Happy Mother’s Day!

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.

— Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and women who consider themselves mothers.

Today is Mother’s Day in Malaysia. It is a special day to appreciate mothers, who play an important role in one’s life.

As it is with the rest of the world, Mother’s Day in Malaysia is celebrated on the second Sunday in May every year.

Yesterday, I saw many colourful flower bouquets on sale at a supermarket and lots of Mother’s Day cakes on display at a bakery.

Although we should honour and respect our mothers every day, today is a special day to show our love for them.

Thanks to Western education, many of us are quite open about expressing our feelings for our close family members including our mothers. We will hug them and come Mother’s Day, many of us will order flower bouquets or cakes for our mothers.

Some of us will bring our mothers out to special dinners or give them special treats on this special day.

Blessed are mothers who have filial kids who honour them and show them their love today.

Some teachers I know used to impart the importance and significance of Mother’s Day to their students. During art classes, they would encourage their charges to make Mother’s Day cards for their mothers. On the actual day, the students would present the cards they had made to their mothers, thus making the day all the more memorable for both parties.

Until today, I still keep a Mother’s Day card that my son made for me aeons ago.

But, unfortunately, at this time of the year, schools are closed for most students because of the spike in Covid-19 cases. Maybe some students would continue to make Mother’s Day cards for their mums at home with the encouragement they get from their teachers during online classes.

Now, who qualifies as a mother and deserves to be respected and honoured today of all days?

Is it only the woman who gives birth to a baby and brings him or her up?

In this world, there are many children who grew up without knowing their biological mothers; they have either been abandoned by their real mothers or their mothers have died.

These children are brought up by their grandmothers, aunties and even their own elder sisters.

To me, a mother is not necessarily the woman who gives birth to a baby and brings him or her up.

To me, Mother’s Day celebration is for all women who were there to provide shelter, guidance and love for the children they raised.

Today, I remember my own mother who died about two months ago because of old age.

Today, I also remember other women who have guided and loved me as I was growing up, like my late grandmother who died about 40 years ago and my Aunt Catherine (my mother’s younger sister) who died two or three years ago.

Of course, I spent a lot of time with my own mother but I spent most of my year-end school vacations with my late grandmother and Aunt Catherine. They fed me and my siblings well and guided us when we stayed with them in the village.

If they were still alive today, I will not buy them flower bouquets but I will definitely bring them out for a special meal.

Looking back, the holidays we used to spend with our grandmother and aunt in Kanowit then were among the best times of our young, carefree lives.

Mother’s Day came early for me this year. Knowing that I had to work today, my son and his wife gave me an early Mother’s Day treat a few days ago. They took me out to dinner at a special eatery which served authentic Foochow delicacies.

No, I am not Foochow but I was born and raised in Sibu, mainly populated by the Foochows.

Because of that, I eat and cook a lot of Foochow food.

The next day, my niece, Ah Hong took me to a sushi restaurant. It was a Mother’s Day treat from the young lady; we both love sushi.

Ah Hong grew up in my house; my mother looked after her because her parents worked in Malaya and could not look after her. I was the one who signed her report cards and sometimes sent her to school whenever she missed the bus.

My dear friends, I am grateful for the Mother’s Day treats I received this year. To me, it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.

Once again, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and women who consider themselves mothers.