Saturday, July 01, 2006

In the dark of the night...

...there is a moon that shines bright. Posted by Picasa

What do you expect from me?

What do you expect from me, mum and dad?

I've always been an obedient, courteous, and filial son, never tried to disappoint you, always tried to impress you. But nothing is never enough.

I graduated from university when I was just twenty. That's not enough, because you never heard of my university before. I had a good job working in university. That's not good enough, because you think my job was worthless. I'm still young, and I want to find my way in life. That's a waste of time, because you cannot brag to other people how much I'm earning and what prestigeous school I'm studying at. Nothing is ever right, everything is forever wrong.

Do you care more about prestige and face than my feelings?

I'm here helping a friend, and you worry that I might become romatically involved with her. I'm here for no other reason except to help someone in need, and yet you think terrible of me and imagine things that are not even there. If you want to suffer yourselves, please do not involve me. You can suffer in your own wild imaginations and ignorance, but do not scold me for it.

I will not write this if I were not hurt by your demands and distrusts. Did you not leave me when I was just 13 to live alone? Why could you do that then, but now that I'm already 22 still distrust me like I'm an irresponsible and ignorant child? If I wanted to be bad, if I wanted to smoke, drink, have lead a promiscuous life abusing other people's bodies and feelings, I could. But I didn't, and I wont't. Because I know the difference between right and wrong. Something I wonder if you do.

I am not the one with problems communicating. I am not the one who is living together with a stranger at home and pretending that everything is all well and happy. I am not the one who is abusive and angry all the time, and pretends that all is well and happy.

Why should I continue to listen to your disappointments in me and scoldings, when I could be like my brother and just cut off all communication?

I will not do that, because I have feelings and I am only human.

What am I doing wrong?

What am I doing wrong?

Why do some people look to what I do with suspicion and distrust?
I'm not lying, I'm not cheating, I'm not being abusive to anyone, I'm not doing anything immoral, I'm not doing anything illegal, I don't live a promiscuous life, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't even like meat!

I'm just helping a friend in need, doing what I think is the right thing to do.

But why should I be scolded and have the phone hang up on me like I'm the plague or some untouchable criminal? What is my crime? Doing something good?

Should I become evil and live a selfish life full of deceit and lies? There's nothing I need to hide, nothing I have or do that I should be ashamed of, yet time and time again I am reminder by people that what I do, who I am, is worthless, useless and not deserving of praise, only deserving in reprimand.

Worse when those very people are your parents.

1 July 2006

There are some very ill people in the world.
My dad is one of them.

Today is his birthday, and I called home, wanting to congratulate him and wish him well. I told him what I've been doing, and he threw a tantrum and hang up the phone.
I paid €2.20 to hear this kind of abuse. I didn't need to call, I could just be like him and not keep in touch at all. But I called because I cared.

But does he?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sunny's butterflies

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Calm in the storm

I’m sorry Sunny for what you’ve had to endure. A young being like you should not have to experience fights and feuds in the first few weeks of your life, especially not between the two people dearest to you.

How embarrassing that one of the first understandings of this world should be tainted by bad vibes and spiteful words and invisible tensions that can pierce through the air. That other people are not able to control their emotions and mood swings should not affect you in any way. It’s unfair that you should be exposed to heated temperaments and hard-headed ill-will. But let me tell you now that arguments and squabbles are part of life. Some have it more than others, others must be stuck in between, while all are dragged into a quagmire of momentary anguish and depression.

But I watched you while two people dearest in your life fought. You were unmoved, though the hearts and minds of the two were raging and wild. You slept soundly and enjoyed a quiet peace, while the two disturbed the peace and the peace in and around them. There is much you can yet teach the ‘grown-ups’ around you.

Like the calm in the storm, the still leave in the wind, the sun behind dense clouds, you were unmoved by the chaos and noise around you. That is a valuable gift, and will prove to be more invaluable in life. When there’s trouble, when others are making grief and misery, have your peace and do not get involved.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

sleepless nights


The apartment of my mother-friend is so small there’s no where else to sleep except next to her. It’s perhaps bad enough Baby Sunny keeps waking up in the middle of the night crying and hungry, or hitting me with his arms or pulling on my clothes…but the mother isn’t any better.

Her positions in bed (not THAT way) are vulgar to put it mildly. It’s a double bed, but often I’ve had to make do with a little corridor on the edge to avoid being slapped in the face or kicked in the groins. The Spread-Eagle, the Cannon Ball Curl, the Angle Swing, the Writhing Snake…these are postures I’ve been able to identify, even in the dark of the night. And then there’s the twisting and turning, and groans and moans, the teeth grinding, the farting, sleep talking (complaining and whining don’t stop in sleep). I’ve tried not to picture her in bed (THAT way).

But then last night it happened. I had managed to accumulate three hours of sweet, uninterrupted sleep, and suddenly I felt my entire body being embraced. I thought it was a good dream, a flight of fantasy as my mind conjured up images of a beautiful boy and our romantic escapades…but no, it was her! She actually rolled over to my side and hugged me. [...]

I quickly released myself from her girl grip, and hoped that I had inoculated myself before from the cooties. I jumped out of bed, and watched a giant beast roar in rage and flap its claws up and down. Sleep itself has become a nightmare.

Like mother, like son.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ayan Hirsi Ali is Dutch again!

Just read this in the news. It's a bit difficult to know the ins and outs behind the decision while I'm away and without internet at home, but I'll try to write more on this soon.

I knew this was coming all along. AHA is a powerful person with influential friends...I sense a bit of 'string pulling' perhaps in Den Haag.

We'll see...

Baby's ill

He’s been sneezing and wheezing all night long. Again I was up at various moments in the night to feed and comfort him. Again I watched the sky outside brighten slowly, so I guess it wasn’t all that bad.

I can’t be certain, but I think Baby Sunny is falling ill, possibly the flu. Normally after drinking he goes back to sleep, but last night he was not to be comforted. However I patted him, however I walked around with him on my shoulder, however I rocked his bed, he would not sleep. His breath was heavy, his nose runny, and his stomach churning badly. And he wailed like never before, a heart-breaking sound carrying the pain into our hearts. Even when he was lying in bed, eyes shut and in apparent sleep, his throat would let out a terrible wailing and muffled groaning. Poor Baby Sunny, I wish there was something I could have done to take away the pain and the suffering.

Birth, aging, sickness…a few of the processes of life according to Buddhism. And baby Sunny has had them all.

Monday, June 26, 2006

To a mother, to a friend

It is not easy being a single mum. That I cannot know, but can only imagine. But that you do know, for that is what you are. Circumstances made it happen, and decisions along the way shaped the outcome. It’s not a role easily played, but it has been done before, and undoubtedly many will also do the same.

I’ve seen how you have trailed many moments of uncertainty and doubt, been tormented by decisions and indecisions that will change the rest of your life. I’ve seen and heard the cries, the complaints, the calls for help. People came and helped, but others could only help you so much. You were the one who managed to survive so many months of pregnancy despite all odds. And all the tears, the sorrows, the sleepless nights, restless days were finally rewarded with the touch of soft little hands, the bright big eyes of a beautiful new life.

I can see your sonny’s arrival has significantly brightened your days. He is cute, his smile can melt your heart, his touch can assure you that it was all worth it. When I see you hold him in your arms, when I see you labour to squeeze every drop of your motherly affection for him to drink, I realise the meaning of unconditional love.

But behind those loving scenes lie a world of reality, laden with responsibility. Every need, every desire, every cry, every struggle your son faces needs to be listened to. For he is helpless without you, and he can only grow with you by his side every step of the way. Who knows who he will become, what he may yet accomplish in the life ahead of him. Other people may give him blessings on the way, some may even give him hints here and there, but you, and only you can shape his character, his strength and his confidence. You are the one he sees when he opens his eyes, you are the one he reaches for when he is in need, and you will remain the one closest to him forever in his life.

So you must be strong. For a child is for life, and his life depends much on your life, just as much as his happiness and wellbeing depends much on your own happiness and wellbeing. I have not doubt you can offer him love, but a child needs more than just love along. He needs a caring environment, constant attention, he needs to know that there is safety and refuge wherever he goes and whatever he does. And this is where you come in, for you, and only you can give him all that. From the moment he was born you became responsible for two.

Babies are sensitive little beings, and they react to the slightest changes and sounds. And your sonny is no more different. When you are happy, he is happy. When you are sad, he is sad. When you are crying, he may also shed tears, deep inside. When you feel depressed, his face may just frown and become blue. Like sponges a baby will absorb every sound, every sight, every movement, every mood around him, and these will in turn shape his development and wellbeing. Not only are you a parent, you will be conducting an orchestra that will tune his life to the person he is yet to be.

I cannot know what it means to be a single mum, but I can imagine. The fears of raising a child alone, the uncertainties juggling with a life of study, the loneliness and longing for someone to share and appreciate your feelings, the many more negatives that make this new role you’ve had to forcibly take on that are the more terrifying. Whatever difficulties you may be facing, it is unfair for your sonny to suffer too as a result. For he is innocent, and he only came to this world because you wanted him to. So you are the one who can show him that this is a world worth living in, worth fighting for, and worth loving. Love him, and he can show you true love in return; love to a degree you’ve never been able to realise, but you’ve always longed for.

You must be brave and bold enough to overcome bumps on the road. The moment you made the decision to bring a life into this world, into your world, that decision was coupled with responsibility. And raising child is perhaps the greatest one anyone can shoulder. People can come and help, but others can only help you so much. Watching a child grow is perhaps the most joyous experience in life, so I’ve heard. And now you’ve been given that opportunity, an opportunity I hope you will take seriously and note of every step of the way. And your sonny will not be the only one growing, for you too will grow with him. Grow, and mature.

Perhaps you feel an unbearable burden, or that your own young life that is just about to blossom has so dramatically been change by the arrival of a new life. That may be true, but you must be able to cope. Emotionally, physically, mentally it will be a great trial, but in the process you will develop yourself, and hopefully see that many things you’ve been clinging onto are no more important than the responsibility lying in your arms.

You need not do this all alone. When you are down and miserable look around you, and see what you have already. All this time so many from near and far have come to your aid. They don’t ask to be thanked or forever remembered as great martyrs or angles, and only hope that you and your newborn will be safe and healthy. Whatever difficulties you may be facing, remember these people and what they have done.

You’re a parent now, and soon you will realise what it means to be a parent. It’s a full-time job with no end, no time-outs, no escape. But it can also be a rewarding experience to see your own child grow into a unique individual.

You too became one such individual, but remember the ones who made in all possible. For a parent’s love is endless, asks little in return, gives only the best she can offer, takes only what her child can give, and is content already her child is happy and well. See this, and remember it. For soon the same episode playing now will be replayed again.

I wish you and your sonny well and happiness in the journey you’ve already begun together. May it be filled with pleasant surprises, happiness, prosperity and growth. For you, and for him.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sleep, baby, sleep

You closed your eyes slowly, your little arms and feet stopped struggling. And you nodded off to sleep. I watched you, our faces mere centimeters apart. I could feel you breath, soft and warm, brush against my nostrils.

It was over a hour since you started crying. Your shrill tore through the air and my sleep apart. Time to get up again, for your bi-hourly feed. Stirring from sleep I felt my head ache, and my eyes sting. Sleep disturbed is worst than not sleeping at all. I stumbled into the kitchen and prepare your cocktail. A shake here and there, and it was ready. You kept on screaming, like nothing I’ve heard before. Somehow as you grew, your volume did too.

I cuddled you in my lap, cupped you little head with one hand, with your little back and legs leaning against my thigh and leg. Your face was contorted in anguish, as your mouth opened and shut like a babbling fish, only fish are silent, and you let out heart-rending cries of distress. Quickly I fumbled for the bottle and slid it into your beckoning mouth. The screaming disappeared, and just as quickly a face full of pleasure appeared.

You sucked on the plastic bottle intensely, and I could hear the chugging sounds go down your fragile throat. You continued drinking, delighting in the flavour and the flow of milk as it filled your empty stomach. Sometimes your eyes would narrow to a slit, as if you had become drunk and drifted off to sleep, but as soon as I pull on the bottle, your eyes would brighten again, and your lips would continue sucking.

You drank and drank, with milk sometimes overflowing from the rims of your little lips clutched around the bottle and flowing down your cheeks. I was scared that you would choke on the milk, so sometimes I removed the bottle and straightened you up so that I could pat you on the back and make you swallow better. But each time I did that, you would crumple your face in spite and frustration, swing your arms around wildly, and then start shrilling. It hurt me to see you cry, every time. It hurt to know that perhaps something I did or did not did made you, this miraculous little being in my lap, cry.

You were not cooperating. Your head swayed back and forth, sideways and shook like you were high on anguish and pain. I knew you were in pain…perhaps from drinking too fast and too much too quickly, that it felt uncomfortable swallowing. You let out numerous loud sounding farts, and I could feel the rumble and explosions in your stomach and diaper. I tried to comfort you, pat you softly in the back, whisper soft words into your ears, kiss you on the forehead, stroke you on the head and on what little hair you have…but nothing helped. I even lifted you up, placed you on my shoulder, and together we flew to the hanging butterflies, but that didn’t help either. You were restless, unhappy, hurting and confusing me.

For a couple of moments I felt myself loose patience. I felt I wanted to just leave you there and let you be, let you cry and shrill to your heart’s content….but I couldn’t. Your jerked your head up and down like a loose spring, your little arms and hands fought and scratched like a wild cat in captivity and your feet kicked invisible footballs you saw on my stomach. Then I saw the gaze in your eyes. It captured the dim glow of the lamp brightly, and again I saw my own reflection in your bright pupils. What happened to the quiet and calm you a few days before? Was I as unruly and loud as you when I was a little baby? Did I wreak terror upon my parents and leave them slumbering in the middle of the day and shaking from exhaustion in the middle of the night? And compassion took over me, as the frustration and tiredness subsided. However more you struggled and fought, you are only a baby. It’s not your fault to wake up at unholy hours and feel hungry. It’s not your fault to scream and cry whenever you feel uncomfortable. It’s my duty to find out what’s wrong with you, and to take care of you. Because you are a baby.

As soon as I slid the bottle into your beckoning mouth again, the crying would immediately stop, and the sucking sounds would continue. This went on, and on and on, and on. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty minutes…eventually after more than an hour of continual struggle, of trial-and-error, of trying to figure out what you wanted, what position you felt comfortable in, you finally relented. You had somehow tired yourself to sleep.

I placed you softly on the bed, covered you little body and little arms with your little blue blanket. I lied down next to you, and watched you. A slight snoring echoed next to us as your mum lay fast asleep.

I watched you, and was touched again by you. You closed your eyes slowly and your little arms and feet stopped struggling. And you nodded off to sleep. I watched you, our faces mere centimeters apart. I could feel you breath, soft and warm, brush against my nostrils.

Sleep overcame me too.