Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Growing Up

"Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well, I won't do that" ~ Walt Disney

My dearest E.,
Since my last post here, I've realized how grown up you have become. The amazing rate of your growth astounded me so immensely that I can barely put into words how proud I am of you, and how much more I love you with each passing day. At the tender age of 17 months, you are intelligent and wise, compassionate and loving. I honestly do not know how you've learnt this. I'd like to think these traits are inborn and not learnt.

When I look at you these days, sometimes I want to just shout, "No, please, don't grow up so quickly!" A huge part of me wants you to be a little girl, my sweet baby forever. So that you will always love me unconditionally and depend on me for your every single need. Another part of me reprimands myself for being selfish, to want to keep you this way to satisfy my own need for love. But you're growing up, and beautifully. I cannot ask for more.

I cannot express in words how your antics make me laugh, make me cry, make me want to freeze in eternity these beautiful moments we have together. I love it when you brush my hair for me before we sleep at night, the way you stroke my face and kiss me when I sing you a lullaby. I love it when you insist on feeding yourself, and get angry with me for trying to help you out. I love it when you dance with such abandon when you hear music or your favourite songs. I love it when you call me Fatty, I don't care how rude it is! I love it when you jump up and down and shriek when you see me after a long day. I love it when you try to bang the keys of my piano, your eyebrow furrowed as you try to stretch your little fingers over the smooth ivory keys. I love it when you're angry and tired and throw a tantrum. I love how you're gentle and attentive when I'm ill, it's as if you know how bad I feel inside and out, and you stroke my hand to comfort me. How can I say this- that no matter what you do- I love you! I love what you do, each and every single thing.

I love watching you grow up. But promise me this one thing, E.?- that no matter how much growing up you do, that you will always remember and cherish your childhood, and know, that it is ok to miss being a little baby and that sometimes, acting like a child is perfectly normal because you keep your memories and learn to be more human.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Impermanence

"This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain." ~ Buddha


My dearest E.,

Although you are young and tender of age, you will soon understand that our lives are impermanent. Beautiful soft milky skin will become wrinkled and loose someday. Thick black hair will unveil itself in 60 years as a delightful shroud of white clouds. But this just isn't about you. It is about all of us. What you see in me now, wasn't the way it was 10 years ago. I was younger, prettier, had lively skin and dancing eyes. Now I grow older by the day, feeling my age not only in my bones, but also in my soul. And one day, I will no longer be on God's beautiful earth in this form.

But that doesn't make us less beautiful people. Or less human. We must rejoice for the chance at having lived at all.

When I was a child, your grandmother, my mother, tried to make me understand how life is impermanent. All living things will die someday, but that's not a bad thing. On the contrary, it just means that those living things have evolved into a higher state of being. And perhaps, happiness. She always taught me never to fear death or illness, or losing people I loved. Because it was an inevitable part of life which I must learn to accept. And with acceptance that all things are impermanent, we let go of the grief that binds us when we attach ourselves to our worldly pleasures.

I will confess now that I'm never much good at accepting this impermanence thing. When I was 12, my beloved German Shepherd, Queenie, passed away. When I was 14, my lovable mongrel, Tubby, ran away from home. When I was 28 and before your father and I were married, my dearest grandmother left our world to join the shadows of the next. When I was 29 and expecting you, the then-apple of my eye, in the form of my majestic Rottweiler, Nicky, passed away. All these times, I cried and cried, never for once wanting to accept that people I had loved so dearly were now gone from this world.

But I cried most of all 2 days ago. When your grandfather, my father, my hero, my idol, had a relapse of his heart condition in the hospital. I cried when the cardiologist told me he had a weak heart, and may not be able to withstand the trauma of surgery to remove his appendicitis. I cried when I saw him sleeping in the intensive care unit, drips attached to his hands, breathing labouredly. But I never once cried before him. I loved him, supported him, held his hand throughout this terrible ordeal. I never allowed him to see my tears, or how crushed my life would be without him. I needed to let him know that I was strong and there for him, and even if he were to leave us, that he could count on me to carry on his legacy. He was given another chance, your grandfather, because today, he is resting at home, happy to be with family, weak but recuperating. I cannot be happier. That he was not taken away from me.

This is the impermanence I most hate to face. That someday he will leave. He is not a young man, and has an old, damaged heart. Years ago, I told him that if I could give him my heart for him to continue life heartily, I would gladly do so and face death happily. But now, I have you. And you need me just as much as I need him. So I cannot give him my heart even if I wanted to. I cannot give him my heart because he will never hear of it, anyway.

His light brush with the danger of death looming was a horrible one for me. Although it has passed for now, and things are looking up and the sun is shining, that terrible day will come someday. I cannot ever be prepared for it.

Hence, your lesson, E.? What do you glean from this?

That it is ok not to want to accept the state of impermanence of things, so long as you understand this to be the way of the world. That it just is. That it is ok to be human and cry, and to drown in your feelings, if that will help you. That it is ok to tell someone you love them every single day.

That even if we lose someone we love on this Earth, we never really do lose them at all in our hearts. And that is the truth.