This morning my number one daughter (N1D) told me that she hates me. That I’m the worst mother in the world. I am never her friend. And, I never listen to her. Automatically, waves of guilt surrounded me. I tried to remain strong and talk her through it, but I ended up crying – in front of her – and this only made her sob harder. I was tired. I was sore. She asked me, between sobs, why I was crying. I replied that she had hurt my feelings. And, of course, I feel immense guilt. I work five days a week, study on Thursday nights at HKU, and once a month work on the weekends. My work is essential to who I am, what I believe in, and what I want my daughters to also grow up and stand steadfast to the world and humanity.
Later in the day, I sent a text to one of my helpers asking if N1D was in better spirits for school. J, my helper, replied that N1D was great – all had been forgotten. I responded to J, ‘Meanwhile she has broken my heart’. My other helper, M, had sent me a text telling me not to take N1D’s comments seriously because it is not true. She told me that her daughter, who lives in the Philippines, told her that she hates her mother forever because she always leaves her to go to Hong Kong to work and that M loves money more than her. And again, my world came to another crashing sob – at work.
The reality – once again – struck me. So many foreign domestic helpers in HK leave their dear loved ones at home. The heart ache those mothers must feel when they have to say goodbye. The hollow heart they must carry every day as they serve the families in HK who are whole – complete – together. And how lucky I am to have these two special women (J and M) in my life. And, in reality, how lucky my daughters are to have a present mother – in the same country.
What are the waves of guilt that come over you as a parent?
(10 comments is a prerequisite!)
It really is a very simple equation:
blog entry + 10 comments = more blog entries
I refuse to blog more unless I have 10 comments for each entry. And that means 10 comments that relate to the entry entitled, ‘Musing’, about Pakistan and the Boston Bombings below. I am not moving forward until the total reaches 10 comments! And yes, I know that I am a pushy woman.
In mid-April 2013, the Boston Marathon event was bombed. Equalled 3 x dead and many seriously injured.
In mid-April 2013, the busy centre of Iraq was bombed. Equalled 50 x dead and many seriously injured.
Both are tragic events that make us question humanity and the world state of affairs.
My Facebook scroll was inundated with Boston memorial and photographs of hope for the future. There was only one status update regarding Iraq. The newspapers were saturated with images and details of the Boston bombings. Iraq’s bombings hit the World News page with one article.
Life is life. Death is death. It is the same physical process for all, but why is it acknowledged so differently? I dare to tread on the religious grounds – Muslim v another religion/or no religion. Us v Them. Or maybe it is Them v Them.
The Western world associates with America, our ‘friend’, because of the ‘could have been us’ theory. And because they are all predominately ‘white’ countries. We disconnect with Iraq (along with much of the Middle East, Africa and certain parts of Asia) because they are simply not ‘us’. Whatever that ‘us’ may mean. And simply because bombings in Iraq are commonplace – sadly.
I throw it to you. What if Iraq was ‘us’? How would we respond to April’s bombings (and all the bombings every week over the years)? I proffer to state that there would be outcry, a national memorial established, and ribbons of a designated colour to wear.
But an Iraqi is not an ‘us’. Unashamedly so. The mass of the Western world simply do not care – because it is easy not to care when you are not directly affected. Iraqis deaths are the other, but deserve to be just like ‘us’. In death, especially of such innocence, we all deserve to be one. Death should not be commonplace. It is final. It is something extraordinarily special.
A life forever gone, and in that, all people grieve the same for their loss. So why do we disconnect from the lives lost in Pakistan?
Enjoying early morning pedicures, with massage and exfoliation included.
The lizards are starting to rear their heads so that they can get some warmth from the sun.
Superheros reign supreme.
Angry Birds bubble machine became Remy’s recent obsession at a birthday party.
Many late nights home to my apartment in this apartment block.
What have you being up to lately?
(10 comments – please. My husband called me a hard arse! My friend, Alison, told me that I know that I’m a hard arse! Hahaha! Yep, I’m a hard arse – and getting harder)
So much has happened since I made my last blog entry. Decisions have been made about the future. Opportunities have come my way. Experiences have been shared. Life has really changed for me. Moving to Hong Kong has created for me a path less travelled. And then I began to realise that few in my life back home knew about these changes. Knew about these changes – from me. As one friend put it to me – they want to see what my life in Hong Kong is all about. And I have lots to share. I have found my footing. Accepted my life here – certainly not the Hong Kong way of life – but, accepted the me in Hong Kong.
So as a new half of the year dawns on us tomorrow, I’m going to share many happenings, words, photographs, personal details and thoughts on my life. At my own pace. My musings. But I will not move forward without your support. I will not move from one blog entry to another, without comments in the comments box to keep me feeling like people actually care and are interested in life over here for me. I am not going to be fragile and painfully honest – and at times un-likeable – unless there are more than ten comments in that box! Ten – each.and.every.time (including this blog entry). I am not going to be ‘the Shan’ unless I have the support of my blogging community. I know you have understood my message. Let’s hope you have missed me.
‘I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like of all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of ‘generalization’ of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.’ – From Larry McCaffery’s Dalkey Archive Press 1993 interview with David Foster Wallace.
Who, in the world of fiction, can you identify with? Does s/he make you feel less lonely?
For me, it is Zadie Smith. And whilst she is not a character, her words across the page – from fiction to fact – transmit my internal monologue from one thinking space to another. I read her aloud. To feel the melodic rhapsody. To muse over the grammatically incorrect clauses that somehow bring her work to meaning. Insightful meaning. Smith is my world of fiction that draws me closer to surviving reality.
Sorry falling behind on all other posts – it is called work and study, study and work … and of course, motherhood.
Lately we have being having dedicated family time. My husband and I are so busy with work and studies that sometimes we fail to acknowledge that not only do we need to spend quality time together as a couple, but we also need to dedicate quality time together as a family – the four of us. We set down scheduled events and times to so that nothing else gets in the way of our time together.
Our latest family adventure – as we call them – was a trip to a secluded beach on one of many Hong Kong’s islands. We took several modes of transport to get there and a lot of walking because I wasn’t the best guide, but we got there in the end. We realised that this secluded place would also be great in summer – and also not so secluded by then.
The girls no doubt spent time in the water – regardless of the temperature. We had races, made cakes with sand, drew on the trees with stones, and had a picnic. We also walked these stairs to reach the top of a temple that overlooked the beach. We had a lovely day as a family. It is so easy to put aside those that we love the most because we believe they will always be around the next corner. But some times, we need to realise that life doesn’t work that way and we should cherish each other more often.
How do you spend your family time?