Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be ~ Princess Diana

My dearest E.,

Look at you. I think you have the makings of a fine princess. I love that you have learnt to smile with poise and grace- I don't know where you've gleaned that from, certainly not me. I love that you sit like a lady on the throne of your stroller. And I love that you look tenderly regal, even though I've dressed you in a funky t-shirt, jeans skirt and white sneakers. And most of all, I love that you're friendly and sociable, and ever willing to smile at a passing stranger. When such love shines through your smiles, you melt hearts and in your own little way, make the world a slightly better place to be in.

Remember this: white is never an easy colour to carry off. Of course, white is beautiful, significant of freshness, purity, life, virginity. I never liked wearing white, although it's one of my favourite colours. I tend to look more life-like than I actually am, do you know what I mean? And white sneakers: never an easy thing to pull off also. White sneakers border on crazy-fun-punk-cool and geek-nerd-alert-creep. But you look beautiful in white sneakers. And white dresses too.

You are, after all, a little princess. You can believe in a Princess's dreams and all things sweet and nice. But imagine that you can make your own dreams come true, and it doesn't require a Prince to help you out with those dreams. A true Princess must be gentle, kind and loving, too, and I hope that when you grow up, you will not torment your subjects to harsh words, unkindly actions. Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill once said that "you can be a princess or the richest woman in the world, but you cannot be more than a lady."

Wouldn't it be nice if every little girl were a nice Princess?

On Gratitude

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us ~ Albert Schweitzer

My dearest E.,

I found many things to be thankful for today. Well, not only today- but for what has been handed to us so far. I must admit that I never took much time to think about these. My memory of gratitude was triggered by a sudden thought of you. Many times, as I nursed you, as we bonded in our love together, as we sat down to watch PlayHouse Disney Channel together, I was thankful.

But most of all, I was thankful that I had been blessed with your arrival. Thankful that you are mine. For I had been told, before you came, that I would not be able to have a child. Perhaps it is a miracle, and that I have been given the opportunity to realise my potential as a woman, as a mother. I must have done something right to please those above us. You are my miracle child: and you have changed my life in so many ways that I never thought possible.

I have a wonderful life. I'm happy and content. But I had never envisaged that there were still some things lacking in this wonderful life, which I have been so blessed to receive. You!

My darling E., we must always be thankful with what we have. For what we cannot or may not achieve this present day, look to it as your aspiration for the future. You must think of the less fortunate, spread your love and kindness to them, and learn to empathize. That makes you a complete human being.

Today, as I sit as my office desk, feeling tired and listless, I am thankful, though, that I have a well-paying job, that I do work I can enjoy and find passion in, that I have kind colleagues with whom I can communicate and connect with: and I think of the millions of other people out there who do not have jobs and thus, cannot feed their families and themselves. We bask in a life of lavishness, of moderate luxury- hence, we must never lose sight of ourselves. Our place in this world is transient. What means all the riches of the world, if we can never be happy or learn to appreciate that blessed opportunity?

My gratitude for life is marred only by one thing: that I cannot spend all the seconds of my time with you, and instead, find myself being away from you for hours at a stretch: 8, 10, sometimes 12 hours... and that I must work hard to give you the things you need to make your life more pleasant and complete. Oh, how I wished we never had to work for our living! But that is my ingratitude speaking.....

My sweetness, I cannot wait to go home and have you squeal in joy when you see me... To see you shuffling quickly on your little legs towards me, your arms outstretched for the comfort and love that only a mother can provide.

Of that, I am thankful for. That you deign to love me.

The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path

A person has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it, and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification ~ D.H. Lawrence

My dearest E.,

The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths, it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.

The Four Noble Truths
1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable
4. The path to the cessation of suffering

The Eightfold Path
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfullness
8. Right Concentration

And that is all I shall say, my dearest E. You'll be old enough to read and understand in due course.

The Ten Commandments

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom ~ Albert Einstein

My dearest E.,

As I have mentioned before, your father and I are of different religions. In fact, I don't know if you could call Buddhism a "religion": it's a misnomer and a misconstrued concept. Buddhism is, in fact, a teaching, a way of life. It doesn't impose on a person consequences if one does not follow through the teachings.

Your father and I are determined that you will grow up, embracing the beauty and teachings of both Christianity and Buddhism, and we will not impose on you to choose between these two. But as your mother, it is my duty to highlight to you the basic tenet of these two teachings, because religious grounding is the base of your existence, and shapes the person you become in the future. And we wish for you to become a good, moral person, regardless of your religious beliefs. I know that this sounds funny, because I will only be presenting to you the tenets of Christianity (the Ten Commandments) and the main teachings in Buddhism (The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path).

The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, are a list of religious and moral imperatives which, according to the Hebrew Bible, were written by God and given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. These commandments feature prominently in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

1. You shall have no other Gods but me.
2. You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Respect your father and mother.
6. You must not kill.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
10. You must not be envious of your neighbour's goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.

I will not elaborate further on the commandments, because I know you shall have formed your own mind about these commandments. You will be old enough by this time to read the Bible and all such scriptures and form your own mature thoughts about religion.

And I will not seek to clip your wings and hold you back from flying.

Full moon baby

Into the sunset's turquoise marge The moon dips, like a pearly barge; Enchantment sails through magic seas, To fairland Hesperides, Over the hills and away ~ Madison Julius Cawein

My dearest love,

Look at yourself here... You're only a month or less, I felt this tremendous need to protect you. You were so tiny and delicate, your head fit snugly into the palm of my hand. I want to protect you always, my beloved E. Even if you are 30 years old one day.

Some vivid memories

Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

My dearest E.,

I have vivid memories of our first few months together; when you were first finding your footing in this crazy world and learning to cope with all sorts of shibboleths, like your feelings, for instance. Feeling hungry, and you cry for me to cuddle you close to my body, and you turn your little face towards me like an open flower searching for a rainstorm. Feeling cold, when I've inadvertently turned the air-conditioning too high, and you cry for me to cuddle you close to my body, spreading my warmth to permeate your senses. Feeling scared and lonely, and you cry for me to lift you into my waiting arms, and lie you beside me, where we both dream the night away; for time is a sleeping bomb.

You were wont to lay awake until the wee hours of the morning, you little dear rascal. Your boundless energy, despite your tender age, left me weepy, tired, but joyous that I had the privilege of spending your extra awake-hours with you.

Your eyes have become the window to my existence. I was able to recognise your emotions, emphathize with your needs, communicate with you, my little angel: all with your eyes. We have a sense of connectedness, you and I.

Your father and I coined the nickname "Genghis" for you: like the legendary Genghis Khan who sought battles and fought wars to conquer Europe: because you were ferociously conquering when it came to feeds. You would cry for the comfort of my breasts, and I would offer them to you; and you would quieten down in sweet repose, your tiny mouth suckling vigorously, your delicate hand resting on my breast, as if to claim ownership. You were a little Genghis Khan yourself. Over time, your father and I, I'm sorry to say, bastardized the nickname, and it became "Gingis" which sounds much cuter, don't you think? We also called you our Little Houdini because you were a great escape artist when I tried to swaddle you, and you would struggle and try to break free. Oops, here comes a hand! And a foot...!

Oh, we had names for you, your father and I! Who could not have names for their beautiful daughter? You were chubby-cheeked, full of sweetness and grace, happiness and sociability, and you loved people and animals alike. Your fat little legs carried you from one place to another, and you began to crawl backwards as first, timorous as timber, but when you learnt to appreciate your sense of balance and direction, you were a little tornado. Our home was never the same again!

I have so many memories, my sweet, sweet E. They are all stored in the recesses of my mind, too many that makes me smile everytime I think of them. Too many for me to pen them down here.

As you grow a little more each day, each vivid memory of you fixes itself at the back of mind, like little dominos waiting their turn to be let out.