Sunday, May 20, 2007

Becoming Mother

Mum used to have this habit of working on her sewing machine between all her essential chores (buying food from the fresh market, cooking lunch, serving lunch, cooking up the fatty leftovers from my father's market stall into lard -- very popular with the char kway teow sellers -- and going to the bank to bank his takings and getting his float ready for the following day) and cooking the evening meal.

When I say 'sewing' I don't mean anything fanciful. Mum used to cut up tiny bits of scrap cloth into rectangles. She would then match these up in size, roughly, and pile them up. Then she sat at her treadle sewing machine to sew these bits two by two together into a long, long line, not cutting the thread in between to save on thread.

If two bits did not fit together nicely after sewing, they were trimmed into a rectangle.

Now armed with larger rectangles, she again arranged these bits two by two together again into a neat pile. She would then sew another long line of rectangles together. This process was repeated ad infinitum until she has two large madly 'quilted' sheets together.

The two sheets were sewn together and voila! we had a new blanket with the perfect weight for hot and humid Singapore!

She had so many of these at one point they were taken to an old people's home where they were received with much gratitude.

O, I have digressed. I meant to say: At 5pm sharp, she tidied everything away to prepare the evening meal. The rice will be put on to cook at 5.30pm and dinner would be ready at about 6pm.

Recently I found myself doing virtually the same. Not with making lard from fatty leftovers, but working on chores, the websites, the accounts, the marketing, etc, getting orders ready for despatch, going to the bank to bank cheques, etc, picking son up from school.

He's allowed some time to 'chill' in front of the TV at some point. But by about 5.30pm, I down tools and concentrate on getting the evening meal -- which is the only meal the family has together on a week day.

Some time ago my brother (who works in the UK) visited and I had to take out my sewing box to repair something.

He laughed: "That's just like Mum!"

Yeah, a little metal biscuit box holding all sorts of bibs and bobs, scissors, etc, different coloured threads, buttons of all colours and sizes, for all the little sewing jobs.

Husband despairs sometimes seeing the things I hoard because I am sure these things could be reused. He has never experienced 'want' as I did, and finds it quite hard to understand.

The other fascinating phenomenon is our faces.

My eldest sister is beginning to look just like Mum. Second sister is looking more like Eldest Sister. Third Sister is looking -- hmm -- they always said my looks resembled Third Sister the most. Not any more. I'm more like Second Sister.

So, yes, in a few years' time, I will look just like Mum.

Becoming Mother. It happens to all of us.

Back to Organic-Ally.

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