Monday, 13 May 2013

Mum Must Love Hello Kitty Too

Mothers’ Day Mania

I know Mothers’ Day is traditionally a day most mothers would blog to death about how wonderful it was to be a mother.  I know because I was one of them gushing about my son’s home-made card.  When I logged on to Facebook, my entire wall was filled with friends’ pictures in all manner of poses, with their kids and their Mothers’ Day presents.  I even knew what they had for Mothers’ Day lunch or dinner because they posted pictures of their scrumptious meals.  My single friends were not left out of the celebrations too.  They fancied themselves as “mothers” to their pets and posted pictures of themselves and their pets, some of them had their dogs wearing clothes with the words “I love Mom” printed on it.

My own Facebook timeline was also shamelessly plastered with posts about Joel’s home-made Mother’s Day card and everything else “mother-related” that is worth cooing about.

What I was not prepared for was Mum’s Mothers’ Day gift to me though.  While the words in Joel’s card brought a tear to my eye, the intent and efforts behind Mum’s gift made me break down in uncontrollable sobs.   

Mum’s Hello Kitty Prezzie

What was the gift?  It was a collection of 10 Hello Kitty collectible figurines.  Ever since I came out of the closet as a Hello Kitty fan, I had my colleagues, my husband, my son, my friends and now my Mum, plying me with many Hello Kitty gifts ranging from a Hello Kitty hairdryer, a Hello Kitty weighing scale, Hello Kitty bed covers, Hello Kitty dolls, Hello Kitty kitchen utensils including a frying pan, a pancake pan ( *hint* I don’t have a Hello Kitty toaster) as well as Hello Kitty crockery and kitchen utensils. My bathroom is filled with Hello Kitty bathroom accessories.  Even David is currently using Hello Kitty bath towels, shampoo and shower gel.  The family had to eat dinner off Hello Kitty plates, bowls and utensils.

I have to stress though that the set of 10 Hello Kitty collectibles were so precious to me, not because they were Hello Kitty collectibles, but because of the effort it took for Mum to collect all of them.

Hello Kitty Tokidoki Promotion

Our local grocery store 7-11 launched a Hello Kitty Tokidoki promotion for about 2 months.  I was a little hazy about the mechanics of the promotion but from whatever little I knew, this was what Mum had to do to get a collectible figurine in a specific design.  She had to spend $4 to get 1 stamp.  Every 6 stamps ($24 worth of products bought) and an additional cost of $3.90 would entitle her to 1 figurine.  She collected all 10 figurines over a 2-month period which meant that she could have spent $280 or more on groceries like bread, eggs, and milk. 

Mum Would Do Anything For Me

One thing was certain.  She must have visited 7-11 on a daily basis for 2 months, collected a shoe-box full of stamps and consumed a truck load of bread, eggs and milk just so her loopy daughter could get a full set of 10 collectible Hello Kitty figurines. 

Mum spoiled me way too much.  This was truly a gesture of Mother’s love.  I would have done the same for Joel, but I would have been suspicious if Joel had asked me to consume $280 worth of bread, milk and eggs to obtain his collection of Hello Kitty collectible figurines.  Perhaps next time when they have a Transformers promotion, I might do the same then.

Yes Mum truly spoiled me silly.  She spoiled me by cooking my favorite dishes when I visited her.  Even when I haven’t had the time to visit her, she would whip up these dishes, and showed up at my doorstep carrying bags of Tupperware filled with a huge amount of food, which was enough to sustain a town in the event of a natural disaster of seismic proportion. 

She spoiled me by boiling soup and preparing her “witches’ brew” of Chinese traditional herbal medicines when I was ill, believing that Western medicines were detrimental to my liver and my brain.  I still have not been able to convince her that it was too late; my liver was malfunctioning due to the copious amount of beers I enjoyed when I was younger, and my brain was, well, loopy as the years had gone by - incurable.

I Love My Mum

I love my Mum.  I am so grateful that I have her in my life even though we get on each other’s nerves often. David said that it was because we were both “2 peas in the pod”, I could not figure out how that was so when I did not spot a tight curly perm.

I appreciate her presence more than anything.  A colleague told me that when she saw my Hello Kitty figurines sitting in a row by my desk, it made her teary because she missed her Mum who was no longer with her.  I would not know what to do with my life without Mum. 

That is why I feel so blessed.  Mum’s gift to me was worth more than anything money could ever buy. 

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son.  She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Mothers' Day To Me

A Special Mother-Child Bond

Today is Mothers' Day.  It is my 19th Mothers' Day to be exact and the 43rd one for Mum.  

Mum has a very special relationship with me.  Whatever little arguments and differences we may have had occasionally, we actually have a very close relationship which I felt was based on a lot of selfless love balancing delicately with our individual characteristics.

Like my relationship with Mum, Joel also had a very special relationship with me.  I always thought I did well, and that Joel had grown up very sensible in spite of his younger years when he had to bear the brunt of the negativity when I was undergoing a divorce with his father.  We were both very close and we told each other everything, governing our relationship with a lot of openness and trust.

Then it hit me that he was all grown up as I had alluded in my last blog post  - I found myself going through  Pre-Empty Nester's syndrome, seeing Joel increasingly lesser at home.

Joel's Special Prezzie For Me

However, I do get reminded from time to time, how blessed I am to be a Mother.  Last night, I found a drawing of Joel, David and I, done by Joel when he was about 8 years old.  It was such a heart-warming drawing of our "not very normal but beautiful" family.  It brought back fond memories of days when Joel still "needed" me when he was younger.  Now that he was older, and I saw lesser of him at home, these memories became even more precious to me.

I was thrilled today when I woke up to a giant home-made Mothers' Day card on my dresser.  Joel was not very subtle as I spotted him clumsily fiddling with stickers, pens, and scrapbooking materials late last night.  I knew he was creating something for me and secretly I felt very pleased.  In the wee hours of the morning, I heard his heavy footsteps stumbling into my room.  He was trying to place his completed Mothers' Day card on my dresser without my knowing but of course I knew, and had to turn over to smile secretly to myself.

I read every word on that card this morning when I woke up, and it made be cry.  You see, I had "separation issues" when he was spending a lot of time with his girlfriend and less time with me.  I was quite possessive of his time with me.  I didn't quite minded his time at school, with his friends, on his hobbies, but time spent with his girlfriend often sent me into an insane frenzy.

However, when i read the words on that card, I felt I was now ready to let go because this was what it said, "I chose to put my efforts into my relationship with her.  She's done many things that have reminded me of my time with you."  

Ready To Let Go

My son is all grown up.  I am ready to let go now.  I should be happy, if he had found a girlfriend who shared his passions, his good times and his bad times, nurtured his personality and created fond memories with.  I had a lot of precious memories of times spent with past boyfriends.  Each one of them taught me something new, and developed my emotional resilience.  I became a better wife because of my past relationships.  

Being a mother meant that I had to also be ready to let go as he grew up to discover the world out there.  Discovering the world out there meant that I had to accept that he might trip and fall on his face from time to time.  I would not be there to help catch him when he did fall, but I could be there to pick him up, brush the dirt off his knees and send him off again to discover more new things.

So yes, I think I am ready to let him go now.

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son.  She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

I Am A Pre-Empty Nester

Empty Nesters Syndrome

In the last few months, David and I had been experiencing odd moments of solitude at home as Joel increasingly spent time at campus, with his friends, on industrial attachment at the hospital or with his girlfriend – just fill in the blanks because one never gets  a straight answer from him to a simple question of “Where are you going?”

The environment seemed so quiet and peaceful, sans the occasional barking of the dogs when the newspaper delivery guy appeared at our door.  Instead of cooking a feast for the family, we both would be munching on salad leaves and left-over’s for lunch or dinner during weekends.  In the past when the dogs were automatically walked 4 times a day by magic, we now have to roster the dog-walking duties between the 2 of us.  While I used to have a car-door opener and shopping bag carrier during our window-shopping trips, I now have to carry my own bags.  As there is only 1 other tea aficionado at home, I now have to brew my own cup of tea.

I reckoned this is what they famously called, the “Empty Nesters Syndrome”

Pre-Empty Nesters

When I searched Wikipedia, it defined “Empty Nest Syndrome” as a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. This can result in depression and a loss of purpose for parents, since the departure of their children from "the nest" leads to adjustments in parents' lives. Empty nest syndrome is especially common in full-time mothers.

Let me qualify here that I am not a full-time mother and I am certainly not depressed.  While it took some time for me to get used to the quiet surroundings at home without the boy, it definitely gave me a lot of time to pursue my own interests like taking on more Tarot reading appointments and Tarot coaching sessions on weekends.  I know David felt the same because he too started taking on more photography assignments and had even used his spare time to help a friend manage her pub.

Seeing that we should be more accurately termed as “Pre-Empty Nesters”, I then  started searching on the internet for ways to “prepare for his move to the next phase of his life – out of my house”.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I can’t contain my excitement.  It’s just that whatever I could do to make productive use of time when we had it, I wanted to ensure I was doing just that.

Preparing For The Chick To Leave The Coop

I found  the following information on WikiHow:

1) “Prepare for the departure. If you're expecting your children to be leaving within the next year, take this time to check that they are aware of how to do the basic essentials for caring for themselves alone. Make sure they know how to wash their clothes, cook for themselves, balance a checkbook, …”

Houston, I think we may have a problem.  The boy needs a map to get himself to the bathroom for a shower, his room currently looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and by the weekend, his allowance is down to a mere 20cents, enough for him to call me from prison should he stupidly land himself there.  While he is adept at making tea, he can’t do much else like wash his own clothes, cook a decent meal  and balance a checkbook.

Improving Communication

2)  ”Explore the ways that you intend to keep in touch with your children. You'll feel a sense of loneliness and emptiness when they're gone because you can't just turn around and tell them things as you always used to do. Keeping up constant communications is vital for maintaining a sense of family togetherness..”

Honestly, I think it is better that communication is kept to a minimal.  If there is communication at all, someone needs to develop a dictionary to go with it.  You see, communicating with someone from teenage to early adulthood is quite frustrating.  Can someone please explain to me what “ROFL”, “LMAO”, and less than 3 mean?  Less than 3 was picked up when he sent me this text that said “<3”.

Recognize The Symptoms

3)  “Understand what empty nest syndrome is, so that you can recognize the symptoms in your own situation. Empty nest syndrome is a psychological condition that affects principally women, producing grief when one or more of the children leave home..”

I haven’t experienced that grief yet.  Perhaps I am still experiencing Pre-Empty Nest syndrome which is more accurately described as feelings of being in love with spouse again, feelings of glee because I now have the entire house to myself, feelings of satisfaction because I now have more time to accept more Tarot appointments, feelings of exhaustion because I now have to carry my own shopping bags, and feelings of thirst because no one is there to make tea for me.

Looking After Our Own Needs

4)  “Start looking to your own needs. Once you're satisfied that you've set your child on the right path, you'll start noticing the big change in your life. The way in which you choose to perceive this change will color your feelings and approach to it – if you see it as a gaping hole, you'll feel much more miserable than if you choose to see it as an opportunity to revive some of your own interests and pursuits. Avoid creating a shrine out of your child's bedroom...”

Now, this is possibly the only piece of advice that I resonate with.  David and I have started looking after ourselves better.  i)  We started creating a salad bar at home, upon the suggestion of a friend.  At dinner time, we would just fill our plates with different types of vegetables, nuts, fruits, some roast chicken or smoked salmon, and whatever is available in the fridge.  It’s a simple dinner but it had transformed our eating habits and hopefully will contribute to better health for us. We couldn’t quite do that in the past because Joel had an aversion for anything green in colour. ii) We started spending more time on our passions.  David had been taking on more photography assignments and I had been accepting more Tarot reading appointments and Tarot coaching engagements.  In  the past, we were conscious that time spent with Joel was very limited during weekdays due to school.  However, now that he had been spending more time with friends, girlfriend, and school projects both on weekdays and weekends, we had decided to keep ourselves busy with our respective activities.

Rediscovering My Husband

5)  “Rediscover the love of your life…”

This is the best advice ever.  In the last 12 years of marriage, David and I had been so busy juggling our respective careers, family commitments and other projects.  For the first time in 12 years, we started walking on this journey of rediscovery.  Age is a wonderful thing. One’s perspectives, interests and passions evolved with age.  I thought David’s evolved for the better.  He had become more interesting a person to talk to than he ever was 12 years ago when we first got married because of his varied interests and his very bold “dare-to-do”/ “no-harm-trying” attitude to life.  I saw this in the way he passionately rehearsed his guitar for his gigs, I saw this in the hard work he put into his photography assignments and photo-editing that he would  do through the night in order to get the photos to the client the next day. I saw how gamed he was in agreeing to help a friend run her pub. 

Even our weekends now are never pre-planned.  In the past, we had every activity scheduled like a school timetable.  Now, we might just take the car out on weekends saying “ Let’s see where the yellow brick road takes us.”

I like being a Pre-Empty Nester.  It’s somewhat like dating a new guy, only somehow, I know him and like him even better.  As for the boy, I am hopeful that this Pre-Empty Nester period is teaching him new skills to hone his independence for the day I become an Empty Nester.

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son.  She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".