Tuesday, September 15, 2015

London-bound baby...

In a couple of days, our firstborn will be embarking upon her next journey in life in London.

It feels surreal, and I'm having mixed feelings about her leaving us to pursue her dreams thousands of miles away from home.

Hanna being Hanna, I know in sya Allah she'll be okay. She's very independent. Too independent for my liking sometimes.

I know she's very excited, and I understand how she feels, as I was in her shoes 29 years ago. Starting out in a foreign land, meeting new people, learning new things, facing new challenges.

Ayah and I will be accompanying her there to settle all the necessaries, and we will be spending Raya Haji with her. And we will be catching the flight back to KL later that day on Hari Raya Haji itself.

We have done about 90% of our packing. So far, we have filled 4 suitcases to the brim - with Ayah's and my stuff occupying only half a suitcase. The rest are all Hanna's.

Whatever we could buy and bring from Malaysia, we're bringing them with us. Even dishwashing sponges! And Good Morning and kitchen towels, too. Hehehe...

The stationeries that she has packed to go with her could probably last her a year. Or two.

And of course - all the pre-mixes gravies which she only needs to add chicken or fish or beef to to have a decent meal there, while learning how to cook the real thang.

And all the rempah-rempah wajib, and Milo, and Nestum, and Crispy Prawn Sambal, and instant noodles, and all the medicines she may need. And we are still contemplating as to whether we should bring a bottle of Kicap Manis Habhal Cap Kipas Udang with us or not. Boleh?

A rice cooker, a mini blender and an air fryer are also nicely packed in the bags. Hopefully she will know how to use them one day. Hahaha!

So, basically - she just does not have any reason or excuse to go shopping in London as we have made sure that she has got everything that she needs - at least for the first 2-3 months she's there. Mommy and Ayah very clever, eh?

Anyway, will update on how bad the banjir at Heathrow nanti when we finally leave our baby to fend for herself and live her dream in London - a dream which she has kept alive since she was 5 years old, or maybe even younger.

Till then.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Nose Job :)

So, APPARENTLY, I had forgotten that my current glasses were actually multifocals. That was until last night when I decided to get a new pair and the optometrist asked me if I wanted another multifocals or just the normal ones.
And I told him, "Oh... my current glasses are not multifocals". And he said, "Errr, they ARE multifocals". And, I said, "Errr, I don't think so!"
Yes. I was arguing with an OPTOMETRIST that my glasses were not multifocals... How's that for a "duhhh" moment, eh?
Anyway, the theory was - APPARENTLY, the design of the glasses is such that the lower part of the lenses is too near my face that its function as a reading glass was not that effective, and APPARENTLY, because of that, yours truly had made a separate pair of reading glasses for myself and had intermittently and interchangeably used both glasses as and when appropriate and required for the last 2 years. Until I totally forgot that the glasses were actually multifocals. Until last night that is.
So, I decided to wear them in a different way this morning to adjust the distance of the lower part of the lenses from my face.
And walllaaahhh!! I could read using the glasses without any problem at all all right!
*So, to all my students and colleagues - If ever you guys see me going out of my office like this, please pull me to the side and ask me to move the eraser from my nose, ya. Takut terlupa :) Thank you.

 P/S : The title of this posting was inspired by Bang Med (Hamed Samad)'s comment on my FB. Thank you, Abang Med :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's our 21st anniversary today

It's that time of the year again - the day Ayah and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. It's our 21st today. Syukur alhamdulillah...

We have come a long, long way since our cerita chenta which started more than 31 years ago. And we are 31 years older and wiser now, in sya Allah.

We first knew each other on 26th April, 1984 - at the tender age of 16, way back when we were in high school.

And 10 years 5 months and 14 days after knowing each other, on 9th September, 1994, I became his lawfully wedded wife.

So, all in all, we have known each other for 31 years 5 months and 14 days today. That's more than half of our lives - 21 years of which as a married couple.

He has always been there for me, as far as I could remember. And I hope, as far as he could remember, I had always been there for him, too.

He can be a very difficult person to live with sometimes. And I know, I am, too.

He can be a jerk sometimes (Hahaha!). But, I know I can be a bigger jerk than him. So, I just let him be a jerk when he wants to :)

He is one of the most responsible person I have ever known. But, I can't say the same about myself. And I'm sorry for that...

He is a wonderful and great provider for me and the kids in all aspects - love, support, and all kinds of stuff - worldly and spiritual. And I hope, I reciprocate that.

It has been a wonderful journey for us with all our ups and downs, our colourful and grey moments, the storm we had to go through, the rainbow that always came out after.

Even with all the downs, all the greys and all the storms manyfold over, I would not trade the last 21 years (and the last 31 years, too, for that matter!) for anything else.

Happy 21st Anniversary, Haizal bin Haron Kamar.

I hope you know that I love you so very much...

And I make do'a semoga Allah panjangkan umur kita, murahkan rezqi kita dengan rezqi yang halal dan baik, ampunkan dosa-dosa kita, dan panjangkan jodoh kita dan semoga kita kekal bahagia hingga ke Jannah. Aamiin.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mommy (14th November, 1939 - 29th June, 2014)

My last posting was dated 20th September, 2013.

That was about 1 year and 8 months ago.

And I feel that I must write on the most significant event in my life which happened during the long hiatus, before I go on writing on my usual ramblings.

You see, my Mom lost her battle against Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer just before 2:00 pm on the afternoon of 29th June 2014 - the 1st day of Ramadhan last year.

We knew Mom did not have long to live, but, we did not expect her to leave us on that day. The night before, I fell asleep sitting beside her, my head resting beside hers on her pillow, my hand holding her hand. And when it was time to leave, Tuan Doktor woke me up, and in my daze, I kissed her forehead lightly as I did not want to wake her up. She slept through it all.

I had replayed that moment over and over again in my head, wishing that I had woken her up then and wished her a proper salaam and good night and given her a proper hug, than just planting a slight kiss on her forehead. That could have been the last moment that I spent with her being fully conscious of my presence in her room with her. A moment which was not meant to be.

The next day, we received a phone call from my brother-in-law at 12:30 pm, asking us to leave everything and hurry to Keramat as Mommy's condition had suddenly deteriorated. As Tuan Doktor was attending to an emergency at the hospital, we could only leave just after 1:00 pm and reached my sister's house around 1:30 pm.

Everything happened so fast, but, Alhamdulillah, Abah, all her children and grandchildren (save for a couple) were there with her right until the end. She passed away peacefully just before 2:00 pm, surrounded by her family.

Even though she had pesan that she wanted her burial to be done as fast and as expediently as possible, with it being the 1st day of Ramadhan and all, we could only arrange for her pengkebumian to be carried out the next day.  Alhamdulillah, segala urusan dipermudahkan and jenazah Mommy dikebumikan just before noon.

I was in a daze for most of the time in the few days that followed. It was surreal, and everything felt like it was a dream. In fact, the few months that followed saw me sometimes reaching out for the phone to call her to ask for recipes and cooking tips only to realize that she was no longer there for me.

How I wished I had spent more time with her, called her more often, spent more on her, hugged her more often, and looked into her eyes more, held her hands longer, smelled her hair every time I saw her, kissed her hands, and told her just how much I loved her at every possible opportunity I had when she was alive.

I had pondered on so many of the "If only's", but, Allah lebih sayangkan Mommy.

I miss you so, very much, Mommy.

Semoga Allah ampunkan segala dosa-dosa Mommy, dan kumpulkan roh Mommy bersama golongan yang berimaan dan dikasihiNya. Semoga dilapangkan serta diterangkan kubur Mommy, dan dijauhi dari siksaan kubur dan api neraka, dan semoga Allah tempatkan roh Mommy di taman syurga firdausyNya. Aamiin.

Al-Fatihah untuk Allahyarhamah A'sah @ Halimah Haji Ismail.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mothers would do anything for their kids. Errrr... Not really!

My phone rang at about 3:30pm yesterday. It was from a number I did not recognize.

I immediately answered it thinking that it might be from Sh**p calling about my microwave which was sent for repair last week.

I was quite surprised to hear Hilman's voice on the other end.

Hilman : Hello, Mommy :)

Me : Oh, hello, Hilman! How are you?

Hilman : I'm fine, thank you. Mommy ok?

Me : Yes, I'm okay. Thank you, Man :)

Hilman : Ayah and Kak Long dah okay, ke? (*Tuan Doktor and Hanna were admitted to the hospital for a few days for severe food poisoning early this week, by the way.)

Me : Yes, they're much better, thank you. Ayah dah discharged semalam. And Kak Long insya Allah will be discharged tonight. By the way, whose phone are you using ni?

Hilman : Oh, this is Maisarah's phone (* Maisarah was his primary schoolmate and is also at KY* now)

Me : Why are you using Sara's phone, Man?

Hilman : Err... My phone cannot be charged, Mommy (and without pausing) Mommy, can I ask you something about tomorrow? (*Obviously there was far more important thing than the problem with his phone not being able to be charged here)

Me : Yes, Hilman. What is it?

Hilman : Mommy, tomorrow night is Miss Karen's wedding and she has invited all her students from 6 Mawar last year to her wedding. I only knew about it today from my friends. Maisarah and I want to go tomorrow night. Boleh tak, Mommy? I really want to go.

* Miss Karen was his class teacher when he was in Standard 6 last year, by the way. *

Me : Hmmmm... And how, may I ask, are you two going to this wedding, Hilman?

Hilman : That's why. Can we go back tomorrow?

Me : And how may I ask again, Hilman, are you coming back to KL to attend this wedding?

Hilman : That's why. Can someone jemput us tomorrow? If can, Maisarah nak tumpang sekali.

Me : Hmmm... Where are you now, Hilman? You are in Melaka, right? And where am I now? I am in KL, kan?  And so are Ayah and Pakcik Rizal.

Hilman : (As if he did not hear what I was trying to say) And boleh tak, lepas wedding tu, hantar Hilman and Maisarah balik Melaka again because I'm involved in this musical thing in Kolej and we have a meeting/practice on Saturday morning and I have to be here. I'm involved as one of the crew.

Me : (Terdiam sekejap...)

Hilman : Is that possible, Mommy?

Me : Hilman. No. THAT is NOT possible Hilman. First, You just came back last weekend. And you know very well that you are only allowed to come back for an overnight weekend once a month saja, kan?

And before I could continue -

Hilman : That's why la, Mommy. We don't want to go back for overnight. After the wedding you send us back to Melaka.

Me : (*Haaaaaa???!!!) Errrr... Listen to me, Hilman. (And I had to repeat what I said earlier). Hear me out.

Firstly, You JUST came back last weekend. And you know very well that you are only allowed to come back for an overnight weekend once a month saja, kan?

Secondly, You JUST told me about this now. You can't expect me to arrange everything at such short notice, Man.

Thirdly, Even if it's just an outing and not an overnight stay, and even if I could arrange something, I would not go and fetch you tomorrow, because you have something on which you need to attend in Kolej on Saturday morning. You have to get your priorities right, okay?

Fourthly, and you know that Ayah has not been feeling well these past few days, kan, Man?

Hilman : Oh ya, Mommy. Sorry... Okay, Mommy...

Me : Fifthly, I'm sure Miss Karen will understand if you and Maisarah cannot make it to her wedding, Hilman. She knows both of you are in a boarding school and she knows how you guys are restricted from going back home as you please, I'm sure.

Hilman : Okay, Mommy...

Me : Why don't you call her or SMS her today? Wish her all the best and congratulate her on her marriage and explain to her why you and Maisarah cannot be there.. I'm sure she will understand, Hilman...

Hilman : Okay, Mommy...

(But, I think he was still keeping a bit of hope...)

Hilman : So, MEMANG tak boleh go to Miss Karen's wedding lah ya, Mommy?

Me : Nope. Sorry, Hilman. Just make sure you call her nanti to apologize and explain, okay?

Hilman : Okay, Mommy...

* So, it's official then. This Mom will not do just anything and everything for her kids. If that makes me a less loving or caring Mom, then let me be a less loving or caring Mom then :p

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It has been a while since I last blogged about the kids...

I was just reading my old blog entries and I realized just how much almost everything was about the kids. And I'm so glad that I actually blogged A LOT about them.

All three of our kids have left home for college/boarding school now, and whenever my mind suddenly wanders and starts thinking about them, one of the things that I would do is read my old blog postings on them.

And this helps me cope with my empty nest syndrome somewhat.

Reading my postings on each of them chronologically brings me through the journey of them growing up, and memories of what I had blogged would come back so fresh and vivid to mind - as if they just happened yesterday.

Whenever I come across stories posted by friends of their babies/toddlers which remind me so much of the similarities with my own kids when they were that age, I would quickly browse through this blog to recall the similar experiences I had with them, and I must again say that blogging is very rewarding in its own special way, especially to this lonely Mom :)

And I realized that I should start writing about them on a regular basis again. Not so much for anything else, but, so that 10 years down the road, I could recall every single thought that I have of them.

So, let me start off with Kak Long Hanna.

Hanna has settled in very well with college life and seems to be having the time of her life there. Syukur alhamdulillah. She's doing her A Levels now, and plans to read law in the UK thereafter. It was a total 180 degrees turn for her as a few months before starting college, she was set on doing Medicine! In fact when she applied for a place at KY**M, it was with the intention of taking up all the core science subjects for her A Levels. It was only about a couple of weeks before registration that she decided to pursue a Law Degree instead.

Both Ayah and I are okay with whatever decisions she makes, as long as she's happy.

Apparently, there were so many things about doing Medicine which had become some major concerns for her, especially relating to scholarships to further her studies overseas (the UK to be exact), chances of being accepted by UK universities if she were to do her A Levels here in Malaysia, how competitive the field is, future job prospects for doctors in Malaysia, and most importantly, she wasn't sure exactly if she really wanted to do Medicine. When she first decided on it, it was more because she wasn't sure what else she wanted to do, or what else she could do.

After performing solat istikharah a few times, she finally made her decision on her future career path.

Hanna being Hanna, we feel that whatever she decides to do, whether science-related or humanities, in sya Allah she'll do well.

She comes back home every week (Thank God!!!), bringing with her her laundry every time  (which I don't mind doing for her! Hehehe... so long as she comes back!).

She's taking 4 subjects - Add Maths, History, Economics and Psychology and is now busy preparing for her first exam which is to be at the end of this month. In sya Allah, I don't really have to worry about her as she knows what she needs to do and when she needs to study, and how she has to study :) As long as they work for her and she brings in good results, I just leave her to her own devices.

Kak Ngah Hasya is in Form 2 in KY* now, and she's really enjoying life there. And Hasya being Hasya, never once has she been homesick. Which is a good thing, I guess (except that it's a blow to Mommy's morale! Hehehe...)

She's doing very well academically, and has consistently been in the Top 5 in her class. Syukur alhamdulillah.

She's also active in her co-curricular activities - representing KY* in swimming and chess, and she's also in the athletic team for Hussein House and has won medals for the house for the 200m, 400m and 4x100m events. She has also won several medals for Hussein in their Swimming Championship.

She actively participates in debates organized by the Kolej and won the Best Debater Award for her batch last year.

Hasya also had the privilege of being chosen to represent KY* in the World Robotics Championship held in Anaheim, CA., a few months back with a few of her seniors.

She is now involved in the Anugerah Remaja Perdana Programme (equivalent to the Duke of E Programme in the UK) and is pretty tied up with all the required activities.

And syukur alhamdulillah, Hasya has been appointed to be in the College Committee , i.e. the KY* Prefectorial Board starting early this month.

And syukur alhamdulillah, she has started donning the Hijjab beginning of Ramadhan :)

Hilman is also doing very well in KY*. We think the school has really brought out all his potentials especially in areas we were not even aware of or even believed he would be good in before!

Yes, he was doing well academically before (even when he was not even consciously making the efforts to study! Hehehe...) But, I think the regimented life in KY*  means that he has to study when he has to study, and he he has no other choice but study. And syukur alhamdulillah, he has consistently been in the Top 3 in his class.

What really surprised us was how Hilman had "blossomed" in his co-curricular participation and abilities.

Those who knew Hilman when he was in primary school would remember how chubby he was up until he was in Primary 5. And being a chubby boy that he was, he was never ever selected to run for his House or school. And being a big boy he was, the sport in which he represented his school at MSSD last year was no other than the Shot putt event :) And, oh yes - in acara tarik tali, of course!

But, Hilman has started to shed all his baby fat since the end of last year and ever since joining KY*, he has grown so tall (taller than Ayah!) and has become so much leaner. So much so, that he was asked to try out for the KY* Under-13 Rugby Team and also to run for Hussein House during their Sports Day.

And alhamdulillah, he had the opportunity to play Rugby for KY* in two international meets. Even though his team did not win anything, we were very grateful for the opportunity given and trust the school put in him to represent them. Both Ayah and I could not have been prouder than when we saw him running and tackling, and being run over and tackled by the opponents on the field. Our little boy was not so little anymore :)

And, surprise, surprise! He represented Hussein House in the 4x100m event during their Sports Day and his team won the Gold Medal and they actually broke the school record of 4 years for that event! (I'm sure his teachers and friends in primary school would not believe this if we were to tell them this. Hahaha!).

So, overall, the kids are doing well in college/at school. Syukur alhamdulillah.

We make do'a that they will continue to do well, semoga menjadi anak-anak yang soleh/solehah dan berbudi pekerti tinggi dan berjaya di dunia dan akhirat, in sya Allah.

So, that's a wrap-up on how the kids are and what they have been up to since I last wrote about them.

In sya Allah I will try to blog more about them from now on, not so much of sharing their progress, but more for my own personal record and future recollection when I'm old and grey ;)


Here's a picture of the family taken on first day raya this year :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My life has been one perfect plan...

Allah is great.

Alhamdulillah, I feel that my life has been mapped and structured perfectly all this while for reasons HE alone knows, and I would often realize the Hikmah only as time passed by.

My life had been tersusun and teratur to prepare me for everything that came my way throughout the years, syukur Alhamdulillah.

Yes, there were/are things which I did/have not accomplish(ed) which I know are just not meant to be because Allah has bigger and more meaningful things planned for me. Syukur Alhamdulillah.

The reason why I did not accept the offer to go to SMS Pulau Pinang in Bukit Mertajam all those years ago, but instead went to STF where I grew up with friends who are until now my confidantes, my best friends and have become my family. And how if I were not in STF, I might not have gotten to know the boy through a twist of fate and who is now I'm happily married to.

The reason why I quit being a lawyer in 1995 and followed Ayah to the UK, and came back at the end of 1997 to join UM and becoming a lecturer. No offence intended, but, I would not have traded the flexibility offered by my job as a lecturer for a high-paying, stressful career as a lawyer. Yes, the pay is not as lucrative as a lawyer's pay, but, I have enough. Syukur Alhamdulillah.

The reason why I had a miscarriage in 1997 in the midst of completing my Masters degree in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Hanna was 2 years old then. The Hikmah came in the form of Hasya 2 years after that. Maybe, just maybe - if I had not had the miscarriage, we might not have tried for another baby then... We might not have had Hasya...

The reason why I had health issues in 2003 just as I was starting my study leave to do my PhD. My study leave had meant that my teaching obligations were not disrupted while I had to go through 3 surgeries over 5 months back then. The endless visits to the hospital for treatment, follow-ups, daily dressings, etc. Yes, my study plans were disrupted, but there were less headaches for me in terms of my work commitments.

It was in 2003, too, that Mommy had a stroke, and my study leave had meant that I had the time and opportunity to take care of Mommy when we took her home to stay with us.

It was in 2007 when Abah was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Cancer which was a recurrence of an earlier episode of NPC which he had in 1995/96. I was still on my study leave then, which again meant that there was no rigid work commitments, and as such, together with my sisters, I was able to take care of Abah and take turns to be with and bring him for his Radiotherapy and Brachytherapy treatments at GHKL then without the headaches of applying for leave, etc. whenever Abah needed to go for his treatments.

And the reason for His ketentuan that this year both Ayah and I are left alone at home when Hilman got accepted to KYS to join his Kak Ngah, and Hanna got accepted to KYUEM to do her A Levels. I was overwhelmed with sadness when one by one the kids left us for boarding school and college. I guess I was not ready to go through the empty nest syndrome too early in life.

Little did I know that the reason why Allah has bestowed the rezqi to my anak-anak to pursue their studies in KYS and KYUEM, leaving both Ayah and I at home is to give me the rezqi and opportunity to take care of Mommy again. So that I have someone at home to take care of when the kids are away at school. So that I will be able to spend more time with Mommy.

The thing is, Mommy has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Stage 4 a week before Raya.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, to date she has completed 2 cycles of chemotherapy and will have to go through another 4 cycles. Hopefully all will be completed in November, in sya Allah.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, she has responded very well to the treatment so far and has not had any adverse reactions to the chemo drugs. No headaches, no nausea, no dizziness. Just that she gets tired easily nowadays and spends most of the time sleeping, if she is not reciting the Quran or performing her Solats.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, she has not lost her appetite and has been eating well - which is very important for her healing process, in sya Allah.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, the nature of my job and the flexible hours which come with it has meant that I have been able to dash between UM and PPUM, which are just next door to each other, while Mommy goes for her chemotherapy thus far.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, Mommy is very high-spirited

Syukur Alhamdulillah, Mommy redha and has been really calm about the whole thing and she goes through everyday like she normally would everyday.

In Ayah's own words, "Mommy is one very strong lady..."

And Syukur Alhamdulillah, for my husband who has been there for me, embracing me physically and emotionally throughout it all. 

Allah is great.

And I know HE knows what is best for us.

And I know that there is Hikmah in everything that happens.

And I know HE is with us. Always.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Abah and Mommy...

He's 83.

She's 73, and will be 74 in November, in sya Allah.

And they will have been married for 57 years in November this year, in sya Allah.

My Abah and Mommy.

To say that they are as different as chalk and cheese would be an understatement.

Abah is one very authoritative man. Whatever he says, goes. There's no two ways about it.

While Mommy is the timid one and is always obliging.

Abah became an orphan at the age of 12 when both my grandparents passed away within 3 months of each other. All his siblings were "distributed" amongst their uncles and aunties to be taken care of, and Abah was put under the care of his uncle who replaced my late grandfather as one of Orang-orang Besar Jajahan Perak. Being raised in an "elite" family, so to say, he had his own maid to serve him throughout his youth.

His marriage to Mommy was an arranged one. He was 27, and she was 17 when they got married.

Mommy did everything for him - chose and prepared the attires he would wear to go to work every single day, from A to Z, f you know what I mean. He didn't know where everything was kept, or maybe he felt he didn't have to know because everything would be ready for him every morning.

He didn't even know where the pots and pans, the plates, the cups and saucers, let alone all the cutleries were kept.

In a way, Mommy basically took over the tasks of his maid where the maid left off

Abah was so used to having his own maid who personally served his meals in his room when he was growing up, and I guess it became a habit of his to eat alone.

Ever since I could remember, he would eat alone at the dining table. Mommy would make sure the table was ready for all his meals, and we could only eat when he was done eating.

We were not to speak to him unless spoken to.

He never laid a finger on us while we were growing up - not to change our diapers, nor to give us a flick or cane us. He was never an affectionate father, I have to say. I guess, being an orphan from the age of 12, and brought up by his uncle and aunt, he was not really sure as to how a real father should treat his kids. But, he cared for us in his own ways. Very much.

He was (and is still) the ultimate disciplinarian. He never needed to raise his hands to spank us. His raised voice or even his stares would leave us whimpering and shaking like a leaf.

And I also remember Abah not being home that much, and we were never close to Abah because he was very strict and regimented. We grew up fearing him.

We were never allowed to go to our friends' houses to play, so, the kids from the whole kampong would congregate at our government quarter/house in Assam Kumbang, Taiping every evening to play all the games under the sun that were there to play.

He was a primary school English teacher, but he used to hold Bahasa Melayu tuition classes for MCE students, who were mostly Chinese at our house. And a very good one at that, too. He prided in the fact that almost all his tutees scored "A"s for their Bahasa Melayu paper for MCE. That certainly was a feat for him as their tutor.

Mommy, on the other hand, was a different thing altogether.

Mommy has always been a housewife. I remember her going about cleaning the house every single day, cooking delicious meals for us, hand-washing our clothes, folding and ironing them until the wee hours of the morning. Day in, day out.

She would sew the curtains and of course our dresses and baju rays herself. Year in, year out.

She made the simplest meals seem fit for a royal feast

I remember - sometimes when she had too many things in her hands, me being the youngest, she would send me to our next door Indian neighbor, who was more than happy to look after me while Mommy finished her chores. For years after that, even after the good neighbor moved away to Tanjong Rambutan, my brothers and sisters would call me "Anak Achi", and Mommy would scold them every time.

And I remember Mommy as always being there for all of us.

Whenever we were reprimanded by Abah (even for the smallest unintentional misdeeds), she would be there to pacify us - after Abah had left the room, of course.

And growing up, never had we seen displays of affections between Abah and Mommy.

I guess it was just the thing of that generation.

Fast forward - years have gone by.

My siblings and I all have gotten married and we all have a family of our own, safe for my eldest sister, Yong who now looks after Abah and Mommy.

Abah has mellowed down. A LOT. But, somehow, we still feel as if there is a barrier between us.

I guess Abah realized that, and in a way, he knew that it was how he brought us up that had made our relationship rather awkward. And he somehow made it up by having a better relationship with his daughters/sons-in-law.

He can joke with Abang Rosli, Tuan Doktor, Kak Ros and Nora quite easily - something which he still finds awkward to do with his own children.

However, he is still the strict disciplinarian that he was with all his grandchildren. But, somehow they try not to take him that seriously (in a good way, that is!).

Abah had survived through 2 episodes of Nasopharyngeal Cancer (1995-1996 and 2006-2007), and he has hypertension. Apart from that, he is healthy, albeit is very frail due to his age.

He refuses to go out and prefers to stay at home. Even if the children hold functions or makan-makan at our houses, he would prefer to give them a miss, and would always pesan for the food to be packed for Mommy and Yong to bring home for him

Mommy, on the other hand is a diabetic patient, with history of heart disease and angioplasty done (3 stents put in in 2006), and she had a mild pontine stroke in 2003. And like Abah, she also has hypertension. She has what we call the "Penyakit Tiga Serangkai".

My Sister Lala and myself have always wanted for Abah and Mommy to stay with us, so that we can take care of them. Not that Sister Yong can't do the job, but, when she goes to work, Abah and Mommy will be alone at home. Both very frail and not well. What if anything happens to them at home while Yong is at work (Nauzubillah...)

Lala is a housewife, and in sya Allah will be home most of the times to care for Abah and Mommy. While I have Bibik Dar to look after them while I'm at work, in sya Allah.

But, because Abah is so set in his ways and prefers to sleep in his own bed, shower and do his business in his own bathroom and toilet, sit in his own sofa and watch his own TV and control his own TV and Astro remote, he refused our offer time and time again.

As for Mommy, even though she is frail and in no position to be looking after Abah on her own, she feels obliged to stay by his side and take care of him.

My brother Eddie who's teaching in BU would make a point to go and see Abah and Mommy as many afternoons as possible after school to check on them before going back to Sungai Buaya, when Yong is at work.

So, that had been the case for a few years now.

However, we feel that this has to change now, whether Abah likes it or not.

Mommy has been diagnosed as having a tumor behind her right eye, which is slowly pushing it outward.

She is due to go for a biopsy next week.

And for her to be given the green light to go ahead with the procedure, she has to have the all-clear for all her health conditions.

She had gone for an investigative review last week whereby she had to go for her chest x-ray, echocardiogram, blood tests and also to check her BP.

So far, we have not received any of the results, except for her BP which shot up to 225/78 during the review which nearly resulted in her being admitted. Syukur alhamdulillah, after a few hours of monitoring it went down to 154/76.

She is required to go for another review this Monday. And if her BP is still high, she may not be given the all-go for her biopsy procedure.

And she can't afford that. As it is, the swelling of her right eye is getting worse day-by-day, and we would want the procedure to be done the soonest possible.

And we know that the least we could do is to make sure that her blood pressure is controlled.

And we know that as long as she is at home, taking care of Abah, that will not happen.

Because Abah is still very dependent and very clingy on Mommy.

Out of years of habits, he still would ask Mommy to take even a piece of tissue paper for him, even though, Mommy is probably resting downstairs and the tissue box is just a mere a few feet away away from him in his bedroom upstairs.

He still would call out for her to pour his drinks for him, even though the fridge and his glass are just a few feet from him, even though the pot of tea or coffee is just within his reach beside his bed.

It's not that he can't do it himself, but, because all these years Mommy has been doing it for him, he just does not know how to get out of the routine.

And we also feel that he just wants to see her as often as possible, not realizing that he is really putting pressure on Mommy who has to attend to all his requests.

And it doesn't help that Yong also has 20 cats at home. Even though most of them are kept in the cat house, Mommy still needs to feed them at least twice during the day while Yong is at work. We feel that that is another thing which we need to get Mommy away from.

So, my Sis Lala and I have decided to separate Abah and Mommy from each other, at least until Mommy has undergone the biopsy procedure, and hopefully for the rest of Ramadhan (if Abah does not put a fuss about it, that is!)

We both feel that IF one of us takes care of both of them, it will beat the whole purpose because Abah would still get Mommy to do things for him even though Lala or Bibik Dar is there to do them for him. He would still be asking for Mommy.

So, desperate times call for desperate measures.

We have decided that Mommy would stay with me while waiting for her procedure, while Lala would take care of Abah.

And I had to pujuk Abah and convince him that that would be the best arrangement for both of them for the moment.

It took me nearly 45 minutes on Monday to slow talk to Abah and lay down all the reasons why I needed to take Mommy with me. Abah was very okay with that, and in fact he was very happy that Mommy would be staying with me. I guess he could see how frail Mommy has become in the last month or so, and he could also see how Mommy's eye has become worse day-by-day.

But, what he was not okay with was the fact that we wanted him to stay with Lala.

He kept on saying that he would be okay alone at home and he gave all the excuses under the sun as to why he should stay at home and not follow Lala.

But, I had to put my foot down this time. But, not before bawling my eyes out crying in front of him out of frustration because of his stubbornness.

That somehow did the trick.

Abah slowly bowed down, avoiding my eyes, and said, "Okay...okay... Let me speak with Abang Rosli (my BIL - Lala's hubby) first..."

On Monday evening itself I helped Mommy to pack all her clothes, medicines and her buku-buku agama to bring home to Sri Damansara, after which I helped Abah to pack all his stuff. One thing about Abah, he is a hoarder and he keeps every single piece of paper with him, and of course he has to bring all of them with him to Keramat. I let him handle that part, and only helped him pack his clothes.

And as Mommy and I were just about to leave him, Mommy went to Abah to salam and seek for forgiveness.

And the most amazing thing happened.

Abah suddenly said, "Come here, come here..." - with his hands gesturing to Mommy to come nearer to him.

And he said, "Nak sayang... Nak sayang..."

Mommy went to him, and he hugged and kissed her on her cheeks, and she hugged him back.

THAT was the first time I had ever seen a display of affections between Abah to Mommy.

And without realizing it, I started to cry and had to look away.

I guess, I felt guilty to be there - in their most private moment together.

Or even more, I felt guilty to have to separate them from each other for now. And I kept telling myself that this would be the best arrangement for both of them given the circumstances.

Lala and Abang Rosli went to fetch Abah and bring him to Keramat the next day.

And, without fail, from the day they were "separated", Abah would call Mommy at least three times a day to see how she's doing.

Both Lala and I feel more at peace now, having one of our parents with us to jaga their makan minum, tidur baring, and sakit demam, especially during Ramadhan.

We just hope that Abah will stick to the current arrangement for as long as possible, not just for his sake, but also for Mommy's. I can bet you that if he decides to go back home, Mommy will not stop worrying about him day and night - and that will surely not be good for her health.

I make doa for Allah SWT to panjangkan umur Abah and Mommy, dan kurniakan kesihatan yang baik kepada keduanya, tenangkan jiwa keduanya dalam menghadapi cabaran dan dugaan hidup dalam apa bentuk sekalipun. Limpahkanlah kasih-sayang yang berpanjangan kepada keduanya, dan lindungilah serta berkatilah kedua Abah and Mommy sentiasa, in sya Allah...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hilman, my maaannn :)

I managed to ask Hasya about how Hilman has been doing in KYS thus far.

And her report to me was quite amusing actually :)

Here are some of the things she said to me about Hilman -

"He's doing okay, Ma".

"The seniors are okay with him. All of them said Hilman is sooooo baik! Too baik sometimes!"

"Some of his batchmates (girls) said Hilman is hot!" (Errrr...don't know how to react to that! LOL!)

"The girls in his batch also said, Hilman is very nice, and he's a gentleman".

"Miss Adrin (the music teacher) really likes Hilman".

And I also found out in Hasya's Twitter chats (when she didn't sign out from my phone), one of her friends from her batch (a boy) described Hilman as follows -

"Hilman is just like Johnny Bravo. Without the attitude".

Hmmm... I guess I can stop worrying about him now :)

But, having said that, this was what transpired between me and Hilman yesterday via SMS -

Hilman : Mommy, I don't have my seluar for sports

Me : Shorts or trackbottom? Can u ask Kak Ngah if it's in her bag? Makcik maybe termasukkan in her bag. If tak der jugak, then u hv to buy a new pair from the co-op, ok?

Hilman : Ok

And this morning -

Me : Hilman, Makcik said she already put ur shorts in ur bag. She sd yg ada koyak sikit inside tu, kan? Please check ur baju2 agn. And pls also check if Kak Ngah's track bottom is in ur stuff, ya? She said she's missing a pair. TQ :)

And petang ni -

Hilman : Shorts dah

And another SMS followed immediately after that -

Hilman : Trackbottom takde

Me : Ok, thx. So, maybe K.Ngah's trackbottom tertinggal in SD. And btw, Hilman, remember what I said about not to send a few short SMSes? Instead, to write whatever you wish to write in one SMS only? WhatsApps tak per if u send short ones (as long as there's wi-fi, ok?)

And I'm still waiting for him to reply my last SMS.

And I foresee that he will still send a few short messages via a few SMSes.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Adapting and coping with, and filling the Empty Nest Emptiness...

I never thought I would be going through the empty nest emptiness so early in life...(Errr...as if I'm that young! Hehehe...)

I'll be 45 in May, in sya Allah, and the house is already feeling void and empty since early this year.

Hanna is waiting for her SPM result which is expected to come out some time in March, and she has been keeping herself busy with driving lessons (and she passed her tests last week! :)) organizing the UN Model Conference with her Interact Club friends from all over PJ (the conference will be held in April), and she has also been going to the gym quite religiously (after sweet-talking her Ayah to sign her up with a fitness centre a few weeks ago). And, oh yes, she has also started working at one of Ayah's companies since a week ago. She also goes out for futsal and handball games with her friends every now and then. So, she's rarely at home.

And with both Hasya and Hilman in KYS, and with Ayah consistently working until quite late nearly every night, I'm pretty much left alone at home for most of the time. I'm still on unpaid leave until mid-February, so, until then, I'm struggling to keep myself occupied. Too much time in my hands would mean I would start missing the kids!

Fortunately, I have found ways to occupy my time.

Firstly, with the decision to move back to SD after nearly 20 months of leaving the house empty, Bibik Dar and I have been going back to spring-clean the whole house everyday from 10:00am until about 8:00pm everyday. The house was in such a bad condition - with dusts so thick, and a lot of stuffs needed repairing/changed, that we are still spring-cleaning it even after 2 weeks, and we are not even halfway done!

We have sent all upholsteries to the laundry together with all the beddings, carpets, and most of the clothing which were hanging in the closets for the past twenty months. What we can wash ourselves, we would wash them at home. We have also sorted the clothing which we want to store in boxes, those which we want to give away, and those which have to be discarded.

We have also emptied all the closets, and wiped everything - inside and out. Some spots had even become moldy and extra scrubbings were required. And I just have to do a bit of advertising here -Kiwi All Purpose Cleaner is the best surface cleaner ever! It has made my life so much easier... All surfaces have been wiped clean of dusts, together with all the little-little deco mak nenek, and books around the house. All beds and mattresses have also been wiped and cleaned. Suffice to say, every night when I go back to my MIL's house, my hands would smell of Dettol... Hmmm?

But, even after all that, I have to say that for the moment, the only rooms which are completely cleaned and habitable are Hilman's, the Master Bedroom, Bibik Dar's room, the kitchen, the dining area and the downstairs living room. Oh ya, all the bathrooms are done, too :) Still pending are the girls' room, the upstairs TV hall and the study room (and I dread to open and check the storeroom under the staircase! And there's also the twilight zone area under the staircase going up to the girls' room, too! Aaarrgghhh!!!) Safe to say that Alam Flora people will be kept very busy for the next few weeks getting rid of all the junks I'm throwing out from those rooms.

But, one thing I like about all these is that Bibik Dar and I can also start packing our stuffs into boxes in preparation of us moving to BJ middle of this year, in sya Allah. So, in a way, it is quite an exciting task, just as how it is such a cumbersome thing to do.

And that brings me to the second thing which I do to occupy my time. This, I do until quite late at night - working on the renovation ideas for our BJ house. And THAT has also been a somewhat abandoned house, too!

We bought the house way back in 2005 (or was it 2006?) and we got the keys in 2008 (I think?) and as there was no urgency to move we didn't do much to the house. We furnished two of the rooms - Hasya's and Hilman's, and that was about it. We used to go there every Sunday to sweep and mop the whole place, but, when Bibik Dar went back to Indonesia at the end of 2009 (and failed to come back until end of 2010), we stopped going to the house. We had a couple of gardeners to cut and maintain the lawn for the last 3 years, and we would only check on the house every 4-5 months.

And with so many other commitments to fulfill in the last 3 years - financial, work, business, family, etc., which we felt took priorities, we could not commit on working on the renovation of the house. And the house is in a somewhat sad condition, too.

So, Ayah and I have decided to work on the renovation plans and hopefully we can start work on it soon. And with Allah's will, we hope to move in to our BJ house before Ramadhan this year, in sya Allah.

I used to have different sets/options on the renovation plans, but, somehow I have misplaced the file which had about 20 different renovation ideas in it. So, what I have done in the last couple of weeks was to come up with the FINAL plan, and Ayah has given his approval, syukur alhamdulillah. So, the next thing is to get an architect friend to work on the proper drawings and specification and submit the plan to MBSA for their approval, and hopefully the reno work can start very soon.

And the third thing that I do to occupy my time, at least on my Saturday mornings, is that I've started going for Kelas Mengaji again together with my Ahli Majlis Tertinggi BFFs. We've only had two classes so far. Syukur alhamdulillah, terbukak jugak my hati to start belajar mengaji again. The last time I went for a proper kelas mengaji was probably 30 years ago! I did join Hasya and Hilman's class in 2007, but, somehow I did not continue until the end. And every now and then, I do follow classes on TV, but, that was about it. So, this time around bersemangat to learn mengaji again. My AMT friend Reha offered to have the weekly class at her place in Kemensah, so, in a way it's a good "excuse" to get together to mengaji and makan-makan  after that :)

The fourth thing that I'm doing now to occupy my time (more of my mind actually!) is psyching myself up in to start working again next month after more than a year and a half of medical and unpaid leave... Hmmm... for this, no semangat and malas to cerita... Hehehe... :)

And of course, the fifth thing is - I've started blogging again! Yeaaaayyyy!! :)))