Am I a good mom?

I wake up and wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid devastated over life’s disappointment

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid heart-broken over a relationship

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid in pain from sickness

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid strongly opinionated

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid fiercely independent

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at my kid struggling with self doubts

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

I look at her ready to spread her wing to embrace life’s adventures

And I wonder

Am I a good mom?

Have I taught her to fly?  Have I prepared her well?

As I go to bed

I pray nothing more than to be a good mom

 

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Message to my daughter who did not get into her ideal college

My daughter went through college applications and applied to many of the top colleges. She wants to study film and we are happy to support her pursuit of her dream.  However, she was not accepted to many of her choices.  She was devastated.  She was disappointed with the outcome and in some ways with herself.  She felt she was not smart.  She went through serious self-doubt during this period.

As a mom, it hurts to see her down.  As Asian parents, we tend to want our kids to get to top colleges so we can brag about their accomplishments to friends and family.  Academic success is still seen as a highway to success in life and a ticket to wealth.  I realised this is my ego talking and this is us, as parents super-imposing our hopes onto our kids.  Whatever is the outcome, my role as a mom is to support her and it is during this difficult time that she needs my love more than ever.

First of all I would like her to know she is a smart young lady.  Not getting to her ideal college is one of many challenges she would face in life.  What I want her to remember is that when you fall, you have to pick yourself up.  People around you can cheer you but it is up to you to get up, shake off the dust, wipe those tears, and continue to walk towards your destination.  Simply giving up will not help you reach your goal.  Staying put and not wanting to try again because you are afraid to fail will not help you fulfil your dream.  We all go through ups and downs in life.  What matters most is to keep trying.

That said, there are many ways of trying.  It takes a combination of working hard and working smart.  It takes setting a goal and making plans to achieve those goals.  It takes good time management and focus.  It may require reaching out to others for help.  It may require listening and learning from others.  It may mean reading and researching. Simply working hard without a strategy is not impactful.  And it took me decades to realise my own mistake of believing that simply working hard will help me with my goals.  Combing dedication and grit with a strategy is far more impactful.

It is important to be forward looking; put aside self-doubts, self-pity and just move on.  Yet I feel it helps to take a peek over our shoulder and reflect on what we have not done or what we have done that resulted in us tripping over.  The purpose is not for us to indulge in the past, it is for us to learn from the past so we can avoid making the same mistakes going forward.

What I want my daughter to know is not to give up on her dreams.  Dreams are precious.  What my primary school teacher told me when I was still this little girl in pony tail and pinafore is to aim for the stars.  Even if you do not get those stars, you will come close enough.

My daughter, I will cheer you throughout your journey and I am excited to see how the future unfolds for you.  I am sure with every step, you will become a stronger and better person.

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Thankful 

Feeling your warmth next to me

Waking up to your familiar face

Overwhelmed by a sense of peace

I am thankful


Tip toeing to give a peck on my kid’s cheek 

Amazed how fast he has grown 

Overwhelmed by motherly pride

I am thankful 


Listening to my daughter making a point

Impressed with the young lady she has become 

Amused by her lingering childishness 

I am thankful


Coffee in hand

Book on my lap

Surrounded by my loved ones

I am thankful

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Life’s little bumps

One of our breakfast conversations was sharing the most difficult moment of our lives.

For someone, it’s getting knocked over and being unconscious for five minutes over a hockey game.  A good five minutes that seemed longer and I can imagine the agony of his loved ones waiting for him to get up from the field, worried sick. And how thankful he must have felt when he opened his eyes and realized he is alive.

For another, it’s losing his mom when he was sixteen.  Regardless of your age, no one is ready to lose their moms.  You lose a big chunk of your past when you lose your mom.  You lose one of the few persons in this world who loves you unconditionally.

For a girl grappling with being a teen and testing the water of adulthood, it is moving to a foreign country, having to start all over again making friends in a new school and having to adapt to a new environment.  The uncertainty was overwhelming. 

For another boy, it was breaking his leg during an accident and being told to toughen up and “be a man”.  It is more than the physical pain, it is the rejection that comes along with it.  The feeling that you do not have the support of your loved ones.  The nagging feeling of not being loved.

For a single mom, it is the fear that comes with losing her job.  It is the bruised ego along with the fear of not be able to support her loved ones.

Despite the topics, the discussion was light and we laughed over some of the situations.  It reminded me that we are resilient creatures. We all survived.  As they say, “without the rain, there is no rainbow”.  I choose to believe that we become better person with every bumps along our journey.  For that, I am thankful.

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A simple day

A simple day

A glorious summer day 

A day to sit by the terrace

A day to walk in the park

A day to bask in the sun

A day to have a little chat

And some quiet time 

A day to be merry 

A day to be remembered 

And most of all, a day to be thankful 

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Sunny afternoon 

Overlooking the river, sipping an icy glass of strawberry cider and doing nothing.  The Europeans love the sun, first opportunity they race to bask under the heat.  Being Asian, my skin hurts from the sun and I worry about freckles.

Nonetheless, it is a beautiful day.  Gorgeous view of the water rising towards      the shore.  The pub by the river is full of families, couples and friends laughing, chatting and enjoying the afternoon sun.

Doing nothing and just enjoying the moment is an art.  Often, we rush from one activities to another.  I learn to take it easy, to just be, to not rush and to not plan for the next thing.  

For this moment I am with and the company I am with, I am thankful.

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How much do we need to be happy?

I was fortunate to be invited to someone’s house in the outskirt of London for a BBQ yesterday. Taking the train heading outside the city, we passed through fields after fields and spotted a palace in the far away hill top. I felt my mood lifting up by the clear blue sky and fluffy clouds.

We settled at the backyard of the cottage basking ourselves in the sun enjoying the view of beautiful horses grazing in the field while having a feast of grilled meat and glasses of wine. The company was a mix of serious adult conversation largely distracted by the adorable ten month old baby boy. I felt happy. Happy to be surrounded by friendship and love, and happy to be surrounded by such beauty of the land. We took a late afternoon walk picking apples to feed the neighbour’s pigs and going to the berry farms to taste fresh strawberries. I am awed by the beauty of a little yellow beetle resting on a young strawberry and the white flowers growing amongst the strawberry shrubs. It was a day to be remembered.

I realise that we do not need “things” to make us happy. Love, friendship, beauty of nature, giggle of a baby, scent of fresh fields, beauty of expanded blue sky blending into the never-ending green of the fields and all the simple things in life are what matter most.

I feel thankful. I feel happy. And I feel alive.

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Yoga and compassion

Yoga teaches me to be compassionate.

Today in class, the guy next to me gave up after the standing series and rested on his mat. I was feeling charged up and the class seemed easy for me. Instead of judging him for being weak, I recalled my class last week. For whatever reason, last week’s class was challenging for me. I was nauseas and felt sick before we hit the floor series. I went through the motion unwilling to walk out of the class. My ego did not allow me to quit. On the other hand, a little voice told me to be gentle with myself. I practised compassion towards myself. I rested in between poses. I forgave myself for not being the perfect student in class that day.

So today, I felt compassionate towards that guy next to me. I have seen him coming to class regularly over the last few years. He had overcome cancer and other physical inabilities and is now a healthier person. It would have been so easy to label him as a quitter but being in a yoga class teaches me to accept my vulnerabilities and the vulnerabilities of those around me. We all have our baggages that we carry. Coming to yoga practice gives us the chance to put aside our baggages and focus on ourselves. And it teaches us to be gentle to ourselves and to those around us.

Namaste.

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Complacent or contentment?

I told a friend that I am concerned I am getting complacent. I used to have a target I am working towards for my career. Whether it is another promotion, another role or even the chance to work overseas, I had something I set my eyes on and would put in the hours. They come with both disappointments and celebrations; all at the expense of long hours and other sacrifices. Now, my personal life is peaceful, no more dramas that used to leave me broken. No more wishing for something to end or to start.

I am in a good place in life. I can actually consider myself happy. May be I am not complacent? May be I am contented; contented with where life has taken me. May be this is a phase where I am at my dock, recharging for the next cruise that life is taking me. I should simply enjoy the moment. I am so used to fighting through life that I have forgotten that life does not have to be difficult.

Now is the time to love life and to spend time loving those closest to me. For I am contented.

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All things shall pass

The view facing the chedis and prang is spectacular. Listening to the chirping of the birds and the wind chimes ringing away with chanting faintly coming across the river.

Walking among the ruins, I am impressed by the grandness of Ayutthaya. It was a strong kingdom in its time, yet it is now but another fallen cities along with many others around the world. I am no student of history and will not discuss the reasons for the downfall of this ancient city. What I have learned though is that nothing is permanent. Even the greatest kingdom of its time will one day meet its end. When good things happen, savour and enjoy the moment. Be thankful and along the way spread some kindness. When the roads are bumpy, just cruise along with grace.

Remember, all things shall pass.

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