As we welcome the afternoon after family morning, I feel liberated to be in the most casual of ‘smart casual’ and my hair in a ponytail (instead of the newly-required company protocol to pin everything up). Seated on the marbled seats in Tanjong Pagar station, the familiar “Please mind the platform gap” and incessant beeps that precede the clumsy closing of doors remain clear despite the Chinese oriental music playing in my earpieces. Today’s thoughts, fit for the occasion, are about how blessed I’ve had to have won the Parent Lottery.
From March, the efforts and commitment dedicated to Strong Mind Fit Body have culminated in no less than a rollercoaster ride of emotions and challenges. None of which, though, would have been possible without our superhero mommy. From the endless list of logistics that gets ‘refreshed’ periodically to our uncontrollable mood swings, my mom has had to deal with all of it, no discounts. This uphill battle that we so often brand as a “pursuit of passion” has been a microcosm of the story of our lives – a story we are blessed to live and breathe.
Opportunities and leaps of faith come hand-in-hand with fear. At times, we forget that behind the pat on the back for courage or the word of praise for affirmation, is also fear in our mother who loves us too dearly to watch us get hurt. I like to tell the story of the many chances I have taken to make ‘unconventional’ choices: that I worked part-time while studying to pull weight in the family, that I volunteer fervently and that I pursued my interest in fashion bravely. So often, I leave out the difficulty in being the mother of a child with so much she wants. In retrospect, it is an unimaginable level of challenge to have said “yes” to all my pleas – to trust a ditsy 18-year-old’s choices over and over, to let me make my own mistakes or to watch me cry from learning difficult lessons, resisting perfect timings for “I told you so”s.
My mom has picked up infinite new skills in order to support the family – from a bubble tea concoctionist to a beautician, to an office administrator. On top of that, her full-time job is keeping the household in place. At home, she is the mediator, the peace-maker, conflict manager, the housework queen and our source of joy. Volunteering with underprivileged children from difficult backgrounds has so often reminded me that this beauty of a mother is truly a lottery that I have done nothing to be entitled. Yet, so much of who I’ve become (the capacity to love and the courage to be) has come from my mom’s nurturing disposition from as early as I started to remember things.
On this special day, I quote a 4-year-old who bravely spoke in a mic during the 2015 Superhero Me Festival – when asked “Who is your superhero?”, she said shyly, “My superhero is my mommy”.
Thanks mommy, you’re who I want to be when I grow up!