Dearest Mom and Dad,
Today you are both celebrating the fact that you have a child who made it to 30 years. I’m celebrating the fact that you made it 30 years into parenthood without killing your mischievous offspring. *hahah* For that I thank you dearly as I’m thrilled to be alive, to meet this milestone. I know you love me and are proud of me and all that good stuff. I also know that there were trying times when I was a less than disciplined child. Let’s celebrate the fact that all three of us made it this far in life together!!!
Most people would do a birthday post with their achievements so far in life and maybe some resolutions for the next couple years. I think the distance from home has put me in a ‘reflective’ mood this year. I don’t want to look to the future; I want to look at my past – relive some of the things that have made me who I am today.
You might not realise it but there are many things I’d like to remind you of right now. Let’s call this a trip down memory lane from my point of view:
- Mom, I remember quite a few times you would chase me to give me some ‘good lashes.’ Come on, Mom! Why would anyone refer to a spanking as ‘good’??? I don’t see what was so ‘good’ about those! Therefore, I ran away, even when you called me. *smirks* I probably deserved quite a lot of those. Okay! I probably deserved all as you never raised you hand at me unless I was really horrid. However, let’s look at the good side of those ‘spanking chases’: (1) I helped to keep you fit Mom, and, (2) I learned to hide my mischief more efficiently, thus, you were less stressed out and forced to discipline me! Win-win.
- I remember the time Dad forgot me at school when I was in Form 2. I still don’t know what happened that day. I remember sitting under that tree in the school yard and waiting and waiting and still no Dad. Finally, at about 5pm (he’d normally get me at 3:30pm and take me to the office) I called him only to find out that he was almost home – at the head of the street. I think he broke a few speed limits that day because in a matter of 10 minutes he was there for me. Mom, we never told you this then cause I got bribed with the promise of ice-cream but I’m happily sharing this now as I don’t think he ever did fulfill that bargain. *evil grin*
Yes, I shared a few ‘bad memories’ first. They make me laugh when I think of them. In addition, as I grew older, the ‘parent training’ of you two became easier and you stopped spanking me and forgetting me. I think we turned out okay…
Now, for some of the good memories:
- Mom, do you remember holding my hand and taking me to nursery school? This should have taken us a maximum of 10 minutes walking but it invariably turned into about half hour. The reason was because I needed to say ‘good morning’ to everyone I saw on the way and would also strike up conversations with the old ladies in the street. You taught me early in life to be polite to people and to enjoy the simple things in life.
- Dad, do you remember the time when you were at home with me when I was in Prep A? You would help me to get dressed for school and we were both challenged with the task of combing my hair! Then you would take me to school; you were the only Dad among all the mothers – I was very proud about this. Every afternoon I’d stand up in class and peep through the window and you would be there under the tree outside the compound waiting to take me home. That taught me the security of having a family.
- Mom, I remember you carrying me down this long road to a clinic when I was very sick. I used to wonder if that road would ever end and I’d feel myself slipping away from you because I was always so tired and you would instinctively hold me tighter to prevent me from falling. The sun was always hot and you had to juggle an umbrella and a sick child, yet you never dropped me. Dad, I remember that the only thing I really wanted to eat besides mashed potatoes when I was sick was noodle soup. Mom didn’t know how to prepare it at that point in time so you bought the packets and would cook it for me when you came home from work. There were times I wasn’t totally conscious but whenever I opened my eyes either one of you or both of you would be there. I also remember a kitten – all over black with a white star on his neck and green eyes. I’m not sure now if he was real or a figment of my imagination as he disappeared when I got well. Was he real? Anyways, these things taught me that true love from a parent is a joy that is felt and comes from small things in life – a hug, a smile, time spent with each other.
- I remember that I failed math (miserably) when I changed schools. I was so devastated that I cried and cried and cried. Dad, you spent that Christmas vacation teaching me arithmetic so that I won’t fail again. Then, once we’ve conquered that challenge, you taught me advanced algebra so I’ll feel good about myself. This empowered me to keep on trying even when I failed.
- There was this period of time when I would go to Modo’s after school because you were attending afternoon classes in order to enter CPCE, Mom. Even when you fulfilled the ‘traditional’ roles of a woman (mother and wife) you pursued your dreams. The joy I would feel when I stood on that side step and saw you coming up the road was surreal. We’d walk home hand in hand and talk about our days – well mostly me as I was and still can be a talkative person. It taught me to follow my dreams, never give up!
- I remember the first time I saw Bringle – my first dog ever! He was a cute little grey mongrel with a cold black nose and a curled tail and I fell in love with him on sight! Neither of you told me I was getting a dog but simply said that there was something downstairs for me after I heard the gate open and close. He was quite possibly the BEST PRESENT EVER! Following Bringle, the adoption of random strays over the years taught me compassion and provided a foundation to nurture my love of animals.
- Our home is a home because it is a place where those in need can find shelter – there is always a meal to be had and friendly advice. This was proven time and again when family and friends would visit. I have these images in my head of you two hanging out with my friends – even when said friends came to see ME. The guys would go sit and chat with Dad for a few minutes or watch television. Mom would hang out with us in the living room after work on the occasions she came home to an ‘invasion’. This wasn’t restricted to the physical location but the many times Mom would cook us dinner (little rotis with curry and tea) and Dad would transport them to the university when we wanted to stay late for one reason or another.
- Dad you taught me to play cricket – even when you didn’t initially approve of me pursuing a sport when I had studies. You instructed me on how to keep a good line and deliver a ball, how to catch and how to bat. I never was and never will be a great cricketer but I was good enough to captain the girls’ team at QC for three years and was even awarded the School Colours Medal. This support extended to other hobbies as well and I’m happy you encouraged me to pursue my dreams, also.
- Mom, every time I was on stage for a prize giving ceremony or for a graduation, I would instinctively look for you in the crowd. I don’t know if you know this but it’s true. Both Dad and you contributed to my education in many ways. But I remember you first because I remember doing homework or assignments and meals would miraculously appear next to me. I’d eat and the empty plates and cups would disappear. You did magic! You taught me to write – not my nursery school teacher. You are my first teacher and considering where I am now, you have a lot to be proud of Teacher Pan!
There are so many more memories, great memories, that I can share; but there isn’t enough time or space for me to write them down. You two have always been the foundation of my life and no matter what I chose, even if you thought I could have made a better choice, you supported me. Every success I’ve had in life is because of you and I’ll never forget it. You made home a place where I feel safe. You made me the woman I am today – confident, kind and giving. The best lessons in life came not from my classrooms but from you two and I thank you for them.
I love you two. Knowing you return this love makes me strong enough to conquer the world! Happy 30 years of parenthood to you!!!