I have come to see that quite a lot of things that make up who we are were actually embedded deep into our souls very early on in our lives.
For instance, my love for cooking, sewing and all manner of homely habits undoubtedly was a result of the influences of both my Mum and grandmother.
Back in the days when I was a kid, I would often have the chance to see both of them at work in the kitchen. I hardly understood most of what they were doing, but I guess some of the mechanics of it did latch onto me and I sometimes find myself recalling now, many years later in life, some of the things they would do.
My sister and I were greatly blessed through the many delicious dishes we savoured thanks to my Mum and Mama’s skillful culinary abilities. Some of Mama’s dishes which I really loved were nasi kunyit and chicken curry, nasi dagang and rendang, and a sweet two layered kuih we referred to as Ban Tng (to this day, I don’t know anyone else who knows how to make this and can’t even find it in any stores).
My Mum had her own specialties too. I liked her renditions of spaghetti bolognese, chicken stew, and a nameless potato and chicken dish similar to the Nyonya pong teh.
I was also privileged to be the recipient of their various sewing projects. Mama would sew countless sets of pyjamas for both my sister and I. She did this for years, right up until the days of my teens. (In fact, my Mum recently informed me that Mama had actually even sewn baby clothes for me. I, of course, do not remember any of that.)
Somewhere along the line though, Mama eventually had to stop sewing pyjamas for us because it had gotten difficult for her to do fine needlework with her hands as she had lost sensitivity in her fingertips.
My Mum, too, in attempts to save money during the years of economic downturn, sewed dresses for me. Not only that, she went the extra mile and even made additional matching accessories to go along with the dresses such as a bag, hat or hairband. Perhaps some other spoilt child might have been ashamed to wear such simple clothes sewn by their own parent, but I loved them.
Over the years, my Mum also often took it upon herself to repair many of my clothes that suffered minor problems through wear and tear. This ranged from issues such as buttons falling off to holes in pants to stitches coming loose at odd places in the fabric.
Now, having been married myself, with our very own home to manage and a child on the way, I find myself drawn to these simple domestic activities even more than ever.
Homemade meals are among the proudest moments that my husband and I share (we often cook together in the kitchen).
And thanks to my generous sister’s gift to me for my wedding, I now own a sewing machine of my very own which I love very much. I only wish I had had one earlier in my life. I have dozens of unfinished sewing projects, but I do try to pick up on them whenever I can afford to.
All in all, I just love most things that are related to home, including mundane things like doing chores. I absolutely love it when the home is squeaky clean and the place smells of floor cleaners and every form of household cleaner you can think of.
To be honest, I can literally be at home all day and just feel tremendously happy. It is my refuge and place of peace and happiness.
And I owe all of these inclinations to the women who went before me in my family line.
Deric and I were told there’s a possibility that our baby is a girl. If that is true, I certainly hope I will be able to pass on this love for the domestic front to her as well. It’s getting rarer these days, and I’d hate to see it lost forever in our bloodline.