Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sand In Your Hands

It was 8:30p.m. Around the dinner table sat my mother, my sister and me. We were having a simple meal, nothing much, just rice, egg and stir-fried baby long beans which my mother had cooked. It was a Sunday night and normally people would be out eating, but it was a relaxing one at home with just the three of us and no fussy requests, a simple meal to fill our stomachs was set on the table.

“Did you cook this?” I asked my mother as I chewed on the vegetables.

She nodded. “Yeah, why? It tastes different?”

“There’s a difference between Mama’s veggie and other people’s veggie.” I replied, to which my sister nodded and smiled in agreement.

The taste of the food that filled my mouth, into my taste buds was something that I missed very much. It brought nostalgia to me, bringing me back to the time when my whole family were still together, having my mother’s home cooked meal together as a family every day and night. It was a routine my parents had implemented; all members who are home, eat meals together at the same time.

In the present, normally my mother would not cook as a house-maid was employed lighten my mother’s burden. For two to three years, my mother had not cooked much. It was very rare if she did. Tasting her cooking again on that Sunday night made me realise how time had passed since I last enjoyed her cooking. So much has happened with promises of much more happening and I feel like I have not got the time to slow down.

My mother, the person who had cared for me and had once cooked meals every day for the family is no longer as young as I perceive her to be. One moment she was 40 and now she is already 60. This night has made me realise how much I took her for granted. Her kindness, her worries for me, her cooking, her sacrifices and the times she kept quiet when my bitter words and actions hurt her… all of them I took from her and then went about my business, thinking that I would have them for a long, long time. However, the fact is it won’t be long before it all stops. One day soon, she would have to leave this earth. All of us could die anytime. We could die tomorrow, or the day after, or the next week, or even years later. But despite the length of time, when a person goes, or when something stops, we would feel as if it was so sudden and time had passed so fast.

Like fine sand that you hold in your hand, first you have a tight handful, but then it would slip through your fingers, running until you’re left with just the residue that sticks to your palm. On the event that my mother goes, I don’t want to experience the death and then suddenly realise that I have missed the chance to get to know her or appreciate her or show her I love her or make her proud. I don’t want to realise that I’ve forgotten to say sorry for the times I’ve caused her pain or have no time to help her out when she needed me. Or when she would tell me things that I think was empty only to realise they were things I wish I would have paid more attention to. I don’t want to be left with that residue when everything is gone.

This was the mistake I have made with my father; remembering all the bad qualities about him, but failing to remember all the good ones that came together until it was too late. Going through the same mistake again with my mother would definitely be a shame on me. My mistake, my loss.

Mother, you are important to me and I love you.