It seems as if my understanding of motherhood, and my appreciation of you as my mother, only increases as each year passes. Even though I’m just beginning my second year as a mother, having my own child has granted me a whole new perspective of all that you have done, and are doing, for me.
When I was younger, I appreciated the fact that you were always there when we were growing up. I’d always known that you had given up a promising career and took on a slower-paced, flexi-hours job so that you could spend more time with us. Now that I am a mother, and a working one at that, I better understand the sacrifice that quitting your job entailed and the ‘what-if’s when you saw your friends getting promotions year after year. But you never looked back.
When I was younger, I appreciated how you were concerned for us when we fell ill or when we were in pain (physical or otherwise). I’d always known that you gave of yourself for us; you prioritised our needs above your own. From waking up in the middle of the night to check on us, to quietly putting aside your own agenda and plans if we needed to talk, you sacrificed your own wants and needs without a second thought. Now that I am a mother, I better understand a “mother’s heart”, though many times I wonder if I will ever be as “伟大” as you. You have embodied the Chinese saying, “世上只有妈妈好”.
When I was younger, I appreciated how you displayed unconditional love, even when we disobeyed. I’d always known that you forgave us even before we sought forgiveness; the earthly (though imperfect) demonstration of God’s love for us. I wondered how you found it within yourself to do that. Now that I am a mother, I think I better understand how love is patient, love is kind, and love keeps no record of wrongs.
My transition to motherhood wasn’t easy (whose is)? An upheaval of life as I’d known it for the previous 24 years; emotional, physical and relational changes. I daresay I’d have struggled greatly if you weren’t there to smoothen the process. From the physical to the emotional, you seem to know intuitively (mother’s instinct, I suppose) what issues I am facing and somehow, speak a timely affirmation or address the issue through actions.
You are my sounding board; I always run my ideas by you before executing them. Should I introduce this new food to him? Should I try this new technique that the books preach? Should I buy this toy for him? You never tire of answering me the way you never tire of caring for him.
And the practical support – where do I even begin? You volunteered to be a full-time, diaper-changing, puree-feeding, nursery-rhyme-singing grandmother at a time your peers are gallivanting around the world. Without you, I cannot be a working mother. When I leave for work each morning, I know that I am entrusting him to the safest pair of hands in the world.
You are teaching him so well (probably better than I could ever), you are so patient with him (much more than I am), you are so generous with him (definitely more than I will ever be!). You love him so much, and he, you too. Sometimes I wonder if he will love you more than he loves me – but then I realise that you are like a second mother to him. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Sometimes I ask myself what I can give to / do for you to repay you for all the sacrifices you’ve made for me. I admit that I draw a blank. Cheesy as it may sound, I know that I cannot ever repay you in full – just as how I don’t think my son will ever be able to repay me in full. But that’s the beautiful thing about a mother’s love – it gives, and does not expect to be repaid.
So, this Mothers’ Day, I just wanted to say thank you. And that my way of repaying you, will be to honour you by being the best mother that I can be. I love you.
Friends tell Jessica that she is the model 25 year-old working professional – married young to a doting husband, adoring mother to an active toddler, and working hard to serve Singapore.
This letter was expressed in appreciation of a mother's love, and was part of our 2016 Mother's Day Campaign.
Join us in our 2017 campaign - That's My Mum - to celebrate and affirm our mums together, today and everyday!