Saturday, 12 March 2005

To my dearest Nona

Just when did you get to be nineteen? Have you been doing things behind my back again? You know, mothers are a funny lot. I am, anyway. They can't wait for their children to grow up, and when they do, they want them to stop growing, freezeframe them at whatever age or phase of life that suits them. Like a bonsai plant.

When you were born, I was deliriously happy to have another girl so that I could dress you up in those cute frilly frocks. But like your sister, you were born, bald. So, no pretty ribbons, no colourful hairbands. And it seems that skirts and gowns and frilly things are not something you’d have in your wardrobe of tattered, faded jeans and cropped tops.

I remember Tok sending a bagful of floral skirts with frills that she made for her granddaughters. Ah, that look on your face! You could at least wore it once for me to take a photogragh to send home. Oh well, I don’t know what to buy you anymore. Two days ago, I was walking up and down Oxford Street, venturing into stores, displaying what they term clothes, but nothing that would wrap you up sufficiently against the cold. It was easier when I could get all that you need from Mothercare.

When I was your age (here we go again, I hear you groan), flares were in fashion. Yes, I heard your brother’s remarks about how that would help break my fall should I jump off a tall building! Ha! Ha! Very funny. But at least, I was all covered up. Nice floral materials much in trend for those flower power days. And hey, those bandanas that you wear? Been there and done that lah, sayang!

I must admit you are very creative. Last week, my prayers accompanied you to that interview when you carried your huge portfolio of excellent stuff. You have always been creative – those self taught animations, radio and tv interviews that you bullied your younger brother into doing. You play the drums and guitar. And remember how you pulled quite a crowd in Hyde Park when you did about 100 kick-ups with the ball, without once dropping it.

But you surprised me. I have always thought you’d be a scientist – perhaps a microbiologist. I’d be so proud of you. What gave me this idea? Well, on my weekly rounds searching for missing mugs, I’d always find some under your bed. And I looked at the curious blend of fungi like things at different stages of fermentation in those mugs and I thought: Aaaah, my daughter, the microbiologist!

I wasn’t very much into science in my school days, the only excitement I remember being the arrival of the first male teacher - our science master who taught us the subject of reproduction. Can you imagine, a bunch of giggly Convent girls?

And that of course brings us to the subject of the other, er opposite sex.. err, I mean gender.

Of late I see some strange nicks popping up on your Hotmail account. Does this explain your sudden interest in make-up? I supposed its good that you are taking an interest in your looks ... at least there’s some colour in your face. When I see some models on the catwalk nowadays, I can’t help thinking you’d do well marching straight from the bed onto the catwalk. You’re tall, skinny and all bones and that hairstyle is so the in thing on catwalks…no brush, no comb!

At your age, I too experimented with my hair. No more ponytails and plaits. I used to have the fringe too that covered my eyes cos I was so shy. But yours is more like a curtain that makes our communication even more difficult. However, I never touched colour (at your age). I remember your experiment with that. It was at night and you went against my advise. Suddenly there was a scream from the bathroom. What I saw made me laugh and cry at the same time. I do apologise. It was a horrible colour!! Even daddy chuckled.

Now I see that you are into Bo Derek plaits. What can I say?

And another thing, purple lenses do not suit you.

In those days, of course, we wore goggles. And it went well with those Dusty Springfield or Lulu look. The bigger the better. The same goes for earrings. Big round ones. But my dear, we wore both….not just a single dangling earring. Tok would have fainted seeing you with one earring, and one on your nose. I am glad you saw some sense and grew out of that one.

Well, penning all these down makes me feel quite old. It was a mixture of pride and sadness too when I saw you wearing one of my kebayas last Raya. People commented that you look just like me when I was your age. I am proud to have my two girls wearing the kebayas. People in Malaysia think the kebaya is making a comeback. For me it never went away. I was the kebaya girl in campus. I kept all those kebayas so that my girls can wear them. Sad? well, its just me lamenting my lost waisline.

You are one adventurous lass. I know that I am a pain to be with especially on trips to funfairs. I remember you commenting that a funfair would be a bore fair if I am around. No slides, no watershutes, no ferries wheels. Yes, a ride in the whirling tea-cup can also give as much excitement and what's wrong with that? My heart dropped when I saw you hanging upside down on that Aladin's carpet. Do you do these things to annoy me?

I cried buckets when you were away in Spain and now I see that you are researching materials on studies in Japan. When you received an offer from Nottingham university, I sobbed into the pillow. I imagined you surviving on maggie mee. Yes, granted, at your age I too couldn't cook. The kitchen was a no go area cos Tok Wan would rather see us studying than help in the kitchen. But your diet of nasi goreng and mayonaise and strange combinations like that worries me.

And if you are away, who'd be around to scratch your back? And Daddy won't be there to bring your bowl of cornflakes and milk to your room.

By the way, I just got you a birthday card and I hope you find those pieces with the picture of the Queen useful.

With lots of love,
Mama, xxx

STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS!
NONA got the bestest birthday present of all - she got accepted by the Chelsea College of Arts! All that heavy portfolio and the taxi fare that I paid is worth it!One happy MAMA!!

37 comments:

Ms.B said...

Aww, Kak Teh, this is just too touching!! Does Nona read your blogs? Even if she doesn't now, give her a few years, .. and then she'll read this and REALLY reminisce about the good, merry and turbulant times with her beloved Mama!!

atiza said...

LOL..
It's easy to blog than telling her right smack at her face, eh?..

No worries..it's just The Phase..every woman went through that...

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Kak Teh,
Just a normal happy teenager finally leaving her school playground for the stars.
But I guess you sense the signs of a coming departure and for a mum that must taste like a bitter-sweet sadness.

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Kak Teh,
Just a normal happy teenager finally leaving her school playground for the stars.
But I guess you sense the signs of a coming departure and for a mum that must taste like a bitter-sweet sadness.

Kak Teh said...

blabs, I hope not! If i know her, she'd strangle me.
Atiza, yes,its much, much easier. Yes, we went thru the same phase! and gave our mums more headaches!
susan: yes, very bitter sweet!

Atok said...

ghase nye dok ghajeng jjupe lagi anok hok ni.

drbubbles said...

sayang mama!

Nadia said...

awww kak teh...I can feel the bitter sweetness even thouugh my oldest is only 7.5 yrs old. I think I'm prob one of those women who were born out of their times..my case is i'm not born ahead of my time by before. I'm old fashioned by most standards. I don't like computers much though of course I like using them LOL (apa tu aa? hahah)
but this post of your is so sweet and oh well you just write well kak teh. see from the first time i stumbled upon your blog I was enticed by your writing prowess...so my eyes weren't tricking me then :)

Kak Teh said...

atok, jumpo kut - tak kenal.
iskandar: aik???
nadia: i have seen your short stories as well...very the impressed one!

Sunflora said...

Kak teh, you must be a proud happy mom. I am so happy for you.

nuriyah said...

thats wonderful kak teh, you must be so proud of her

atenah said...

how lucky she is to have you and you her. i was straight laced, never gave my mom any headaches, boring.

Captain Barbell said...

makteh...that is so beautiful the way you mx this and that :)

SC said...

awww, congrats both mum and nona. how did u celebrate?

Kak Teh said...

sunflora & nuriyah: thanks...am so relieved cos that was why she took a gap year...to complete her portfolio.
atenah: that is not being boring...that is being good and obedient. I supposed I was as well, compared to the kids now.
paul: thanks for the compliments.
spasti: hmmm coook, cook, cook and eat. She went out with friends.

MakNenek said...

Congrats kak teh for Nona's success on entering the arts college of her choice :) u must take credit for being that pillar of support! her success, is yours too :D

Kak Teh said...

maknenek: alhamdulillah.

Susan Abraham said...

Kak Teh,
Congratulations again on your daughter's success!

iJun said...

Congrats to Nona too from the codger... kak teh must be soooo proud!!

Nadia said...

alhamdulillah Mabrook!!! happynye as a mother...waaa...i feel happy for you cam nak terlompat2 gak gitu hehehehe....you're an inspiration for mothers...susah2..in the end all worth it insyaallah..:D (i'll make sure i read this whenever I have a a burnout) LOL

Bustaman said...

Our kids grow too fast. It wasnt long ago when we were wiping their nose. Now we have to wipe their tears.
Congrats to Nona and to the family.

Kak Teh said...

susan: thanks, my prayers answered.
Ijun: thanks, will do.
nuriyah: yes, am very pleased, its an ongoing battle and the general plods on!
pok ku:If our kids grow too fast, where does that take us? and wiping tears is not the whole story.

Jiwa Rasa said...

Congrats to Nona and her Mama!

shidah said...

kak teh,
congratulations to you and Nona. Nevertheless, she'll always be the little girl who needs you :) Trust me.

Jade said...

this is the first time i'm here. and while i read, i smile.

budakkampong said...

19 kak teh,

start counting backwards so next year she be 18 again then 17 so on and so forth...

:D

Kak Teh said...

jiwa & shidah, thank you for kind words.
ladyjade, thanks for dropping by .
budakkampong, I am at the age where I desperately want to count backwards - in fact do a quick rewind.

Lollies said...

Kak Teh, I don't know wether I want my kids to grow or just the way they are now.

This entry is beautiful.

Congratulations to Nona.

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh, first of all, Happy Birthday and congrats to Nona. Tu la, dok takut lama2 kena tinggai mama dgn baba dua orang saja. Tak larat nak berhoney moon dah aih. Makin besaq anak2 makin kita risau nanti depa tak ingat kita no? Awat lagu tu no?

Ordinary Superhero said...

Congratulations.

Leen Ash Burn said...

Hi Kak Teh,

I came from Sunfloraa's blog. Congratulations to you and Nona for getting into Chelsea School of Arts! :-)

CN said...

congratulation to u n Nona too..
terharu nyer

nAivE wACkOness said...

hi Kak Teh... i cried reading this post...made me miss my mum so much.... by the way, yeah, congrats to you and nona. :)

lilac said...

Congratulations to you & Nona and all the best on her future endeavours. I hope my little one will grow up as nicely as your Nona.

famygirl said...

Congratulations to Nona!! :)

Oh my, I wonder how I'd react when my turn comes.. my daughter will turn 4 this coming May, still a looooong way to go for both Ibu and anak hehehe

Kak Teh said...

lollies, the good thing about them growing up is that you can share their T shirts and make-up and be friends.
AuntyN: Tu lah...dah lama dah we all ni kena makan berdua saja..
msi, thanks for visiting again.
leen: haha..will hop over to you too.
cik ngah and naive wackoness: sorry, but whatever i wrote, i wrote from my heart and i supposed that is why it touched you...
lilac & famygirl: yes...enjoy them while you can still cuddle them.
AND THANK YOU ALL FOR THE BEST WISHES TO NONA!

SC said...

kakteh,

may i pls contact u via email?