Today, my eldest celebrates her 12th birthday. I celebrate my 12th anniversary of motherhood.
12 years! How far the both of us have come.
The beautiful baby is now a young girl with a mind of her own, who will not hesitate to roll her eyes up to the heaven when mummy’s nagging channel comes on air. She exhibits every characteristic of a pre-teen: ignoring every call to pack up her stuff, embarrassed that her mummy wants to kiss goodbye in front of her school gate, demanding for freedom to go out with her friends, upset that her phone does not have an “I” in its name…
Yet, beneath it all, she is still that beautiful baby I hugged for the first time 12 years ago.
Her heart is full of love for her family. She hugs me when I come home from work. She nags if her father is working late again. She helps to bathe the 3-yo. And despite all her “who cares”, I see in her a sense of responsibility and what’s right vs what’s wrong. She strives to do her best in her studies. She calls me, on days when she had to walk home from school herself, the moment she reaches home. Oh, and she helps to throw the rubbish.
12 years. How I’ve changed.
I learnt how to change diapers, clean up vomit and soothe a nightmare. I learnt to sleep less. I learnt to wash, cook, sweep and mop.
I learnt to look strong, even though my heart is in complete shambles. I learnt not to panic, even when the fever shoots up to 39.5 degree. I learnt to laugh at myself and ignore the looks of others when I’m out with a toddler who has chosen to wear a party-perfect dress with slippers. I learnt to look at the bright side of things.
Yet many a times…
I lose it when the puberty-related hormones snap at me.
I behave like a sore loser and refuse to talk to her after a fight.
I cry when I feel unappreciated.
I forget the Calm Voice and start screaming.
Maybe, it’ll be another 12 years before I learn how to smile serenely when greeted with an ugly stare and slamming of the bedroom door. Maybe not.
“Mothers are all slightly insane.”
– J. D. Salinger
Today, we celebrate a birthday and a milestone.