Sunday September 30, 2012
Patient, positive mum
By SHAMSUN NISHA SHAHUL HAMID
YES, I feel extremely at peace. Yes, I sense all my stress disintegrating and dissipating into thin air. Why? It’s because I’m with Mum.
At 16 years of age, the long train ride from Johor Baru to Kuala Lumpur – which made me feel like a character from Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series – was actually something I really looked forward to every school holiday.
Immediately, I would become a celebrity at home. I got to tuck into my favourite dishes and catch up on the TV series I had missed for the past three months or so. Most of the time, however, I wouldn’t really ask for anything special. But Mum somehow knows what I want. Like when I was quietly cleaning a few handfuls of ikan bilis (anchovies) and silently craving for her signature nasi lemak, and she’d say, “Shall we cook nasi lemak today?”
Such intuition is every mother’s gift from God, I believe. My sister would roll her eyes over the hint of favouritism, but Mum would brush that aside with humour and assure us she loves us all the same. (Plus, little sis always got the best piece of fried fish, even if it was initially on my plate – I’d give it up because Mum said so.)
At the end of the holidays, when things were just about to return to normal with a cold war brewing over petty things, it was time to return to my boarding school. Indeed, I’ve lived a nomadic life ever since.
After SPM, my application to university was successful, and it was back to Johor Baru again. Another five years? But never once did Mum complain. As she reminds me time and again, everything happens for a reason and it is up to us to adjust and live accordingly. Wise words, Mum. Each time I packed my things, she’d ensure I had an adequate supply of snacks, citing, “Growing kids must eat well.” Yes, Mum, but I thought I was 20?
Whenever I returned to campus, the emptiness of the room and the stack of cardboard boxes numbed my mind. The oncoming semesters seemed too difficult to bear. As always, a telephone call home, with Mum on the other end, melted the loneliness.
“Have a pot of teh-o, sip some and start unpacking one item at a time. Leave the laundry for later.” Simple solution? Precisely, but at times, it has to come from Mum to validate its effectiveness.
Mum’s prayers and God’s blessings made me sail through my studies. As convocation day neared, I made sure Mum had the finest clothes – though she didn’t really mind – to witness the proudest moment of my life. Her eyes welled as I put on the mortar board, gave her a hug and marched off with others to receive our scrolls.
Your sacrifices are simply amazing Mum. I understand perfectly, now that I’m a mother, too.
Of course, my kids now roll their eyes whenever I say, “You think I have 10 hands to clean up this mess, find your lost socks AND put up your play tent, all at once?”
Ah, what goes around comes around, Mum. You told me that before, and now I believe every single thing.
Even today, your energy and enthusiasm in life are so infectious and you’re 65! I know I’m where I am today because of you, and the mantra you drilled in me: “You can achieve anything if you put your heart and soul into it.” I guess that goes with a tonne of patience and staying positive, too. Thank you, Mum!