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According to Edrick, my bedroom is the ‘coolest’ room in our home. Yeah, my air-conditioner is working much better than all the Yorks in this unit. So here he was, in my cool room playing with his iPad but obviously busy thinking.

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Edrick: Mommy, can I ask you a question?

Mommy: Sure, Monch. Ask away.

Edrick: But it is not going to sound so good.

Mommy: Oh? Okay… try me.

Edrick: If you have two choices of who you’re going to date: one – with the man you loved before, and two – with a new guy… which one are you going to choose?

Mommy: Oh boy! This is tough. But where is this coming from?

Edrick: It’s just a question, Mom.

Mommy: Oh all right. Well… who is this man I loved before? You mean Daddy?

Edrick: Yeah, that man.

Mommy: But I thought we all know he’s not interested in me anymore?

Edrick: Yeah, but what if that man wants to  try again with you, Mom?

Mommy: Oh my, you don’t sound like an eight-year old, Edrick. This is tough for an adult like me.

Edrick: It’s just a question, Mom.

Mommy: I know. Okay, and who is this new guy that is to be my other choice?

Edrick: I don’t know, you tell me.

Mommy: Hmmmm… what do you think? Who would you recommend?

Edrick: I think you should go for choice number one.

Mommy: You mean with Daddy?

Edrick: Yeah, with that man.

Mommy: But he has somebody else now. You know it, and I know it.

Edrick: Okay Mom, go for some other guy then. Somebody totally new.

Mommy: What if I want to go out on a date with YOU?

Edrick: But I am only eight years old, Mom. And I’m your son. You don’t date your son!

Mommy: That’s why you don’t ask me this kind of question, my son. It’s complicated.

Edrick: Okay Mom. It’s really up to you.

Mommy: I know. But I don’t have time to bercinta.

Edrick: What’s bercinta?

Mommy: You have to learn Bahasa to know it.

Edrick: Awwwwwww pickle!

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He is on his way...

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To Feel No More

What hurts the most...Enida:
Jatuh kat sekolah. But there are two stories that cut deeper than her wounds. One is about her class teacher that has been calling her names, like ‘Blur’. And the other is about Daddy who has just ‘disappeared’. Well, not just disappeared disappeared. She said Daddy is just gone now. And she doesn’t have that feeling of how a daughter would feel for her dad anymore. It’s gone, she said. She cried for many kilometers. But she’s okay.

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KaCher:
Oh dear. She will be okay.

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Enida:
Oh she will. Sedih sangat for her. It feels like losing our Mom all over again for me. But it makes me more determined.

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KaCher:
Those people who don’t add to our value in life don’t matter anyway. They just make it easier to choose just who we can’t live without, instead.

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Enida:
Sangat! And I think Kitreena is learning to let go. That’s what hurts the most. Letting go tu. I asked her specifically if she wants to spend some time with Daddy this summer. I can let her go and visit Daddy. But she said no. She just doesn’t want to see Daddy anymore. Sebab dia kata it was painful the last time he was here. She realized that she has grown and Daddy stays the same. And every time Daddy sent an email, everything was about him. He never asked how she was doing and what was going on in her life. And now Daddy doesn’t write or call anymore.

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At this point, saya yang nangis berkilometer-kilometer kadalla. That is so her Daddy. It is always about him.

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I continued driving through the mountains with Monchies feeling that luka lama that I thought I could feel no more.

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Go To Yell

Luka di tangan nampak berdarah...

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It just wasn’t her day. Kitreena forgot to bring her violin to school, and so she went straight to the music room just like what she had been doing the whole of last week, to wait for me to bring the violin. When she called me from the music teacher’s phone, I gave her a hard time for not setting it out by the door like usual. But I came back to school anyway, with her violin.

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Her class teacher came to the music room after Kitreena called me (as I was told later that Friday) and scolded her for being ‘blur’. Kitreena was ‘supposed’ to be in her class – although it had been okay for her to be practicing her orchestra on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (and not having to be in her homeroom). She felt embarrassed and offended, to say the least, being yelled and shouted at by Ms. S in front of everyone in her orchestra. I have heard stories of her being yelled at in her classroom, but this time it wasn’t in front of her other friends who are used to being yelled at.

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And on top of all that… Kitreena fell during recess. Though much of the pain is self chosen, I knew the pain on her knees and elbows was nothing compared to being humiliated by her own teacher for something very trivial. And what was with the name-calling and scolding students for being ‘blur’? Is it not a teacher’s job to clarify rules to the children and to remind them when they forget? I was not going to defend my child for her tendency for being confused. But the yelling and shouting was beyond me.

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I am going to school this Thursday for the parent-teacher meeting. And someone who has been yelling and humiliating not only my child but many other eleven-year-old children, damaging their self-esteem in the process, is so going to have a professional slap on the wrist from me. And from the Principal. I do not send my kids to an international school to be yelled at and embarrassed by an incompetent English teacher who pronounces the word silhouette as sil-how-tea. Na’ah!

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Watch me.

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My Rhythm and Blues

Kitreena has been learning to play ‘Getaran Jiwa’ on her violin these two weeks without the musical notes from Mr. Rudy. I actually like that method, as it encourages Kitreena to play by ear. And Mr. Rudy is only giving out two lines per week. My violinist, who is not overly familiar with the song, has not been able to play the whole song every time she practices it.

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So I took the liberty to jot down the notes by slowly ‘pecking’ it on the keyboard. And after not playing any instrument for many many years, last night Kitreena and I spent over an hour duetting on Getaran Jiwa.

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I thank God for music and for the violinist and the pianist in my house who have made it all worth it. All.

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What Do We Do?

The story needs no introduction. I started seeing his pictures the morning of June 21st. I started reading and looking for more news on him on the very same day. But it wasn’t until the midnight of June 22nd that I cried my heart out when I saw a video on how he was found… abandoned.

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My very first thought was on what I could do to help the poor child. And my second thought was that there must have been a reason for the abandonment. The third thought was, I wasn’t there when whatever happened, happened. I didn’t help. I didn’t know. I didn’t care for what I didn’t know. So I shut my mouth up and kept on weeping.

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Now that I know there are people who do need help, what do I do? What do I want to do? I dare not tell Monchies this heart-wrenching story yet, for I have no answer if they asked, “What do we do, Mom?”

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For all single-mothers out there, may God grant us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.

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"Every child has feelings." ~ Genius Aulad

“Every child has feelings. “
~ Genius Aulad
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On the way home from school on a Monday afternoon, after waiting for Kitreena’s orchestra practice…

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Edrick: Mom, we have to have goals in our life.

Mommy: That’s right. You’re not talking about soccer, are you?

Edrick: No, that’s a different kind of goal. I mean… you have to have goals for yourself.

Mommy: Yes you do, and what are your goals, Edrick?

Edrick: I have two goals, Mom. Goal number one is to go to heaven when I die. And goal number two is to have a good job in this life. I want to have a job that can give me at least ten thousand dollars a month.

Mommy: Oh wow! I like your goals, Monch! *starts to look at her own goals now*

Edrick: Oh Mom, and I mean ten thousand dollars okay. Not ringgit.

Mommy: Okay, sure. And that is Canadian dollars eh?

Edrick: Yeah. Or maybe I can win a competition or a contest that gives me ten thousand dollars.

Mommy: But why do you want to win a contest? You don’t know if you are going to be lucky.

Edrick: No, I mean for my age now. That’s all I can do. I can’t get a job yet. I am only 8 and a half.

Mommy: Okay Edrick. All the best! But maybe you should focus on your job now, and that is to do well at school.

Edrick: I am, Mom.

Mommy: But I like your goal number one too, you know.

Edrick: I know.

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I peeked at his reflection on the rear-view mirror, and I could see him smiling.

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Happy Father’s Day, Enida.

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Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven...

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Lest We Ever Forget

There was a leak in the ceiling of the kids’ bedroom that left Kitreena’s pillow soaked in rainwater. The gutter on the roof was acting up again. So I moved Monchies to the guest bedroom. Yes, both of them. Edrick is nowhere near the stage of sleeping alone in a room, yet.

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A little later than their usual 7:30pm bedtime, and a new sleeping arrangement… Monchies wanted me to stay a while with them in the high queen-size bed. So I stayed for a while, answering all the ‘Mom-do-you-remember’ questions from Edrick.

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Then, Kitreena requested, “Mom, could you sing us the Greensleeves song, please? You haven’t sung us to sleep for soooo long!”

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And I sang…

Alas, my love, you do me wrong
to cast me off discourteously
and I have loved you oh so long
delighting in your company

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight
Greensleeves was my heart of gold
and who but My Lady Greensleeves

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Kitreena: Mom… what happened to Lady Greensleeves in the end?

Mommy: She went to bed and fell asleep immediately. Or otherwise she would do her Mommy wrong.

Kitreena: Hahaha Mommmmmm! *giggles giggles*

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I went to her side of the bed for a big hug. And when she held on to me a little too tightly, longer than usual… I knew I had to keep her in my arms longer than usual too. Then, as expected, came the “I-miss-Daddy” part. I cupped her face and looked her in the eyes. Her face was lit by the courtyard light through the balcony.

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Kitreena: But Daddy did you wrong!

Mommy: No he didn’t, sweetheart. Whatever Daddy did, he actually let ME do the right thing for myself.

Kitreena: How is that?

Mommy: It was good that I knew what he did, you know. Otherwise I would be staying with a man who doesn’t love me enough… for the rest of my life.

Kitreena: But what Daddy did was not nice.

Mommy: Let’s just hope he is happy doing what he is doing, shall we?

Kitreena: But how can he forget you so easily?

Mommy: Ohhh don’t worry about me. I am sure there are many who will remember me.

Kitreena: I love you, Mommy. I promise, I will never do you wrong.

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Love takes time, lest we doubt.
And hurt heals, lest we forget.

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Lest we leave... [Picture by Effa Mas]

Lest we leave…

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