Years ago I went for my placement interview in Malaysia after completing my MBBS. This was right after coming back to Malaysia from India.
I wore a grey skirt and white blouse. The outfit was from India. The skirt not too short to make me look like a slut and not too long to be a country mouse.It was called a midi skirt for a reason. The blouse was a female version of a shirt that was neither a shirt nor a blouse and was “respectable”. Closed neck, loose sleeves and not transparent material ! My outfit should be considered respectable..but not so, for you see, I grew up in India and one piece of clothing ( apart from undies) to cover my assets was not enough to be considered respectful. I also wore a petticoat and an underskirt to complete the picture.( In the sweltering heat)
I was interviewed by a Chinese doctor. She was almost my height. She wore a tight fitting shift dress, (open neck, sleeveless) that was 4 inches above her knee and her lab coat was longer than her dress. ( it looked like she was only wearing her lab coat when you saw her from behind!)
She and I were doing the same thing. Saving lives. But somehow I could only save lives in India if I was dressed respectably..
Few weeks ago, we stopped by a fast food outlet because my children wanted to drink hot chocolate. Now that they are older, I gave them the money and asked them to go and get the drinks themselves while I sat in the car. There was a time I was paranoid about losing them in a shopping mall and always held baby’s hand and asked the older two to hold the belt loop of my jeans. Now they know to order what they want and don’t need me to hover over them..but I am still their mother and I am still ( a bit )paranoid. So much as my children thought they were in control, I still had them in my view.. for I parked the car right in front of the shop and could see them through the window.
And this is what I saw.
My son was doing oppan gangnam style dance while walking to the counter and his sisters were looking at him and laughing and I assume pleading with him not to embarrass them anymore. Eventually my son stopped dancing and the three of them were talking and laughing. They paid the money for their drinks and was still talking to each other while waiting for their drinks. And as they left the shop, my son held the door open for his sisters and that is when I noticed the 4th drink in Yaya’s hand. I didn’t ask for a drink, but she bought one for me. I hate store bought tea, for it is never brewed the way I like it.( Yup, I know I am a spoiled itch with a b) But I can tell you honestly that it was the best tea I ever had.
It was even more poignant for me because few days before that I received a txt telling me that a daughter of a friend took a mate’s car for a spin and died after crashing the car. She was 16.
Raising teenagers is no walk in the park. For me it is like holding a time bomb that may or may not go off. Every day I worry if I am doing the right thing or am I screwing it up. I wish I could draw some sort of line like the Lekshman rekha around my children that will keep them from harm.
And as I was driving, Yaya asked “Mom, do you know something?”
“What?” I asked her
“Today is December 29th, I am 14 years, 6 months and 1 week old and I will never be 14 years, 6 months and 1 week old again”
“That is true” I said
It was my moment to be eloquent and tell her that she should always remember that each day is a gift and she should make the best of it, study hard, get admission to a good university etc etc etc..
But I chose silence..(because I felt my child doesn’t need a sermon..she just needs a sounding board)
I don’t know what the future holds and.I know I never get 29 Dec 2012 again. But I do know this.. I cherish each day..the good days and the bad days..