My memories start from when I was younger. Back when we were still living in the old house. You taught me how to read and write. You bought me books that filled up an entire shelf. I felt like I had them all — Ladybird Classics, Peter & Jane, and even Archie comics, although the latter were yours. You taught me how to hold a pencil correctly. You taught me how to write my name, how to make sentences.
Then, I went to kindergarten. You enrolled me into one of the best there was, Rhema Kindergarten. I failed my Chinese horribly, but I was told that I could write. You were told too. I don’t know how you felt then. I hoped I’d made you proud.
I went to primary school. You taught me whatever you could; whatever you knew. You taught me about the birds and the bees. (To my horror and utter disgust, might I add.) You taught me English. You made me complete SPM English workbooks when I was in Primary Four. You made me take English proficiency tests that I excelled in. Then, the hard times began.
Our family was broken apart when I was in secondary school. Times were so tough back then. But here’s something I never told you : I always admired you for braving through it all. Many people would take the easy way out, fall into depression or just throw themselves into the revoltingly polluted Sarawak River. No, you picked yourself up.
But times didn’t get any better. They just got worse and worse. If I regard that as the darkest years of my life, I cannot imagine what you must have been feeling. Then, you got your life back together, you regained control. You became our source of comfort, of income, of everything. And up till today, you still are.
I am sorry for all the times I’ve been insolent and belligerent. I am sorry for the times I felt like I hated you for all the things you had to put me through even though you weren’t doing so well yourself. I am sorry for all the times I disappointed you and made you upset. I am sorry for always wanting to have my way, for all the times I’ve been hard-headed and unresponsive.
Through it all, I want to thank you. Thank you for teaching me all I have to know. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams. Thank you for encouraging me to pursue them, even though you and I both know how difficult it can be to survive as a writer. Thank you for being my pillar of strength, for keeping me grounded. Thank you for all the things you say to make me laugh every day, even though I know you’re tired and the only thing you want to do is sleep. Thank you for working all day on Saturdays and Sundays, when everyone else is basking in their weekends. Thank you for waking up and driving me to work every day, when I know you want to sleep and continue dreaming of your celebrity crushes (now all my readers will know where I get that from).
I know I don’t say it much, but I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.