I am sure I have told my three children already (now 24, 21 and 16 years old), but it doesn't hurt to have it down on paper (is this paper?) before it all starts to go...my memory that is.
What a joy it was to have all three of you. None of you was an accident, a mistake, or a regret.
Joni - how your Daddy wanted a girl for a first child! And there you were, all 8pounds 6 ounces of you. As red as a lobster you were.
No....that doesn't look like you...hmmmm.. See why I have to put all this down on record somewhere as my memory starts to go?
Actually, you were all red and crumpled up like the lasagna we had last night.
And how you turned our world upside down! How any first-born turns an adult's world upside down! Joni, at probably a couple of months old.
We actually do not have a good close-up photo of newborn Joni.
As I was nursing you, I remember being overwhelmed with the idea that this little bundle of a living thing was totally dependent on me to give it sustenance. That was scary! And I remember waking up several times in the middle of the night just to check if you were still breathing.
I remember how two weeks short of your three year old birthday, you won 2nd prize in a kids' singing competition in church.
One of the three judges nearly fell off his seat, all teary-eyed, flushed and holding on to his tummy for dear life cos he was tickled pink as you sang:
In the house and out of doors
Washing shoes and scrubbing floors
Cleaning, ironing, brewing tea
Sometimes making cha-pa-ti !
I do it all for Jesus
I do it all for Jesus
I do it all for Jesus
He did so much for me!
And two and a half years after you were born, came Darren - oh my! It's a boy!
How perfect! I know I tease that I wondered if you were really mine, what with all the horror baby-exchange stories that we'd heard happening in hospitals. But those eyes that you inherited from your Chinese grandma....it does make one unsure.
Darren, a couple of days old
How Joni was thrilled to bits when we brought you home from the hospital. She sang "One little Indian bo-o-oy, one little Indian boy!" (to the tune of Ten Little Indian Boys) all the way home!
Joni, with her precious little brother (see that protective hand there?)
And how innovative she was to open up the wardrobe drawers so she could climb up each drawer using it as a step so she could get a clean diaper for you.
Joni and Darren (see that protective hand there?)
Joni and Darren (see that protec......ok, ok, you get the picture)
How you loved/love to eat, young man. Feeding you was no problem at all as you'd wildly flail your arms about for me to feed you faster and you'd be done with your porridge within five minutes.
And six years after Darren,
oops. wrong pictures.
A cutie pie girl! The easiest baby of all, in terms of caring for. My alarm-clock baby who'd wake up on the dot for feeds and no in-between stirrings. At least that's what I remember.
How Joni and Darren wanted to feed you from the first day you got home. "Just a little bit of bread, Mommy, can, just a beeeeeet?" And you were carefully transferred from one to the other cos they couldn't have enough of you!
Yeah, Mother's Day is a good day to reminisce. A great day to ponder, observe, be in awe.
Has it been a joy all the way? Nope. It has been many nights crying in the darkness, too.
At one ladies' gathering, as the speaker, I shared how sometimes you make me so frustrated I'd harboured thoughts (not seriously, of course) of selling you off to the glass-bottle recycling man on his bicycle.
And that started an avalanche! The other ladies started to tell of how sometimes they'd had similar horrible thoughts, too. And how relieved they were to hear they were not alone.
Let's just say I didn't feel so bad after that either (especially when one mother said her thoughts had had been to flush her kid down the toilet! ummmm...not very maternal thoughts, huh?)
Have you grown up to be the best kids? No. But I'm not exactly the best mother, either.
Do you sometimes hurt me with your words and actions? Yes. But I do that to you, too.
But forgiveness has to reign. And unconditional love. And longsuffering. See that protective hand there? Yep, that's what it's about. Kids always teach us.
Aunty Wei Ling: Joanna, your baby brother is so cute! I'll take him home, ok?
Joni, to Mum, indignantly: Mummy, put Darren back into your stomach lah!
Joni, helping to wipe the windows..
Mum, did God make DIRT?
(Joni, fashion guru. Even way back then)
Joni: Mummy, you shouldn't wear that brown dress with the squares, you know.
Joni: Because that one is only for old ladies - like Granny.
(Dad, giving Joni a bath)
Joni: Oooo...so cold lah, Daddy.
Dad: Yes, it's chilly today.
Joni: But chilli is hot!
Dad: No, chilly is cold.
Joni: No, chilli is hot!
Darren, concentrating hard while 'changing ' chords on guitar:
Darren (to himself): C!
Fingers move, then: C1! (meantime, Mum's starting to wonder if there's such a chord)
A little later: C2! (now Mum's sure there isn't)
Then looks around and exclaims:
No wonder! Mummmmmmmm....where's the pickle?* *pick
Darren: Mum, ants are very hardworking, right?
Mum: Yes, they are.
Darren: Then why do we kill them?
Darren: Mum, Lionel doesn't know the name of the thing where the dead person is put into, you
know. He said 'box'.
Mum: Oh, (do enlighten me) what is it then?
Darren: I told him it's a *cafe. *coffin
So, with failing memory and before I go to my "cafe", I have found my purpose to plod on, despite great difficulty, heartache, discouragement and frustrations, to continue slogging...oops. I mean blogging.
oops. wrong picture again. can't be me.
(cos we didn't have baby potties back then)
and I'm sure it's not one of my kids.
(cos their potty was blue)