My youngest

She is a lot different from the older two. She can go for days without talking to me (except the one thing, she will always asks me how was your day when I get back home every evening)

She might even say I love you couple of times. And that is it. Nothing else.

She will spend all day in her room. Won’t come out to even eat. I often cook what she likes. But that too doesn’t work.

I have learned to ignore her. But it hurts, especially the fact that she will leave home in a few months and this is our last chance to spend some quality time together.

Dean’s list

Working in the academia, I can assure you that getting on the dean’s list is really hard, but worth it. In a cohort of 200 students, less than 5 will be on the Dean’s list and a great deal of companies value that achievement. It shows hard work and dedication on the part of the student. Skills prospective employers look for.

As I mentioned previously, my son missed out on being put on academic probation by 2%. He is an OP 1 student., clearly he is smart and shouldn’t be on academic probation.

So why was he struggling at Uni? He had different priorities.

He was out partying, doing things he was not meant to, including climbing buildings and structures he was not allowed to climb, smoking weed and getting drunk.

He also bought (with his own money), a high performance motor bike (350CC). He has wanted to buy a bike for a while and I told him that there is no way he will be able to ride the bike in the winter and that insurance premium will be really high. Getting a bike is one of the first adult decision he made on his own and he only told me that he bought a bike months after he bought it. ( he is now the proud owner of two bikes. He has one here in Aus and one there at his Uni)

How did I deal with this all?

For slacking at Uni, it is a very typical behaviour. it is the first year of absolute freedom and not having a mom to watch over him.However, I still needed to hold him accountable, so I told him that I will only pay the first round of fees, if he has to repeat a subject, he will have to sell his kidney and pay for it. Other than that, I let it be. After all he is an adult and is in charge of his destiny. He needs to be accountable for his own actions.

That being said, the mother in me was terrified. Every time an unknown car stopped in front of my house, I was sure it was the cops coming to break the bad news that my son did something stupid.

He usually calls me up every weekend. Yesterday he called me and told me, He is on the Dean’s list.

My contribution to him getting on the Dean’s list? Nothing. I just allowed them to take responsibility for their own actions. Eventually they come around to their good senses.

It works.

Yaya’s regrets

After not blogging a while, I am now all rusty.

yesterday, i wrote that Yaya has two regrets and forgot to write what is her second regret.

Yaya says I should have taught her to speak Malayalam. I have blogged about not teaching my kids Malayalam. Initially it was to avoid language overload. In Malaysia, she had to learn, English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil and I didn’t want to add one more language to the list. I also felt there is very little point in learning a language that you are never going to use. She will never move to India and live there and I hope to God that she will not marry a Mallu. ( I am prejudiced towards Mallu boys). So i didn’t teach Malayalam to my kids. Yaya can understand Malayalam though.

According to Yaya, it would have been nice to learn her mother tongue.

I offered to fund three months Mallu immersion trip to Kerala as I believe three months is more than enough for her to learn Malayalam if she is that keen. She didn’t take up my offer. ( I honestly didn’t expect her to take it anyway) Besides if she really wanted to, she can still use online services and learn ( she now speaks Korean after getting hooked on K Dramas and DuoLingo)

Do i regret not teaching my kids Malayalam? Not at all.

So What else happened the last 12 + months

Yaya will finish her undergraduate degree this year. She is on Dean’s list and is busy applying for jobs. I have begged and pleaded with her to do her Master’s degree and then look for a job. I strongly believe that it is much easier to continue another two years of study than to work a few years and then go back to study. She doesn’t agree. She says she doesn’t know what she wants to do her master’s degree in and had enough of studying for the time being. She wants to work for a couple of years and then do her Master’s.

She has two regrets. Regret one, I her mother didn’t force her to do UMAT (under graduate medicine admission test0while she was in grade 12. ( i remember taking UMAT ad paper cutting from the courier mail and giving it to her and telling her to give it a go. She said she didn’t want to do medicine and now thinks perhaps medicine has its merit. If she doesn’t get any good job, she is coming back home, studying for 6 months and write the GAMSAT ( post grad Med entrance exam)

My son. He is now second year of his Engineering degree. He took Civil stream. He missed being put on the academic probation by 2%. One of the most fascinating conversation I overheard went like this.

Yaya, “One of my classes had mandatory attendance and it was 5% of the marks and I had to get up at 7 am every Thursday”

Toothless. “You are a wuzz, I had one class with mandatory attendance and it was 15% of the marks and it was on Monday at 9 am. I couldn’t be bothered to get up, so I never attended”

Yaya. ” You gave up 15% easy marks that you would get just for turning up for the class?”

Toothless “Yeah”

Now, you can understand why my son nearly was placed in academic probation. The entire first year, he was drunk, high or both. This semester he seems to have got his acts together. He really wants to do well. No idea what changed.

My youngest completed grade 12. She is the smartest of the three and studied exactly for 3 weeks for her final IB exam and expected a miracle. I had always felt that sometimes life gives opportunities to learn lessons. My youngest did learn when she got 35 for her IB. Both her siblings got distinction

Here I am

I know many of you have been asking where I was.

I took time off because I had Amma with me. yes, you heard it right. My mother was with me for the past one year.

Earlier, my mother had chosen to stay in an aged care for destitute, the key word here is that she chose it on her volition. I think it was her way to get at us. Imagine the humiliation I have had to endure when everyone was pointing their fingers at me for sending my mother to an aged care facility meant for destitute.

As you know I attempted to see her for her 80’th birthday and mom and my younger sister played cat and mouse with me and I promised myself never ever will I have any contact with anyone.

Imagine my surprise to receive an email from my youngest sister in mid October (2018) asking if I can take care of Amma. it turns out that Amma had a fall and couldn’t even take a shower. And despite having a substantial sum from government as a pension, Amma refused to hire a carer and chose not to shower. The aged care facility contacted my youngest sister and she went and got my mother. She hired a carer for Amma and the carer left within a few days because Amma got the carer to weed the field ūüôā ( not the garden, the actual field). So getting another carer was not the option, for the tail of the dog will never be straight. (Decades ago, there was a story in either Balarama or Poompatta about someone who found a magic lamp and the genie will eat you up if you don’t give the genie work to do each day. So the man asked the genie to straighten his dog’s tail and the genie is still busy)

My sister asked if I could take care of Amma. The thing is, there is a bond, however cruel the parent is, the child will have that bond and it cant be broken. ( trust me, I tried) and i said ok.

And Amma got a one year visa to come and stay with me.

I took time off from blogging because, my oldest sister is reading this blog and she has a knack to create unwanted hassles by calling amma and telling her I said this or that. i just wanted to avoid troubles.

Amma’s visa expired last week and she went back to my sister’s/

So, here I am.

I can’t explain how much I missed this blog

 

 

Boy

Couple of days ago, when I got back from work, my son looked visibly distressed. So, right away I asked him what is wrong?

It turns out that he forgot to accept/defer his QTAC ( for Queensland) university round 1 admission offers. He got an OP1  and that meant he gets admission to whatever degree  he chose and in his case it was dual degree in Engineering and economics and minoring in mathematics. On the same day, he also realized that he forgot to apply to UBC and deadline has already passed. I would have liked him to apply to UBC because they have an exceptionally good Mechatronics department and he could go to Whistler for skiing/snow boarding during winter and as a Canadian, he would pretty much be guaranteed a place at UBC. So UBC was supposed to be the standby.( Yaya too applied at UBC and was offered a place)

So, here is an OP 1 student with no Uni guaranteed admission anywhere and looking at a minimum loss of two years ( if he wants to go to US/Canada)

I wanted to scream at him, but I didn’t. Only because I had¬† promised myself that if I ever have children and when they are already upset, I won’t do anything to make it worst. My mother used to make me feel horrible every time I went to her because I made the wrong choice/decision. She would go on and on and all I wanted from her was her support. Eventually I learned not to go to my mom with my troubles, which beat the purpose. Your parents are meant to be your rock, the ones you can lean on.

So, I made myself a cup of tea and talked to my son.

He had two options. Contact QTAC and wait for round 2 offers. Find a full time job, travel around a bit and see where life takes him. I told him, if I was in his place, I will work like crazy the next 8 months or so, save every dime and travel to Costa Rica and then on to other S.American countries and of course head to Peru and¬† drink ayahuasca. He looked relieved. It is not that I am deliberately trying to make my kids addicted to drugs. My son just needed to know that sometimes you make a mistake, and some times those mistakes can have life lasting consequences, but it doesn’t mean that it is the end, there are plenty of other things to do. I want my kids to have hope.

He managed to get the admission offer from the QTAC round 2 offers. He has deferred it for a year. and now the waiting game starts.

 

 

Conflicted

The first time I saw her was on the eve of Yaya’s birthday. I was making Yaya’s favorite fish cutlet when she came in to the kitchen to say Hello to me. It was about 9:30 p.m. Because fish cutlet is a very labour intensive process, I was making it the night before.

I remember seeing her eyes and thinking, she has the saddest eyes I have ever seen. When she came, we had already finished dinner and I thought she looked hungry. So, I fried few fish cutlets and made a bowl of soup for her.

Her existence was a bit of surprise to me and I had not anticipated her arrival. My son told me that there is a classmate of his who needs urgent accommodation because her life is at stake and there was not enough time to ask for more information.

Every year, for my children’s birthday, I bake their birthday cake the night before, so they can wake up to a surprise birthday cake in the morning. I only started the baking process after they had gone to bed. When they were little, they used to try and stay awake to see what I was going to bake and I waited till they slept. There were times I baked the cake at 2 a.m. when the monsters finally slept. Once my son woke up in the middle of the night and ate half of the beautifully iced birthday cake I baked for his sister and we all woke up to a surprise half eaten birthday cake and¬† fridge door covered with icing.

She was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I guess I was making too much din while baking the cake. She woke up and came to me and asked if I needed any help. I didn’t. I was making tea for myself and I made her one too and we started to talk.

She told me her story.

Her father was in his 50’s when he came to Australia and shacked up with a woman to continue staying here and in the process had three kids with her. The woman is an alcoholic and drinks two bottles of wine a day. He buys the alcohol because he feels feeding her the alcohol is a lot easier than dealing with the violence that follows when the woman doesn’t get her drinks. Neither of them are employed and have no money. They take every dime the kids earn to pay the rent and bills for the house. Spending 16 dollars on an average a day for wine means there is no money left for food. For months the kids only had bread and sausage. The woman has some issues with the girl and deliberately attacks her every chance she gets and like every child in an abusive relationship, she thinks what she is going through is normal. Besides there is no escape for her.

I have been in her place and I know just what she is going through.I told her that she can stay with us as long as she wants.

Just like I did, she misses her family, runs back to them, get attacked, escape and then this cycle repeats.

A few months after the first time my son brought her home, they started to date.

The mother in me looks at this relationship and is worried like hell. She is totally messed up. She is insecure, has regular panic attacks and is a lost soul. She will need years of therapy to get over all the traumas she has gone through. How can I wish my son to have a terrible future?

The woman that I am, the one that went through shit and still managed to pull up to reach where I am, I know I am the only hope she has.

Who do I save? My own son or the girl who is my own reflection.

Diverging

I know I have been away from this blog. My apologies

Currently I am a sobbing mess.

It all started couple of weeks ago, when my son asked “Mom, would you be ok, if I move out and stay with my gf”

I have always known that children will grow up and leave home. It is nothing but the truth.¬† Yet, I couldn’t stop the tears and I haven’t the slightest clue as to why I am behaving this way.

My son was a bit taken aback too. It isn’t very often that he has seen his mother cry.

Of course, I told him that if he wants to move out, he can. That is his right. I wish I could have said it without crying.

The thing is, I didn’t cry this much when Yaya left home. I missed her terribly. But I accepted that she needs to find her wings and soar high.

I honestly don’t know why I am behaving differently with my son.

Hmm

A lot has happened in my life the past few weeks and I am unable to blog about it. Everyday, I open the blog tab on my laptop to update the blog and every single day I ask myself, is this something I want my sisters to know about? And I end up not updating. This blog was a place for me to write whatever is bothering me and I loved the sense of relief it offered me. But now I am just lost.

So, we will leave the bad things out.

The good things

Yaya is home. She came back couple of days ago and my son and his gf came with me to the airport to pick her up. I counted down the hours till her flight landed and the moment I saw her, much as I was happy to see her, I also felt a bit sad.. How many more Christmas do I get to have all my children¬† home? They are all flying out of the nest and creating their own nest. In 2 years, my youngest will leave home. I can’t imagine a Christmas without my kids. But that is inevitable. I have started to write a list of things I would like to do once the kids leave home. I want to learn to sail a yacht and perhaps spend a year or two at sea.

My son is busy working and his shifts now ends after midnight, which means instead of driving back home which is a 45 minutes drive, he goes to his gf’s house which is 30 minutes away.¬† I would like to be magnanimous and say that I really don’t mind him spending the night at his gf’s house. But the truth is, I do. I have so little time with him before he leaves for Uni and I want it all.. every single second of the time I have left. I know I sound so irrational. It isn’t that he didn’t spend the last 17 years with me.

That brings us to the Ammai amma role I get to play. I remember the word my grandmothers and other older women in my family used every time a new girl arrived in our family after the marriage. “parishkaram”¬† I have no idea what would be the ideal English word for it, so I apologize for not translating. The first parishkaram in our house was the toothpaste. My washroom is small and the mirror doesn’t have a decent light. As I am blind as a bat, I use the common washroom (Bigger mirror and better lights) to brush my teeth and to put my makeup on. I have so little time to get ready in the morning and my blood comes to a rolling boil when I look for the toothpaste and not find it. She brushes her teeth while she is taking her shower and leave the paste in the shower. My son has also started to do the same for he thinks it is really cool to brush the teeth while the shower is running. The simple solution would be to have two toothpaste..one for the idiots who use it in the shower and one for the rest of us. But I don’t want to have a two tier household. My house, my rules. Toothpaste on the toothpaste holder next to the sink is where I decided to keep the toothpaste¬† and it is where I expect to find it. (Don’t I sound like a typical mallu mother in law? I swear all these traits are in our genes)

Couple of days ago, I was at work and I received a text from his gf. The message said ” tell your son, his room is worst than a pigsty”¬† I knew what brought this up. She bought Brie and crackers to eat and was running late for work. As she was leaving I heard her telling my son to ” please remember to keep the Brie in the fridge ” and my son said “yes, I will do it” She came back three days later to find the Brie rotting on the table and she was pissed.

Should I get offended because she thinks my son is a pig? Nah. My son is messy. If she can make him get his acts together and keep his things clean and tidy, I am all for it.

I know I sound a bit bitchy about my son’s gf. I am not. I adore her. However, I do find the role of an ammai amma a bit hard to play. I wish there was an ammai amma school where I could go and learn few skills.

As for my daughters, I was surprised to see that they do all they can to make my son’s gf a part of their lives. Yaya summed¬† up her brother’s relationship perfectly. She calls it a microwave relationship. According to her, a relationship is like¬† Christmas ham in an oven, it gets cooked on a low heat over a very long period of time, till it is done to perfection. According to her, a microwave relationship is the one where no one has the patience¬† and rush the relationship like cooking food in the microwave.

And that is that

Minefield

I know I have not been updating the blog. I had a week off and went to do the Bibbulmun track in Western Australia. I am tired and sun burnt, but my soul is at peace.

And today I thought I would write about the minefield my son is traversing at the moment.

Before we go any further, I want to mention that when I was his age, all I ever wanted was someone to love me. I grew up wanting to be loved because no one in my family cared about me. Sometime ago, there was this thing everyone did, write a letter to the 17 year old you. If I did that, I would have told myself, it is ok to look for love, but check first if the guy is worthy of your love and also mind the expiry date of your relationship. When I look back and think of the days I shed tears for the guy who broke my heart, I would tell my old self that I really had a lucky break. There indeed is a guardian angel that kept me safe from living a terrible life with a guy who was not worthy of my love. What I was trying to say was that, when I was young, I was all out to please the guy because all I wanted was to be loved. Clearly I was an idiot.

And now I watch this relationship my son has ,going through various stages.

My son is attending Chemistry bridging class at the moment from 8.30 to 5 pm and after that works from 5.30 to 9,30 pm. He came to pick me up from the airport few days ago in the evening and in order to do that he had to take time off from his  work. He also went to pick up his gf from work and she did an 8 hour shift that day. I was too tired to cook, so we ordered a pizza. After dinner, my son went on to play the xbox (first time in about 8 weeks) and the gf who was exhausted from her work slept off laying down on the couch.

Next morning, I heard this argument where the gf was accusing my son for ‘not paying enough attention to her and ignoring her and¬† for playing xbox”

I heard my son reply, “i thought you wanted to rest, especially after an 8 hour shift at work”

They argued back and forth and there was no clear winner.

I didn’t say anything because it is not something that concerned me.

But I do know that my son will have tough time if he doesn’t learn what a woman wants.. and I guess this is a good learning experience for him. I just hope he won’t come out as a cynic at the end.