotes that I have about my Mom that I wouldn’t know where to start, but I suppose I’ll go with how she’s played a major role with my obsession towards fancy hairstyles. I will always remember when we moved to Kota Bharu from Penang back in the 90s and she would take 8-year old me to this tiny shop lot up some narrow stairs in the city center, where she would get her hair done by this lady in a tiny, dingy salon.
I remember being fascinated by a huge aquarium with the lone Arowana fish that seemed to glare at me angrily, so I would run and hide behind her while the smell of chemicals filled my nose, and I suppose that’s why the smell of hair salons have a strange, calming effect on me to this very day. She would spend a couple of hours there, and come out with tight little curls on her hair to which I would ask, “Why do you have caterpillars in your hair?” I remember thinking that Mom looked prettier au naturel before her perm, but I also learned in time that you needed to let your hair settle a day or two before it actually starts to look great.
I would then beg her each time – when would it be my time to perm my hair? And after what seemed like years, the day finally came when I was allowed to get myself..a Barbie crimp! Getting Darryl Hannah’s mermaid-do from Splash was the highlight of my childhood and the fact that Mom would braid my hair in different styles while I had my Milo before going to school everyday, made me the envy of 12-year olds everywhere.
Since then, I’ve spent many years experimenting with natural highlights in my teenage ears, and the day I returned home with hot pink streaks – I thought I had finally pushed the limit. I was sure Mom would disown me. With fear as I opened the door, she looked up from her glasses and said, “I like this, at least it looks like you’ve spent money on it.”
Since then I have never looked back. Today, I came home and saw caterpillars in her hair having not seen them in years. I smiled and thought of the grumpy fish – Audra
2. My Mum the Van Driver
Raising a family with five kids, logistics was a huge headache for my parents. For as long as I can remember, van was the official family ride. Toyota LiteAce to be exact. When you’re a kid, a van is a pretty big machine and it’s the coolest thing ever. It is like having your own playground on wheels.
What I fondly recalled the most is mum being the family’s official driver. Dad was away a lot for work and thus, mum did a lot of the running around. She ferried us to school, tuition classes, church, everywhere. Yes, juggled she did.
It was not long before the van became the hot ride in town. Friends and neighbours came asking to ‘tumpang’ our van too. Some of my brother’s classmates hitched rides to school while on some weekends, mum drove her gang to the morning market together. Mum was quickly known as “Aunty Pauline, the van driver.”
When I entered secondary school, I began taking the public bus. School was on the other side of town, so it would make more sense for mum to concentrate on my younger siblings. I didn’t like the bus rides, it was cramped and long, there was always a shady character or two. While I relished in my independence, I missed mum’s driving.
But I’d never forget that whenever it rained after school, I’d see mum waiting for me in her van as I got off the bus. As an emo teen, I was always grateful that I didn’t have to walk the distance home, all wet and miserable.
My mum is the coolest driver I know. Not that she’s a daredevil on the road but she approaches driving like how she approaches life – patient, rational, calm, generous and giving. The same values that I am still trying to emulate to this day. Perhaps, the key is in the van. – Gwen
3. My Mom, The Forgetful
You know those annoying things or habits your momma does that drives you up the wall? Well, my momma has a few (maybe tons) of them, with her memory being one of my top five. Yes, her memory.
My momma has, what we call, a ‘selective memory.’ She’d remember things I mentioned a week ago, but forget what I told her in the morning. In fact, just last week, I frequently reminded her that I would be having dinner at a friend’s on Thursday. I even told her the morning itself! And, in all classic momma Tan-ness, she called me at 8.30 pm to bombard me with questions –
“Why you not home yet!? Where are you.”
“I’m having dinner with a friend, I told you..”
“Why didn’t you tell me!?”
“But I did! I’ve been telling you since Monday!”
Yup ladies and gents, that’s the usual scenario that goes on between my mom and I. Honestly now, I do understand and accept her having selective memory. I know that she has a lot on her mind. But I won’t deny that there are times where wonder if she’s doing it on purpose to get me boiling.
Ironically, it is that same memory of hers that makes me feel her love. Momma would abruptly do or get something unexpected, simply because she suddenly ‘remember’ things.
“Wei, I bought you a sweater!”
“Oh, thanks. But why so sudden?”
“Because I remembered you were looking for one last month and this is cute! Oh, and there’s that cake you like too, go eat it now.”
Ah well, that’s mothers for you, right? They’d make you want to move out as soon as possible one moment, but do heartfelt and warm things that change your mind the next. Thank you momma, for all your love and affection. But please do remember that I’m going out on Saturday to get my hair done, aye! – Jyy Wei
4. Mum & Daughter 2.0
As an only daughter and only child in the family, it’s not surprising that I’ve always been very close to my mother. She’s intelligent, stylish and not fussy – I look up to her. We really like to travel and explore new cities; both of us can walk up to 13 hours a day!
Growing up, the mum = role model mindset I’ve always had was challenged. As an adult, we slowly realise that our parents are not flawless. They make mistakes too. But the beauty of it all that I’ve just come to realise quite recently, is that we could be imperfect together and make quite a great team. On our trips, getting lost is nothing new; but the frustration eventually brings us closer as a team. It’s the misadventures that we laugh at for years after.
It’s also the misadventures that make us a strong team – on trips and in real life. I love you because we never quit on each other, Mamah. – Nina
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms – old and new, and have a fantastic day with your loved ones!