It was also during then that my brother went through 2 surgeries and the hospital bills were massive as he spent almost a year in a recuperation home. Mum stepped in and took on 2 jobs.
My mum is a very strong woman. My dad has an estranged relationship with his mum (who has passed on some years back) hence, my mum did not have any help of any sort from his side of the family. It was when we were older that I learnt that my paternal grandmother abandoned my father and remarried into another family. However, my paternal grandma only brought along her elder son to the new family and basically left my dad with my paternal grandfather. Out of respect though, my mum continued to keep in touch with her over the years.
It was only years later, I came to know from my mum that my paternal grandmother did not even visit her once in the hospital after the birth of my brother and passed her an 'ang pau' through my grandaunt which my mum subsequently returned because of some snide comments she made. During those days, my mum did not have the luxury of a 'confinement'. Because she delivered us both by a C-sec operation, she took a bit longer to gain her strength (about a week odd) and went back to toughing it out with her 2 jobs thereafter.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that she was literally working herself to the bones - she often finishes work after midnight and would be up and about by 530 the next morning. Perhaps it was also the financial pressure and the constant worry over my brother's health where during her younger days, mum used to 'snap' easily. I remember being caned on so many occasions with cane marks 'etched' on my arms and legs and being stared at by my classmates in school. However, after all the caning, she'd usually be in tears and apply ointment for my brother and myself.
Mum never stinges on us but herself. She shared with me that during her bleakest period where she had to pay the medical bills by the hundreds each month (a lot of money then), she would skip her breakfast and lunch just so that she can have the money for a bus ride to get to her second job, as a 'supervisor' for restaurants. She will then have her only meal of the day there.
My brother unfortunately developed asthma and the medical help then is not as good as it is now where we can rent a nebulizer and use it at home. During one of my brother's worst attacks, my dad was not around and it was pouring. Mum could not bring me to the hospital and I was left alone at home with strict instructions. She bundled my brother up and she literally carried him and walked / ran to SGH (which took her a few hours) in the rain as she could not afford to hire a taxi and buses do not ply during the late hours then. Such is the iron will of my mum.
I was also not an easy child to look after as I was very prone to having high fevers when I was younger. Till this day, I can still recall my mum tending to me by the side of the bed and sponging me down in the middle of the night and she will head back to working her 2 jobs the following day.
Though money was tight, I do have recollection of family excursions to Botanical Gardens, the movies, Zoo, etc. Whenever she can, she'd cook for the family. My mother also made sure that we had our birthday cakes, swimming lessons and for me, music lessons. She'd always remind my brother and I to study hard so that we are able to get a good job and lead an easier life next time. Though I do not see her daily now that I have my own family, the strange thing is that even till this day, I have never once felt that she was never there for me.
When I got married and became someone else's wife and daughter-in-law, my mother has been truly fantastic in dishing out good sound motherly advice. As mine is an inter-racial and inter-religious marriage (initially), it has not been a easy ride. But with my mum, I can call and discuss (complain) with her about anything and by the end of the call, she would have calmed me down. :)
She has mellowed a lot in the recent years and we have grown even closer if that is even possible. She pitches in to help with Dumpling whenever she can and has shown Dumpling so much patience that I do not even recognise her at times. :p While she used to cane me, with Dumpling, she'd just talk and explain to her.
Though I am a tad too impatient at times and do not communicate with her in as nice a tone as I should, she does not get upset with me. She is always fussing and worrying about me, even now, when I am a mother. :) When on vacation recently to Australia, she brought back kilograms of cherries (one of my 2 favorite fruits) for me. When I look tired, she'll quietly brew tonic soups and ask my helper to bring it home for me to drink.
Whenever Dumpling achieves certain milestones, she celebrates them with me. When I was battling through my Post Natal Depression, she cried with me while holding me in her arms. It is because of her love and selfless sacrifices that I am inspired to be the best mum that I can to Dumpling; just like how great a mum she is to me. It is also when these memories come flooding back while writing this post, that I realise how much she has moulded me as a person and what an 'unsung heroine' she is - for being my mum, my mentor, my pillar of strength at times and certainly one of my best friends.
Do you have a heartwarming / inspiring story on your Mum to share? For this Mother's Day, come and celebrate with Adeline's Loft and Beanie N Us!
Adeline's Loft is owned by Adeline Oon, a talented work-at-home-mommy who designs and makes lifestyle jewelries. Adeline was also named and awarded as one of the most inspirational woman by Cozycot during International Women's Day in March 2011. I am very pleased to share that Adeline's Loft is sponsoring the lovely pair of earrings below for one lucky reader!
Made with high quality silver plating from Korea and paired with purple faceted agate gemstones! Worth $30.
:: Here's how to win:
1) Share your heartwarming / inspiring story on your mum with us!
2) Leave your email address and full name below so that we can contact you!
Giveaway closes on 10 May, Thursday at 2359 hours. Results will be announced on 11 May. Good luck!
Congrats to Serene Seah! Adeline and I both love your story!
Thank you for sharing and we will be in touch shortly!