Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas memories

I write this while trying to complete my office work for today. I would hate to have to carry on working all the way till this evening! It's been a different kind of Christmas eve this year. One that's been quite stressful for me on the work front. It wasn't like that last year. I could take time off work and it was very quiet.

Nevertheless, I don't want my spirits dampened (a tough feat and it's been raining continually since the wee hours of this morning)!

So, I made a little mental exercise to think of all the happy memories that I've had in the past few years during this festive season.

Eight years ago this time, I was in London for a holiday. Spent some time catching up with some of my university friends. I was single and had quit my job, without any firm plans to find another job as I was burnt out! It was during this time in London that I renewed my friendship with DH whom I've lost touch with for years and well, look where we have ended up 8 years later. ;)

Six Christmas eves ago, DH and I were in Leicester doing some last minute Christmas shopping. One of the top priorities of our Christmas list was a diamond engagement ring! It took us hours to look for the right one (yes, DH is the practical sort. He rather that I see the ring myself than buy one himself without knowing whether I would like it or not). We were cold, hungry and very very desperate. We finally found a quaint jewellery shop called Lumbers. DH later shared that the cost of the ring was over his budget but when he saw how my face lit up when I saw it, he couldn't say no and bought it for me.

Five Christmases ago, I bought our first Christmas tree after marriage. My Dad and I had always put up the Christmas tree together and I wanted to have that tradition continue in my family. The same Christmas tree stands in our living room and this year, Osh Osh decorated it with lovely candy canes and plastic red mushrooms for the added colour!

Three Christmases ago, when Osh Osh was 5 months old, we had chosen one of his nicer photos and made it into Christmas cards to be sent to family and friends. We also had a few photos of him underneath the Christmas tree, lying on his front. It made him look like he was part of the Christmas presents. To us, he is indeed our greatest gift from God! I often forget that when Osh Osh kicks up a fuss and shouts. He didn't seem so much like a treasured gift at those particular moments!

Two Christmases ago, Osh Osh was baptized. He hated being wet but we all thought he was brave as he didn't cry. It was indeed another big milestone for him and for us.

Oddly enough, I can't remember much from last Christmas. Am I suffering from short term memory loss??
What I can hold close to my heart this Christmas are as follows: Osh Osh putting up the tree decorations with us; DH and I are settling down in a new church which we have just started going to this month, the love both sets of parents have for us, in helping us out to enable us to have some time to reconnect as a couple, the friends who have been there for us when the tough times hit us this year and lastly, DH and I have started praying again as a couple. The last item has been long overdue and I know some of you who read this will say, "PTL!"

As we remember the birth of our Lord this Christmas, may the reflection on his birth give each of us a renewed sense of hope and peace and a spark of inspiration, creativity and confidence to make 2009 a God filled, God driven year.
Blessed Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Yes, I'm back from my break to visit my parents. Right now, I'm in the office catching up on my own work and also covering my colleague's work. She'll be away this entire week so I'm pretty swamped. Luckily, it's the Christmas season so the workload is not as heavy as on normal days. However, trying to bring myself up to speed on my own work and looking after hers has left me quite exhausted and it's just barely past lunch time!

It was a good break. However, when we came home on Saturday afternoon, reality set in. I got short tempered again and quarrelled with DH yesterday. He was fed up and disappointed in me as we got along fine when we were away. What he said last night left me stunned. He said that he's too tired to carry the weight of the family on his shoulders. I didn't understand what he meant so I asked him quietly. He said he cannot be the only one trying to be cheerful and to lift me up each time I am down. I need to show him that I want to start being positive about things rather than whine and complain all the time. He's right. I always ask him to help me feel better when I am kicked in the gut, reeling over. It's a heavy responsibility on his part as he has his own worries involving work, studies and being a good husband and father. I often forget that and take him for granted.

I feel really bad right now as our argument yesterday tainted the end of a very nice holiday. We were both happy with each other and Osh Osh was really having a good time with my parents. I guess there is no one to blame for this except myself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ten arms!

A few mornings ago, on our way out to the car, Osh Osh was asking me to carry two of his Transformers toys, his school bag and him! I said to him, "Do you think I'm Four Arms?" Four Arms is one of his favourite Ben 10 characters which he absolutely adores, and yes, this character has surprise, surprise, four arms!

He grinned cheekily and replied, "No, you have Ten Arms!" I just laughed. He's so funny sometimes, especially when you least expect it. I was actually getting quite annoyed with him at that moment but after hearing his reply, the tension melted away.

Seriously though, I do feel like I have "ten arms" or rather it would be nice to have ten arms. Today, as DH is not home due to work, I had to multi-task - preparing dinner, washing clothes, giving Osh Osh a bath, making sure he finishes his dinner, pack his school bag, hang out the clothes, talk to him and play with him, tidy up the kitchen, fold the clothes, check today's mail, wash Osh Osh's potty, get him ready for bed, read his books, prepare his milk, brush his teeth, make sure he says his prayers (I ask him to think of things to thank God for each night) and after he's asleep, I tidied up the hall and exercised! Yes, I really wanted to fall flat on my face but if I didn't exercise, when would I find the time???

I know that there are a lot of women out there who are capable of doing immensely more than what I did today. I always admire such women as I am often struggling to stand on my two feet when the urge to crawl into bed and hide under the covers is so strong!

Well, I guess with more practice and the determination and passion for not wanting all the things in your life to come crashing down on you all at the same time, I'd make a pretty good juggler! Anyone know of any circus who would want me to join their troop?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Day of Communion

We have been trying out a new church for the past two weeks. We've not been attending church services for quite some time now. I guess we let DH's work and study schedule, my busyness with Osh Osh and certain personal issues, mainly anger, disappointment and rejection, get in the way of us attending church.

However, God didn't let us "off the hook" so easily. He's been prompting both DH and myself to resume church attendance. We have known of this church for quite a while now as it's near Osh Osh's school and much closer to home than our old church. So far, DH seems to enjoy the services. He finds the worship music there just right...not too loud and not too fast - yes, DH is one of the more conservative worshippers. The sermons that we've heard so far have been sincerely delivered and well thought out.

Osh Osh has been very well behaved in church. He played with his Transformer toys quietly and he patiently does his colouring while the pastor speaks. I carry him when we sing the hymns. He will ask questions about Jesus ("Why did Jesus cry?") and he recognized Amazing Grace (as we used to sing that to him before his bedtime when he was less than a year old).

Today, we had Holy Communion. Osh Osh was getting impatient and kept asking to go to the Fellowship Hall to eat 2 square biscuits (part of refreshments that the church provides with the free coffee and punch). I told him that Mummy and Daddy needs to go to the front to eat bread and drink wine first. He didn't quite understand but I promised him that he will get his square biscuits if he behaved himself.

He obliged and I carried him with me to the front of the church for the communion. He clung tight to me and gave me a big hug. At that particular moment, my heart was filled with so much love for him. I can't quite describe it in words but it just felt special...a special feeling and bond that both he and I shared as mother and son.

When I knelt down to receive the communion with Osh Osh standing beside me, I was pleasantly surprised that the pastor also gave Osh Osh his share of the bread and wine (i.e. round wafer and a small cup of Ribena). Osh Osh partaked in the communion by slowly eating his wafer and finishing his Ribena. I was so moved and he looked at me and said, "Can I have square biscuits now?". I had to stop myself from laughing.

Osh Osh was already baptized but he has never been involved in adult communion before. I'm very proud of him for being quiet and respectful when he was in front witn me. It was definitely a very memorable impactful moment for me and I'm sure for DH as well.
Today we had another type of communion at home. A closer fellowship in front of the tv! ;) DH has reserved the Wall-E DVD from the local video shop last week because it's a hot favourite now. Both DH and I have not watched it but Osh Osh had seen excerpts of it at school. So, Osh Osh was actually narrating the story to us for the first half hour. He knew when there would be "the fire" (from the spaceship landing) and when Wall-E's cockroach friend would make an appearance).
We had lunch while watching the DVD. It was a simple afternoon but a good family time together. I know people say that you shouldn't watch tv and have a meal at the same time. However, in this instance, we talked to each other while watching Wall-E, answering Osh Osh's questions, explaining some of the scenes to Osh Osh and laughed at the funny scenes. Overall, it was just a very relaxed, fun afternoon.
I think DH enjoyed Wall-E too although it wouldn't have crossed my mind that this would be the type of movie he'd enjoy. Who would have thought that a simple story about an innocent lonely robot wanting to find another robot just to hold its hand is so touching? I guess it drives home the fundamental fact that none of us, be it flesh and blood or wires and metal, wants to be alone. Life is much easier to handle when you reach out your hand and find another hand grasping it in return.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A happy moment

It's been another tough working week for me with a late night on Wednesday (due to work) and also a long meeting yesterday. I've not been spending much time with Osh Osh in the evenings this week. On Wednesday, when I arrived home, Osh Osh was already asleep and all I could do was just look at him in bed. Part of me wanted to wake him up so that I could talk to him but that's just very selfish of me as he needed his sleep and it was late. So, I didn't do anything. Honestly, I felt very sad that night. I also felt like a really lousy Mummy.

This morning, I could spare the time as I'm working from home and didn't have to "fight" with the human traffic in the morning "rush to the office" commute. DH and I dropped Osh Osh off at school together. DH couldn't stay long as he needed to get to work but I decided to linger on.

Osh Osh happily walked into the classroom (he's now moved up to a new class - Nursery) and two of his Nursery class friends were there, EN and Jan Jan. There were 2 other older kids (a boy and a girl) from the Kindy class in the play area as well. As it's still early, the kids don't go to their respective classrooms and hang out together for a while until the rest of their friends arrive.

The older girl was playing with Jan Jan, showing her how to thread round bead-like blocks into a long stick, with EN looking on. Osh Osh came and took a stick and sat down beside Jan Jan. He was just very happy and chatting away. He commented that the colour beads on the stick that Jan Jan made looked like an ice cream and Jan Jan smiled.

Then, the older boy flipped through his Power Rangers sticker book (now I know where Osh Osh discovered Power Rangers!) and Osh Osh beamed. He asked the older boy, "Why you have Power Rangers book?" and moved closer to look at the stickers. EN joined them too. So, all three boys hovered over the book while the 2 girls carried on playing with the bead blocks. Then one of Jan Jan's blocks rolled away and she just said to Osh Osh, "Go get it!"

To my surprise and amusement, Osh Osh immediately jumped up and ran to take the block, returning it to Jan Jan. Jan Jan said to me (I was just standing outside the room, looking in through a big window) and said, "My block roll away". I take it that was her way of explaining why she ordered my son to retrieve the block for her.

Yes, you guessed it. Osh Osh really likes Jan Jan. There was one point of time (almost a year ago) that all Osh Osh could talk about was Jan Jan. He was also very protective of her in that if I said something which he thought was negative about Jan Jan, he would become very angry. He's much better now in that he doesn't need to talk about her everyday! The power a woman, or a little girl for that matter, has over the man/boy who is crazy about her! ;) This really made me smile.

Osh Osh went to sit with the older boy and EN again. He saw me and smiled. Then he proudly told them that's his Mummy. They turned and looked at me and I smiled. Then, the older boy gave one of his Power Rangers sticker to Osh Osh. Osh Osh took it, stuck it on his left arm and said, "Thank you." I beamed.

Then the three of them carried on chatting about the Power Rangers stickers. I couldn't quite make out what they were saying but they were clearly engrossed by the book.

I decided to leave. As I walked to the train station to head home, I had a warm happy feeling inside me. My son is a happy sociable boy who has good manners plus he has a "girlfriend"! :) In a way, I'm assured that I can't be doing too bad a job as a Mummy. There are days when I doubt my ability as a parent. I believe this happy moment was given to me by God to let me know, "It's ok. You can breathe easy. Osh Osh is doing fine. Don't be too hard on yourself".

It's amazing how a simple moment like this can be bring such a powerful message to me.