Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mother's Nature, Father's Time

Last month, we celebrated Mother's day and this month will be Father's Day. Although some may view these celebrations as sales gimmicks for card makers, I beg to differ. Given, there are those who spend money on cards and gifts for their beloved parents and I am sure this practice has brought countless profits for many card and gift vendors alike. I, however, choose to look at these celebrations from a different point of view.

The modern day has designed our lives to be so hectic that even conveniences and appliances such as the microwave ovens and washing machines still render us too busy for simple shows of affections. Of course, I don't even have to tell you how I feel about the recent bout of controversies surrounding showing affection in public in our country. But I still refuse to feel guilty for lovingly holding my husband's hand while walking with him in shopping malls. Subconsciously maybe, I just don't wanna lose him in a mall full of window shoppers.

Spouses aside, the other significant people in our lives are our primary care givers, our parents. We look to our mothers for a sense of security, unconditional love and acceptance, for guidance and wisdom. We can always count on mothers to know their children's shoe sizes and a list of medications and food that we may be allergic to. It is the nature of mothers to nurture and care for their offsprings and are ever willing to jump in front of a moving train just to save their beloved children.

Fathers are our bouncers, making sure we are safe from dangerous predators, teachers of mathematics and science of life and our main financial institution. Many psychological research have yielded results that show when fathers read bedtime stories and be silly with their children, they grow up to be adults that are more eloquent, confident and practical. The world is not such a scary place to live in for a child when the father is always around to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their kids.

Merely saying thank you is not enough to express the multitude of gratitude we feel towards our parents for all the love and sacrifices they have given and done. We always wanna do more but most of us are stumped for ideas as to how we go about doing just that. This is when we cop out by just getting a card and a cheap gift to satisfy our guilt for not spending enough time with them because we have been too busy with our own lives and worries. So, don't blame card and gift vendors. They thrive because of our complacency. They profit because we are always too selfish thinking of ourselves.

We have heard, time and again, that TIME IS MONEY. TIME IS PRECIOUS. If we do indeed appreciate and value our parents, the best gift we can bestow upon them is the thing most precious to all, TIME. When I think back to my childhood days, the most vivid memories are those spent with my parents. Time with my parents became more precious to me when they divorced when I was just 13 years old. My brothers and I lived with our mom and we only got to spend time with our dad on weekends. There are such things as "ex-husbands" but there's no such thing as "ex-fathers". No matter how much time my parents spent with me, it will never be enough. Because, time is indeed precious.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Home And Away

School holidays are here and therefore I predict many parents are going through the frazzled hassles of thinking of ways to entertaining their bored little tots and brooding teenagers with activities that is supposedly to encourage bonding and strengthen family ties. For the life of me, I can't understand why most people would wait for times like these to spend more attention on their children. If real quality attention is given to offsprings daily, I doubt much effort is needed in calling travel agents and going through the rigmarole of traveling to another state or country just to appreciate their own flesh and blood.

I try to focus and give attention to my girls whenever my internal ramblings would allow me to. I'm far from labeling myself as a perfect mother. I'm no Claire Huxtable but then again, neither am I the dysfunctional mom from Malcom in the Middle. But, the main reason my family went to Penang recently was because my soul sister gave me her complimentary 2 nights stay at any hotel in this country. I chose Penang because recently, an old friend of mine had lost his beloved mother and a few days after that he didn't really feel like celebrating his 41st brithday. I wanted to visit him and offer him a shoulder to cry on.

But instead, we were greeted by a wonderful soul whose generous hospitality rendered me humble. He didn't think twice to spend whatever free time he could get from working at his workshop to take us around Penang town and made sure our tummies were filled up to our throats! Penang has changed so much since our last visit there 4 years ago. So much change for such a small piece of land. But our friendship has withstood the test of time and distance.

However, personally, I didn't do anything different from my usual routine when I am relaxing at home. Lying on the bed, in front of the tv, pretending to be Cleopatra. My treats are simple. A good soak in the tub, reading a good book and doing cryptic crossword puzzles. I was so looking forward toward the trip just to meet up with an old friend. But when I was there and after all my initial intentions were done, I had a longing to be home again. I missed my bed, my bathroom, my iMac. I missed drinking decaf coffee from my yellow smiley mug in the mornings. How odd, isn't it? When you're home, you long to get away. And when you're away, you long to be home. The complexities of being a woman, you think?

Although this trip was a real "lonely planet" kind of travel, I felt blessed. I feel like a millionaire because of the friends God has blessed me with. Azuar is my true soul sister. Words are never a necessity, more of an option. We read each other's minds like two psychics! Mohammad is my soul brother. Without his friendship, my life would have been devoid of laughter. These two angels have known me for the longest time. I think they understand me more than I do myself. But what we do offer one another is just by being ourselves. We don't ever have to pretend to be someone we're not. The freedom to be ourselves and the joy of utter acceptance of one another. What bliss!

Azuar lives in KL, therefore we see each other very often although often is never enough. Mohammad lives in Penang and although we see and talk to each other whenever we can, its as if time stood still. The absence is always felt but the presence of one another is always present. Odd but true.

One thing I know for sure is that the reason why we have significant people in our lives and why they are significant to us is because of the way they make us feel about ourselves. No matter where you are, when you have these people around, you are home. And as for my two girls, they enjoyed the "line clear" nasi kandar and the satay celor-celor. They are no longer bored nor brooding. They understand the importance of a good friendship and they look forward to having angels of their own.