I was reading interesting accounts by mak andeh of adventures with her brood and how I envy her.
When my own children were small, that was what we used to do. We’d bundle them into the car and drive anywhere and everywhere hubby took us. We never had a destination in mind cos hubby is famous for his wrong turnings and we’d end up miles away from where we intended to go. There’d be endless questions of “Where are we going, where are we now, are we there yet, and finally, when are we going home?”
I must admit, I am not very patient but God is great, cos my quota of patience was doubled and given to him. A car journey was almost an education trip.
While I battled with the games on Gameboy, he’d entertain them with stories and history of the places that we passed by. “See this road? Why do you think its just straight? During the days of the Romans…,” alternating with, “sit down or the police will arrest you, put your seat belts on….”
Drat and I’d lose my game.
Anyway, the children never used to complain. It was never the destinations that they were interested in but the Welcome Breaks and Little Chefs dotting the British highways. They used to love the pricey food and the games while I took the opportunity to rest my tired fingers. And they loved staying at hotels.
And then they grew up. Nothing interest them anymore. After all they had seen the yellow rapeseed fields in summer, the British seasides in spring soon became a bore, and staying in a cabin during the weekends was never their idea of fun. And English castles?? Duhhh! So, before a drive out of London, we had had to resort to sweettalk, emotional blackmail and if nothing worked, threats.
So, you can imagine the long faces mopping the floor in the backseats of the car. “Hey, look at the horses, aren’t those thatched roofs beautiful…”
Silence. Everyone had their ears plugged to their MP3 players or bergayut on the phone to friends. Only T, the youngest and curious one, always standing behind hubby, alternating his whispers between daddy’s right and left ears with questions.
So we thought, it must be the estate that’s becoming too small for the growing family. Afterall, the eldest always had cramps as he has long legs.
So, we decided to buy an MPV. What a luxury!! But soon the novelty wore out as well and we found a seven seater MPV a big and lonely place for the two of us. Even our voices echoed when we spoke to each other.
No threats would work now. They have disowned us.
I am wrecking my brain searching for answers to where we went wrong? But, silly me...of course! They are embarrased now at the thought of going places with their parents. So, tak cool!
So, let's see signs that perhaps I had missed, clues that they gave and I didn't see.
Well, I remember we drove to see H playing football, and as it was raining, we thought we'd stop and give him a ride back. Instead of appreciation, the look on his face registered anger!!
Then there was the time I saw H for the first time with a group of friends and a few girls. So happy I was, I shouted,"H, sayang mama..." but he shot daggers at me. What did I do to deserve that?
And when R was performing her beautiful Malay dance, this proud mama was jumping up and down, videoing her. We watched the video again, and there was my voice telling anyone who cared to listen: That's my daughter, the one dancing, that's my daughter. Clever or not?" Now, what was wrong with that? You see lots of proud parents like that at school concerts waving to their children on stage, much to the chagrin of the teachers!!
And you know, N's friend died in an accident. I was devastated and as we prepared to visit the parents, N hissed into my ears as she squeezed my hand hard until it hurt. It wasn't a squeeze of affection, more of a warning: Don't say anthing embarassing, mama!" Laaaaa, when did I ever do anything embarrassing to you? At the house, everytime I wanted to open my mouth, there was this icy stare from her. There was another parent, Bina, and as we left, Bina confided in me that her daughter Shahidah also warned her not to say anything embarassing. Laaaa....!
Anyway, am still wrecking my brains in search of anything remotely embarassing that I had done. Hmm, there's the joget lambak with the cultural troupe at Whiteleys and the one by the River Thames, mmm perhaps the karaoke at Malaysia Hall or during the Family Day in Brickendonbury? I thought my performance was quite impressive...
Anyway, even T now, all grown up does not want to be seen being hugged by me anymore. You know this is the boy, my baby, who never left for school without as many as 10 times, "I sayang you mama, *kiss, kiss*." and at the door, " I sayang you mama," and before disappearing around the corner: "I sayang you mama!"
Now he'd make sure he gives a quick peck on the cheek before dashing out of the door, in case his friend waiting outside could see. Well, maybe I overdid it a bit with the sayang mama thing. I'd tickle them and hug them breathless until they say, I sayang you, mama. But I should have seen the warning signs from T. Sitting on the stairs, he asked for a glass of water. I said: Say, 'I sayang you, mama' first. And you know what he retorted? "Oh, mama, for heavens sake, its only a glass of water!"
Makandeh, enjoy the adventures with your brood while you can!