30 June 2006

Belated Mother's Day Post

This post is inspired by Calvinsanity's recent posts. Shocking, and heartbreaking. I figured I better do this post before that feeling went away.

Anyway, the more observant among you will notice that I don't write much about Mum. Which is kinda strange coz sons are usually closer to their mothers. I don't write much about Dad as well, but I certainly mention him more often. Before you pull out the tissues, no, she's not dead. This isn't a post designed to make you cry at all.

My parents divorced when I was 12. I don't remember much of their marital problems before that, but I certainly matured a lot afterwards. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. Before she left, I was closer to her (as sons usually are). It was a hard time adjusting to life without her. And I wasn't very close to Dad at the time, so I was a pretty lonely teenager.

Ironically, the real heartbreak came as I grew older. Many of the facts were hidden from me as I was still young, but I learnt more about them over time. One of the hardest things for me to reconcile is the fact that she left us. She left ME. Every Mother's Day, I see advertisements proclaiming a mother's eternal love. If that were true, why did she leave? And it certainly wasn't a last minute decision. According to Dad, she had told him that she had been planning to leave the marriage for many years. She only waited because she wanted me to be a little older before she left.

Another sore point I have with Mum is the way she approached the divorce. Her character is the shy type, and she would never ask for a divorce straight to my Dad's face. Instead, she created situations to compel my father to be the one to ask. She routinely came home late from work, and rarely went out with us as a family. The last straw was quitting her stable job and getting a job in Hong Kong (and later Rome). It was clear her intention was to be far from Dad, and I think he finally got the clue. Probably during one of their arguments, Dad asked if all she wanted was a divorce. And that set the ball rolling.

The divorce process itself was quick and painless. Mum was professional enough not to claim anything, and parental rights were automatically given to Dad. There was no contest on her part, and I'm thankful it went that way because Dad was probably heartbroken himself to deal with all the legal issues.

So Mum was working overseas during most of my teenage years. Till this day, I do not know what her job was. I guess she is not shy as I mentioned earlier - She is just secretive. She settled back in Penang about 3 years later and got a simple clerking job. Actually, I didn't know it was a clerking job until last year when I had to ask my grandmother. I'm not sure why she is so secretive anyway. Or maybe she is just ashamed to say that she is working in a clerking position? After all, she had a good career as a branch manager of a local bank before she left us.

----
So I had a slowly growing resentment towards Mum. Nowadays, she would call me about once a week for a short chat. At the end of those calls, she will always say "Love you!" I would usually reply the same thing.

But I didn't mean it. Not anymore.

My love for her has been numbed. She wasn't around for so many years, and as a result I have grown distant. I still acknowledge her as my mother of course. And as the Buddha said, I will never be able to repay my parents no matter what. So yes, there is some gratitude and respect towards her, but the passion and the feeling is GONE.

Or so I thought.

A couple of weeks ago Mum came to Nilai for a visit. She had never been to my campus before, and this was her last chance before I graduated. And as you all know, I screwed up the accommodation reservations before she had even come. I was angry, and very disappointed with myself. I kept asking myself, "It was such a simple thing for you to just put a little reminder to go collect the keys, and you couldn't even do that." I felt that by failing to do such a simple thing, I had failed as her son.

Looking back, I am puzzled. Why did I have such strong emotions towards the incident? Even while I was with her during the weekend, I felt guilty. Guilty for failing myself. As a result I was distracted and could not enjoy myself. And that made me more miserable - coz I was also a boring host.

Now I realize that even through all my denials and my disapproval of her actions, I still love her. It is my base instinct as her son. Spending that weekend with her helped bring a little more warmth to my heart, and I felt it. As she entered the train to leave for Penang, I missed her. I missed her like I was 12 again, when I would cry in my father's arms at night, wondering why Mom would leave us.

I'm not sure I can ever accept her self-centered decision to break the family, but I know that she is Mum. And I love her.



A Happy Belated Mother's Day.

5 comments:

Skyler said...

Hey, my parents are divorced too. We have something in common.

I'm not going to say "I'm sorry" because I hate it when people say that to me. Sorry.

Your mother looks so young...like your girlfriend....muahahaha.

ZemieN said...

You're right - don't say Sorry.(hands back apology in ribbon-wrapped mahjong paper)

"Your mother looks so young...like your girlfriend....muahahaha."
I'll take that as a compliment, and push away thoughts of incest.

Edy said...

damm wey... u look a lot like ur mom... but probably its unfair to say that coz i still havent seen ur dad... :P ciao man..

William said...

You look a splitting image of her. Whatever relationship we have/had with our parents, we'll definitely miss them when they're gone.

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