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Sunday, August 27, 2006

I long for you

It was early Sunday morning. Awakened from my slumber by the soft nudge on my elbow, I reluctantly opened my sleepy eyes. Hafiz by the bedside - half smiling but with his big eyes staring right into mine which were only half opened.

"Ibu ....... arrr..... ibu cuti ker hari ni?"

"Uh? cuti? ...... hmmmm... it's Sunday, Fiz. Yes, cuti. Why?"

"YEAYYY !!!!! Ibu cuti!", Hafiz responded to my affirmation by jumping up & down, running around in whatever space left in my bedroom, clapping his hands, giggling, smiling from ear to ear ..... "Yeay! Yeay! Ibu tak kerja hari ni. Yeay ...."

I couldn't figure out instantly what that was about. And conveniently dozed back to sleep.

Later I was awakened again, this time by what felt like a failed attempt to pull out my hair. This was not unfamiliar. For the second time I hesitantly open my eyes and turned my weak flesh to my left towards the energy that pulled my hair. A soft pule could be heard whispering from the same side. As expected, Ameer was lying in bed with me. His right hand on my head, with fingers twirling my hair. The other hand steadily holding his milk bottle bottom up. Thank goodness he didn't wake me up for that 8 oz fluid this time.

And then that similar question again, only this time it came from the 2 and a half year old little brother of Hafiz.

"Ibu cuti ke hari ni? "

"Ya sayang.... "

Ameer smiled. And continued sucking his morning feed. No jumping up & down, no running around the bedroom. Just a serene smile. The soft twirling of my hair continued. I kissed his forehead and stroke his hair. The pleasant smell from yesterday's shampooing ritual lingered. The smell that by itslef was a soothing bonding experience for mothers and little children.

So what was with the "yeay!!" and the smile in response to ibu cuti?

I think I got it. The feeling of longing for that dear someone.

The feeling that I myself took for granted when I was their ages. Because my mother was a homemaker and was always at home to look after her own children. My mother was the one who wailed the siren on weekend mornings, hurrying us to get up for her home-made nasi lemak sambal ikan bilis. She was always the one already up and about in the house at this very same hour of the day some 30 odd years ago.

Unlike me, the working mother - who look forward to sleeping late during weekends. Only rising up to the alluring smell of ikan bilis goreng for the nasi lemak that bibi routinely prepares on Sunday mornings. If ever this ibu has the opportunity to fix breakfast for her children these days, it would simply be frying up the sotong ball and chicken sausage. That's my vocabulary for home-made breakfast by mommy. How pathetic!

How the scenario has changed - in just one generation.

The longing for closeness, literally, by a working mother and her little children has become the special order of the day.

My dear children, if you yeay!! and hooray!! and smile from ear to ear at the proven thought of ibu tak kerja hari ni or cuti today - then I must say, the feeling is mutual. I long for you too.

I love u my boys. Thank you for reminding me that while it's good to have money, it's crucial to check and ensure that I haven't lost the things that money cannot buy.


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