Coffee Cake from Now On

By Seet Siew Ling
28 Apr, 2016

Dear Mum,

Then and Now pictures of Mum and I

You and I always communicated best through weather talk and reliving memories, and your favorite one was when 8-year old me handed you a Mother’s Day cake order form and asked you to pick a flavor. You were about to select “coffee” when I asked “Wouldn’t you prefer chocolate?” We ended up getting a chocolate cake, but we both know it wasn’t you who wanted it.

You’d always laugh whenever you recounted this memory, amused at how sneaky I was. But to me, it isn’t a story about my mischief. It’s just one more example of the way you love me.

Your exhaustion after a long day of work is replaced by alertness when I’m unwell at 2am. Your frugality stops you from buying yourself a new wallet for decades, but you had no qualms way back when I asked for $150 to attend my first concert. Whenever I had exams in the morning, you insisted on booking taxis for me just so I’d be comfortable.

From the little things like cake flavors to the big stuff like my education, you have always tried to give me the things I wanted, even at your own expense. You’ve hardly wanted anything for yourself, and as far as I can recall, the only wish you’ve ever expressed was to someday see snow. I’ve always known that a mother’s love is selfless, but the older I grow, the more I’m unable to fathom how one person could have so much to give.

You see, my generation is known for being self-serving. We popularized the selfie. We don’t just want jobs, we want fulfilling careers. We’re ambitious and hungry, and these are great qualities. But oftentimes, we are selfish, impatient and self-absorbed. Or at least, I can be.

There were days when I chose to cancel dinner plans with you and stay in the office to do some work. And it took me ages to take you to a movie you’d been wanting to watch, just because I wasn’t interested. It is these regrettable moments of selfishness that now compel me to see your love in a new light and appreciate how you’ve committed every minute of your life and every fiber of your being to make my existence a happy one.

I’ve heard people say that selflessness comes naturally when you’re a mother. I don’t know if that’s true, but I think your sacrifices aren’t always by instinct. They’ve been a series of tough choices, some more difficult to make than others. You always told me to do right and be good to others, and I think the advice you give is as simple and pure as your love.

I hope it stays with me in my darkest moments, and guides me to be better, to repay your love with my time, my kind words and a winter vacation. It’s just coffee cake from now on, Mum — I love you.

Siew Ling works in a social media agency, but she'd take real books over Facebook any day. She also enjoys watching TV and food (eating it, not cooking).

Read other letters from children appreciating and affirming their moms and find out more about Love Honors - our contest where you can affirm your mom and stand to win prizes worth $400.


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