How does one begin to write about the big, chaotic, colourful, exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, heart-breaking whirlwind adventure that is Motherhood?
After almost seven years of mothering two rambunctious chaps, I’ve come to the conclusion that no two mothers’ experiences are ever alike. It’s the little moments and the unexpected encounters and a myriad of factors that shape each woman’s completely unique journey of motherhood – and yet, we each make it work, in our own ways. Here’s a snapshot of my experience.
A couple of years ago, the hubs proposed the idea that we would take an us-only trip for a change and leave the boys behind. Back then, the boys were both quite young, and the mere thought of leaving them on their own – granted with loving grandparents to care for them – made me tearful. The idea was swiftly passed on by… but earlier this year, as we reconsidered the option, we both felt that perhaps it was time to try, with the boys a bit older and our parents willing and able to help us look after them. This year, we celebrate 10 years of marriage too, so we thought it would be a fitting milestone trip to make as a couple – kind of like a “second honeymoon”!
There are moments when it feels like life has come full circle, even though I know (well, I hope!) that I still have a lot more life to live.
Like this afternoon, when we celebrated my dad’s birthday with a very satisfying lunch at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery. The two monkeys were fascinated with the bar counter, but I told them not to climb the stools in case they fell off. So grandpa gamely went with them, supposedly to take a look at the counter too, but actually to make sure they didn’t fall off the stools and break their little heads. And there he stood, supporting one with each hand, and then later carrying them to the ground safely.
And I flashbacked to my own childhood, and the many outings I had with my grandpa, and remembered the feeling of him hoisting me onto his shoulders although all my uncles and aunties and grandma were all “Put her down, you’ll break your back!” How I loved that feeling of being on grandpa’s shoulders, and I knew he was indulging me back then, and it mattered to me.
I’m sure it matters to my boys too, now.
A few weeks ago, I took a stroll around my grandma’s garden.
It’s been a while since I did something like that. These days, we normally sit on the front porch on Thursday evenings, our weekly extended family get-together time, and watch the kids playing on the swing or scooting up and down the driveway. We chat about our week, snap photos, and chase everyone in when dusk falls and the mozzies start their nightly rounds.
Perhaps it’s because David has recently started reading his first ever Enid Blyton book – The Magic Faraway Tree. (We have a good deal going – he reads one page, I read two) Or maybe it’s that article I wrote last week, about the importance of boredom. Either way, I’ve been thinking about the past more these days, and remembering the high jinks we cousins got up to when we were young. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, other times I remember it like it was just yesterday…
As you have probably guessed by now, blogging has taken a little bit of a backseat this year, as it’s been challenging to juggle mothering my two adorable rugrats with managing Dottieshop and housework and church work. But I’m still going to blog as often as I can, and today’s rainy afternoon was the perfect opportunity to huddle up in my cosy sheets with my laptop while the boys took an afternoon nap. (I LOVE the sweater weather we’ve been having the past two days! Except during the school drop off and pick up times…)
I caught La La Land the movie alone on Boxing Day, jam-packed into the corner of my row by lovey dovey couples and giggling groups of teens. It was poignant and wistful and romantic and real, and left that bittersweet taste of love and loss, peace and regret. Beautifully unforgettable.
Today, I watched the boys chasing their friends amidst jets of water under a blazing sun, and I marvelled at how a mere two years ago, both were afraid of the “scary water shooting”.
My friend and I had a decent chat over lunch while our five boys enjoyed their meal at a separate table.
They trooped, single file and noses to the ground, searching out every lizard, fire ant and pretty flower they could find, and even found a dead frog in the process.
We watched as the older two laughed at each other’s jokes, poured water into each others’ beakers, and went into the Gents together. These two, who have known each other all their lives – and now they are six.
And our second borns are at that age now, the age where they are losing their baby fats and picking up the mannerisms and attitudes of an almost 5yo. Wanting to be independent like their kor kors, but not quite ready for it yet.
A wistful sigh escaped my lips more than once, and I felt my heart torn in a way that has become familiar to me now. That longing that time would stand still and this moment could be captured forever, mingled with a sense of loss of the sweet innocence of babyhood, and a burst of pride that they have come this far.
I first read The Five Love Languages when I was dating the hubby. Fast forward some seven years later, and I found myself reading The Five Love Languages for Children when David was just starting to walk. It became apparent, pretty early on, that words of affirmation and acts of service rank quite highly on my elder boy’s list, while Daryl is all about the physical touch.
At face value, it seems easy for me to fill up David’s love tank, because I myself am someone who enjoys giving and receiving words of affirmation. But a recent encounter showed me how thoughtless my words can be, and reminded me to be more mindful of the assumptions I make and how I speak to my tender-hearted boy.
About a year after I got married, I ran into an ex-churchmate at a shopping mall. He happened to come into the same restaurant that we were dining in, and since there weren’t many seats around, he asked if he could join us. Sure, I said.
It was not a long dinner by far, but 20 minutes was all it took. To cut a long story short, we had started by catching up on what we were doing for a living, since we had not seen each other for some 8-10 years, and his words, which he delivered in a jovial manner, shook me to the point that I was seething inside.
After a whirlwind few weeks of events, workshops and meet-ups with various ones, I was thankful for a relaxing evening out with my girlfriend E last night. And what better show to catch than WICKED, a story that revolves around the lives of two women who are as different as chalk and cheese, and whose journeys are inextricably linked – for good.
As a multiple award-winning Broadway musical phenomenon, WICKED tells the story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls, golden-haired Glinda and social outcast green-skinned Elphaba. The girls first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University in their youth. From there, due to a series of (un)fortunate events, their lives take very different paths, eventually leading them to fulfil their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. But lest you be lulled into thinking that this is just a feel-good show about Good triumphing over Evil, you should know that that’s not the case. In fact, WICKED reminds us, in most poignant and heartfelt fashion, that things are often not what they seem…