Before married and be a mother, what I know from my mother is that she is a truly tiger mom. She always push me harder and harder and harder, for me to always be the best, to gain excellence marks in primary school which means 100, not less than that, in everything like exam mark, assignment, even homework. She pushes me to always be the first. She always gave me unbelievable targets every single day. I almost spent the whole time going to school, to English course, to additional course at night, studying, studying, and studying, over and over. She threw my favourite comic books into the trash. She made me feel a very big failure when I was not able to pass the university exam. When I lost my motorcycle, she said I am so irresponsible and she was so disappoint at me. It hurts of course, especially when I was a child and during my teen age. If I have done something good or great, it is taken for granted. One time mistake, or failure, and she makes me feel like a looser. Or disaster. And those punishments she gave me. Again, when I was pregnant and almost lost my baby, she said straight to me stop crying and be strong, face it! The sad thing is I felt I never really that close to her, because she always very hard to me and we had several big fight and hard times. She is strong, very discipline, rarely cry, very focus on what she’s doing, on her target, very strict in what is right or wrong and she forbid me to some things I like. She wants me to be the best at all times and she had a very high standard and target for me. That’s why I called her a tiger mom.
What I realized, later, after I became a mother, is slightly different from what I see as a child. I know when I become a mother, I become aware, especially to things that might harm or hurt my child. That’s why a mother become worried and more worried about her children. I myself easily panic if something happen to my son. I am afraid, scared and terrified every time my son tries new things. And because of that, a mother forbids her children not to do this and that. She wants her child to be safe.
My mother wants me to study more and more so that I become diligent. But on the other hand, I do nothing. I don’t have to help her to finish the daily domestic stuffs. She provides me everything I need. I remember she has rough, reddish and cracked hands. I always said to her to do skin care or whatever. Now I know since I have the same type of hands, because when I cook sometimes the hot oil spills and make my skin reddish. When I do these laundry things, my hands are getting dry and cracked. I realize my mother’s hands are proof of hard things she done the whole time for her family. And why do I leave my skin that way? Because I have no time. If I have any spare time, I prefer to have a rest.
What I found out more after I am big enough to realize is that my mother had a very hard childhood time. She had to work to help her parents provide food, clothes, even money for her younger sisters and brothers (she has 3 sisters and 3 brothers). After my grandfather died, my parents had to help my mother’s family to survive, to put the younger sister/brothers to school, and so on, even for their marriage. She said she didn’t have time to study, that’s why she didn’t have high education. This is the things she doesn’t want for her children. She wants me to study, to become diligent, to have higher education, and she is so proud of me. She always has faith in me. She never said that to me, but she said that to other people. I knew because these people told me. She wants me to be success and have a prosperous and happy life.
The most shocking fact that I know is when I was pregnant. I almost lost my baby so I had to stick on my bed (do bed rest) for about three months. During these hard times, my mother was always beside me. She is the one who provide meal, accompany me, she even help me to bath every day. She said to me to be strong, but I heard she cries when she pray. She asked Allah to take care of me, to grant her little daughter with health and happiness. Somehow it breaks my heart, until now.
That’s the changing moment I think. Now I know exactly that sometimes she scared, but she kept her worries and cries only when she prays. Now I know she’s not that really strong inside, but she pretend to be strong for her family and her children. I know she loves me, so much, with her own way. I know she cares, even when I grow up, become a mature woman, get married and be a mother. Of course, she is human, with strength and weakness. But for now I learn to love and accept her just the way she is. Now I know how it feels to be a mother, the challenge and difficulties, and I think I can understand her.
And today, is her special day. I am not there at her side to congratulate and accompany her. I can’t give her presents and bring her out for dinner. I am here, far away, still to wish her happy birthday, and pray to Allah to grant her health and happiness every day, ease her steps and smooth all of her matters, to give her a blessed, prosperous and peaceful life and to surround her with love of her family.
Happy birthday, Mom. I miss you. I love you.
From your little girl, always.