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Apa KES: Siri Pertama

I am going to start a series of Apa KES today in commemoration of my mother. 🙂

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KES = Kata Emak Saya

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“Biasanya orang yang paling banyak tolong kita masa kita susah itu lah yang selalu kita abaikan masa kita senang. Hutang dia lah yang paling akhir kita bayar.”
~Kata Emak Saya

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[Teringat hutang bil telefon dengan emak sendiri RM400.00 masa tingkatan empat. Walaupun hulur belanja pada emak bila dah bekerja, tak pernah tersebut pulak nak lunas hutang bergayut. Mudah-mudahan emak dah halalkan. Al Fatihah.]

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Eee Boo!

Saya tak sambut Hari Ibu.
Kalau sambut pun mungkin hanya dengan meluangkan waktu dengan anak-anak tanpa menjawap telefon selama 12 jam. Atau mungkin melakukan aktiviti di luar rutin. Contohnya Hari Ibu tahun ini saya ke Cold Storage membeli barang dapur bersama Monchies, dan membiarkan mereka memilih makanan bukan-kampung (seperti makanan biasa emak mereka). Antara pilihan anak-anak ialah keju sampai 4 jenis, yoghurt, artichoke, sauerkraut, chorizo, bagel dan ciabatta. Saya dah terbiasa membeli barang dapur di Tesco Online, lupa selera anak-anak yang tak berapa nak hidup dengan gaya kampung saya ini. Anak-anak yang separuh sana, separuh sini.

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In reality, my Mother’s Day this year and the years before was just like any other given Saturday, Sunday or school holiday. It wasn’t so much about celebrating it at a special place with a special cake wishing a special wish. In fact, this year, on Mother’s Day, I sat my kids down for a little talk about rules and discipline. I couldn’t stop being a mother just because I was celebrated. Kitreena needed some serious nudge on punctuality, while Edrick needed some slap on the wrist on homework procrastination. And me, The Mommy, needed to improve our communication. Everybody seemed to be assuming everything these days. So, it was my duty to bring things back in order immediately. So what if it was the Mother’s Day?

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But knowing me yang bukan jenis membebel ni, all I could ask from Monchies was some understanding that I am struggling with this parenting position. It is an extremely tough job. One that I can’t quit (and won’t, even if I could), and it is one that I can’t take a leave from. This year, on Mother’s Day I ended up begging Monchies to help me make it easier by keeping time, as none of us could have that May 10th of 2015 back. No rerun either. There is no way I could put back the clock. As much as I enjoy parenting, I would really like my children to cooperate with me in keeping things in order. Time, especially.

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Today and this long weekend for some reason, it has felt like Mother’s Day all over again when I finally shut down my phone, ignoring many messages and taking no calls. Somehow, my ex-husband’s birthday recently and his absence in the kids’ life has made me realize that I have only been a mother to Monchies and that is not enough. I am now learning to be a better father by engaging in physical activities more than I ever did before.

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Wish me luck on the water slides tomorrow!

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My Balanced Two Wheels

Adelaide, 2007: Two kids, two wheels and now two worlds apart.

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Hair You!

We were on the way to school this morning feeling fresh and entertained by the Krappi Call on 95.8FM. The car was inching in towards the school gate for the grand drop-off…

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Edrick: I think soon I’m gonna have moustache.

Kitreena: *looks at Edrick’s face* Ohhh yeah Edrick. But you are only eight.

Edrick: Oh kaka you should see my friend Haniff, he’s almost like an adult.

Mommy: Are you sure his name is Haniff, Edrick?

Edrick: Yeah. It is.

Mommy: Not Hairy?

Hehehehehe!

Kitreena: Mom, my friends don’t have hair on their legs. But I have a lot.

Mommy: That’s just the way you are.

Kitreena: Yeah, but Cody doesn’t even have hair on her legs. Mine is so long.

Mommy: You are like Daddy. Don’t you remember how hairy Daddy is?

Edrick: But Kitreena doesn’t have chest hair Mom.

Kitreena: Edrickkkkk! Eeeeyewwwww!

Mommy: Yeah, but you can’t really choose, can you? Like Daddy, he has lotsa hair everywhere but…

Kitreena: Oh yeaahhhhh, but the head.

Mommy: So be thankful you have hair growing in the right places okay.

Kitreena: I ammmm, Mommm!

Hahahahaha!

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The Hairy Fairies...

The Hairy Fairies…

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Still Got The Blues

What I miss most every Valentine’s Day is making a card for my Mom. She was the very first person I ever sent a Valentine’s Day card to. The year was 1991. She never really knew what Valentine’s Day was, and she never really cared. All she knew was she would get a card from me in February. A card made with, full of, and sent with love.

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I never took notice where the cards went until one day after a few years of NOT sending her Valentine’s Day cards anymore. I was looking for a nail-clipper in her old closet and saw a card slipped between her batik sarongs. I pulled the card out and then I saw another. And another. And another. But staying true to Mom’s house rule, I put the cards back where they belonged.

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Last night when Edrick wished me ‘Happy ALMOST Valentine’s Day’ before bed and told me that he would be making a Valentine’s card at school on the real Valentine’s Day, I thought of my Mom and all my handmade Valentine’s cards she kept in her closet. Maybe this year I’ll start making Valentine’s card again. For Monchies. And for myself.

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Perhaps a blue heart would be a good start.

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Blue Valentine's Heart

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Nasi Le Mak

All that I wanted sangat-sangat di pagi Selasa yang sunyi sepi itu selepas Monchies ke sekolah ialah sebungkus Nasi Lemak. That’s all! Yang mudah, yang ringkas, yang kecil. Okay, I might have to have two if they are pretty small, but that’s not the point. Saya cuma nak kan nasi lemak bungkus. Nasi lemak bungkus yang macam dulu-dulu.

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Nasi lemak bungkus macam dulu-dulu...

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Syarat utamanya ialah, the bungkusan mestilah ada daun pisang dan kertas suratkhabar. I don’t want banana leaf and brown paper. No! Tak nak. Tak sah. Saya nak yang dibungkus dengan daun pisang dan NEWSPAPER paper. The brown paper is too fancy, too mengada-ngada. And plus, what is there to read after eating the nasi lemak if I am eating alone? Reading makes one look not too lonely at a restaurant, or warung, or in the kitchen, or wherever.

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Tak nak nasi lemak bungkus brown paper... too 'uniformed'. Tiada sentuhan kasih.

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That was all I wanted. Nasi lemak bungkus. Tak nak yang dalam styrofoam containers. Tak nak yang bungkus dengan plastic sheet inside newspaper or brown paper. Tak nak yang dalam recyclable transparent plastic container — tak kira lah yang boleh atau tak boleh masuk ketuhar mikrogelombang. Chewah, ketuhar mikrogelombang, okay! Dah lama tak guna perkataan ketuhar. Siapa je yang guna perkataan ketuhar, anyway?

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So, ini lah dia… luahan hati dari hasrat yang tak sampai di pagi Selasa. Well, I was on the phone for an hour or so that morning, rambling away about nasi lemak business and whether it is still do-able to sell “Nasi Lemak Seringgit Sebungkus”. We even talked about the feasibility of getting the supply of banana leaves from Karak. If we stick a plastic spoon into each bungkusan and put them at the drive-thru-newspaper-stand, people who buy newspapers on the way to work can have breakfast too. Even people at bus stands can have our handy nasi lemak.

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But I did not get my nasi lemak yang macam dulu-dulu that pagi Selasa. I ended up breakfasting with sekeping kerak roti Masimo dip-dip in secawan Nescafé Gold dan dengan linangan airmata. Saya sebenarnya rindu nasi lemak bungkus Mak saya yang macam dulu-dulu.

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Nasi Lemak Pictures:
Special thanks to AVLXYZ.

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Enough Is…

For some reason…
Today I got thinking of a parenting story my Mom once told me.

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She got a call one day from a teacher who caught my brother stealing money from his friend. It was a two-ringgit-crime. And it was 1992 or a year after. A two-ringgit-crime was huge for a ten-year-old boy. Any-amount-of-ringgit-crime was huge in our family. She couldn’t say a word and was so anxious waiting for my brother to come home.

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My Mom didn’t say much to my brother when he got home from school. She sat him down after feeding him lunch and all she asked was, “What is it that I have not given you enough?” And then she hugged her son. She hugged him and rubbed his back, asking him the same question very very gently.

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My brother broke down and finally told Mom that all he wanted was her attention.

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I remember the story to this day and when Edrick is not being himself, a tight squeeze and a back rub is all that he wants.

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I know.

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All that he wants...

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Kembali

Lama saya dakap dia erat-erat dalam pelukan saya.

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To tell her that I know exactly how she feels is just a plain lie. I was not raised by an aunt. What do I know about being raised by an aunt and not my own mother. But then again… a mother is a mother – whoever she is – an aunt, a sister, a stranger.

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Losing a woman who fed our hungry mouth when we were too young to feed ourselves, who sang us to sleep and told silly stories just so we got tired and fell asleep, who wiped our tears, our bottom, our head, our toes and everything else in between… would be the greatest loss ever known to women.

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Though I felt for her and I cried with her, I didn’t say I knew how she was feeling. I was lucky to have the last ten days of my mother’s life. She wasn’t. So I just held her in my arms for the longest time. All I could say was, “Dah sampai waktu nya Bik. Tuhan Maha Penyayang.”

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Putus sudah kasih sayang...

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Al-Fatihah and prayers for the aunt of Bibik Caskinih who returned to The Maker on the evening of February 19, 2013. Semoga tenang bersama orang-orang yang Tuhan kasih.

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