Tomorrow

It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow.

It’s going to be a very different sort of celebration as we’re still confined by the conditions of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is still ongoing in Malaysia, at least till the end of the month (or longer, depending on what the government decides).

I am a mixture of feelings. Generally speaking, a tangled mess of emotions.

First of all, we haven’t really done much to prepare for this occasion. (We barely made it to shop for some simple birthday gifts today).

Secondly, I feel sorry for my son, because he will not be getting the usual round of celebrations that most family birthdays call for: A meal with grandparents, a private celebration with us at home, and a birthday bash at school with his classmates and teachers.

All of that… not happening this time around.

He just has us. And we have him. (Oh, and our youngest son too, of course).

He isn’t complaining though. He’s already told us what kind of cake he wants and in what theme. He is at ease, confident, that having made his requests, it would be fulfilled in some measure tomorrow. He knows there will be a present, but even then, he didn’t make any specific demands about it.

He isn’t doubting in any way that there will be some form of birthday party tomorrow. Though, of course, my husband, our youngest son and I will be the only ones in attendance.

I guess at this young age he is still content with simple things.

Perhaps I shouldn’t despair as much as I am doing, and ought to laugh it off the way he does most of the time.

My crazy, happy-go-lucky boy version of Winnie The Pooh turns five tomorrow.

Maybe I should just let that be enough for now.

Never mind the new job that I’m barely coping with, and the mayhem and mess all throughout the home, and the fact that we are still uncertain about many things in the near future.

Tomorrow. I’ll have it all together tomorrow.

Measure of days

My two sons within arm’s reach.

Here I am sitting in a parked car at McD’s with the engine on. My two sons are asleep in the backseat, and so is my husband, who is in the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile, I am savouring whatever remains of my very late lunch.

It is 4.27pm.

Such has been our family’s lifestyle of late.

We have not been eating at regular times. We eat whenever everyone becomes hungry. During the meals where we cook, we get to eat whenever we manage to finish getting the food prepared. Which is often late too.

These days, my husband is at home with us every day. He decided to quit his job abruptly, just before our second son was born. It was not an ideal choice. And it was certainly not the best season for our family to have this happening either.

But this he did, and of course, having discussed it with me beforehand. I metaphorically grit my teeth back then, saying it would be better he left his difficult situation at work than to be stressed out managing work challenges at a time such as this.

Anyway, here we are. He has been without work for the past 3 months or so.

It’s an ongoing worry on our heads, no doubt.

I ended my self declared maternity leave prematurely just to ensure we could get some extra income from a job opportunity that came up. This is not what I would have liked, as I had wanted to be able to focus my attention on just loving the boys and being available to them at this time without the complications of dividing myself between work and them.

But what needs to be done needs to be done. And even with this going on, we still are not making up for my husband’s loss of income.

We have some money to keep afloat for now, but it will not be for long. We still have not yet worked out a concrete plan for the next few months.

So far, bills are still able to be paid. But will we reach a point where we fail to? God only knows.

There isn’t much that gets done every day, even with both of us adults at home. Most times, it’s just about getting the minimal amount of chores done, meals cooked and keeping the kids alive through those daily routines of baths, naps, etc.

On the surface, I guess you could say there is nothing at all magical about our day-to-day affairs.

I don’t know how to put it without sounding too whimsical or unrealistically optimistic, but somehow to me these days are special.

Every day is a countdown to a reality which I will eventually have to face one day: That my boys will grow up and go about their own lives, probably apart from me.

And until that day comes, I cherish every one of these seemingly ordinary days. Each with their own share of chaos and their own sparkle of tiny battles and victories. Laughter and memories.

I also especially treasure the fact that my husband is present 24/7 for the boys at this time too.

I don’t know how to make this last, but if I can, I want it to.

I’d like the whole family together. And I hope we can find a way to make this work, yet to have everyone happy too while also not dying of poverty.

I’ll tell this story if you will listen.

And I’ll look forward to (as I hope you will) that happy ending that is just around the bend. Fingers crossed.

Glimmer

Grey
Monotonous melodies
Permeating tepid atmospheres
Of meaning and mistakes
Big breaks, gargantuan falls
Grace, soft and tender
Lining clouds of thunderous tempest
Unheard, unseen
Angels aplenty
Unsteady, hoping
For better things
Brighter rays to illuminate faded portraits
Of perfection, perplexity
Animosity, confusion
Dissolution
Dilution of truth
If not for a tiny glimmer;
Undying truth
Amidst constant love
Faith to last
Emergent and extraordinary
Just faint reflections
Where, when, how yet unknown
Mysteries whisper
Eternal, unchanging realities
Enough to light skies ominous
Reach into hearts of stone
Just when you thought it’s an end of itself —
Hope reaches in
And breathes life once again.

*Dedicated to all who wait in hope and those who’ve lost the plot, but not the faith.

Provision

Life, it seems, is this odd collection of events, jumbled together in seemingly random combinations.

Just when I think I’m finally about to get a breather and play catch-up with things I’ve been neglecting for too long, something new springs up and my attention is diverted again.

For once, I actually managed to get my work done way ahead of schedule. And so I thought I’d have this considerable amount of time to get the home organised and perhaps, even be able to indulge in some hobbies for awhile.

But alas, something evil lurks about in the background. Well, somewhat.

I get a new ad-hoc request for work. My son falls sick and has to skip school.

My life is topsy turvy once again. Goodbye, plans.

I ought to get back to bed soon. I fell asleep not intending to earlier, and then was awakened twice in between all that by my son, who is currently running a fever.

I had a shower after we took his temperature and gave him meds. And now I’ve just finished having a midnight snack (way past midnight, really) of air fried frozen nuggets and lettuce with Kewpie sesame dressing. Listened to some new music via Facebook and indulged my curiosity for a bit in the singing couple, Us The Duo, who are currently doting over their firstborn infant.

Ah, why do so many women look so gorgeous post delivery and during the first year of their newborn’s life? I remember looking worse than crap and feeling pretty much the same too. I was stumped on what to wear, and struggled to locate breastfeeding friendly clothes from my wardrobe (didn’t really want to spend unnecessarily on nursing wear, so tried my best to use what I have). My hair was pretty much in a bun most of the time, unless I finally chopped more than half of it off in an attempt to simplify grooming (which I clearly had no time to do, especially in that first year of parenthood).

I guess I don’t expect to feel any better when #2 makes his/her entrance into the world. Only good thing is, as my ob/gyn says, I have the benefit of experience now. So I know what to expect, more or less. Ha.

International Women’s Day has just passed lately and being a Work-At-Home Mum (WAHM), there was no employer to surprise me with flowers or delightful treats at my (non-existent) work desk. In fact, I spent last Friday mostly working in a silent home while being grateful that I actually could find the time to work because my son could attend preschool that day as his flu seemed to be getting better. (It has since morphed into a cough and fever. Bah.)

Anyway, social media reminded me through the many posts of others that this significant day was being commemorated. So it made me think for a moment about my womanhood and how it has been so far.

In some ways, it’s sad to think that I had to choose to become a WAHM because my former employer had no options available for me to explore in terms of more flexible work arrangements. Perhaps it might have been different for my career had I been able to remain a journalist in some form or measure while raising my young son. But that was not to be.

So ultimately, being a Mum came with certain choices that needed to be made. Essentially, this is part of being a woman too. As much as men sometimes like to belittle the female gender saying we harp too much on gender equality and all that, the truth is sometimes that we do have a different set of life circumstances dealt to us just because we are female. And we do need every bit of support we can get from others (men included) to help make it possible for us to become the best people we can be. And to not let being a woman become a hindrance in any way.

Just my two cents.

On another matter, I am marvelling at how God is graciously providing for us during this pregnancy so far. I am thankful for a uni friend who so happens to be also pregnant at this time (our EDDs are like just weeks apart, with me being in the lead). We are both also expecting our second child, so that makes our experiences pretty similar in nature. This makes me feel not so alone in my journey.

I remember I had a similar situation last time during my first pregnancy with Jamie. A friend I knew from my days in iBridge (a Christian ministry to support young adults who are just entering the workforce) and I were pregnant with EDDs that were also just weeks apart.

It was cool. We shared so much with each other throughout our pregnancies, and we also discussed so much together throughout the first year of our parenthood experience. (However, things changed rapidly moving from then onwards, and we haven’t been as much in touch as before – but that is a tale for another time).

These are just little stuff, but it really does help.

Got plenty more things to be worried about this pregnancy (costs of healthcare being one), but I’m trying my hardest to take things one step at a time.

Meanwhile, I am also thinking a lot about whether I am doing enough to bring out the potential in my eldest child. I have seen him grow so much in the past few months, and I’ve never been prouder. But I also know there’s going to be a lot of changes ahead for him. I wonder whether we will be able to help him navigate through this season well.

Guess I have to trust that God will provide for us in every way, be it in terms of physical needs or even the emotional/mental/spiritual aspects of this part of our family’s journey. He has been faithful all throughout past seasons, of course, so I have literally no excuse to believe that things would be any different now.

(Small note: The image you see at the start of the post is my son’s masterpiece of arranging magnetic music notes on my old music board which my Mum kept since my preschool days lol).

Goody two shoes

This post is for all those out there who have chosen to do good. To be good. The ones who deliberately choose to walk the straight and narrow path. Those who get labelled things like “Miss Goody Two Shoes” or “boring”, “unadventurous” and much more.

I hope this post inspires you.

* * *

Here is my confession. I am that boring, predictable, good girl. I have always been.

This is not to say I have never had rebellious moments. Or that I have never made mistakes. I certainly have. But I’m the kind who generally errs on the side of caution. I do my best to avoid trouble.

And trouble generally didn’t bother looking for me either. I guess I was not worthy? Heh.

Anyway, I am writing this post today because I believe that there is a good enough reason for you to stick with your convictions if you are anything like me.

Some people may dismiss you as being dull or “no fun”, but look beyond that, and you will see there truly are rewards for striving to maintain innocence or to live by the righteous code that you believe in.

First off, I am a Christian, and have been so pretty much my whole life. My parents are church leaders, so like it or not, that has influenced my life in a big way. Of course, there came particular junctures in my life where I needed to decide for myself what my own beliefs would be, and I did. But mostly I stayed the course that I started off on because I saw the benefits of it.

Now, you may or may not come from a similar background as I do. In fact, you may even have a very different set of spiritual beliefs or moral code from the rest of your family or those you are close to.

But the thing is, there is a purpose for good in this world. For being kind, compassionate, upholding the truth and all other upright values. And God sees what we do, even when others don’t. And it is worth it.

One of the Bible passages that I remember learning as a child was that of Psalm 1. In it, there are the following words:

“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

– Psalm 1:6

Sometimes, nobody comes back to tell you how they were impacted by something good you did. But there are times that they do. And I have seen how it inspires someone else when we do good.

Another part of Psalm 1 goes like this:

“He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither,

And whatever he does shall prosper.”

– Psalm 1:3

I don’t know about you, but haters and spiteful people aside, generally choosing to do good only brings about positive effects. Not just to benefit the people around you, but it profits you as well in the long run.

The constant good you do eventually builds up into something big, even beyond what we may ever be able to imagine. Our actions, as people say, define us, and when we act righteously, we build a solid reputation for ourselves. And that opens doors to great things.

It gives us a platform to speak where people will listen. It opens up opportunities for work, relationships that may not exist otherwise. And it is because of the character we choose to develop within ourselves.

Of course, we do not always get it right. And we may not always have the right attitudes or perspectives. But we ought to keep trying. I certainly believe it is always worthwhile.

I wish I could think of a specific incident in my life to share with you right now to convince you of this, but I can’t think of one. (I will certainly write about it again if one comes to mind). All I can say though is that my whole life’s journey thus far has definitely proven to me personally that this is a choice worth making about the way I live.

I hope you will find it to be just as rewarding a decision too.