It was heartbreaking, the expression in mother's face this morning as she picked and cleared away the chilis in my fried rice. But what could I do. What could anyone do.
She said no child could ever repay their parents and the sacrifices made. They will simply move on and transform from a son or daughter, to a relative. They will probably call or visit now and then but they would mostly forget.
"It feels wrong if they are unmarried, and it feels wrong when they are married," she said.
"What do you expect?" I said.
She did not answer.
I ate my rice in silence. Thinking about all the things I wish I could say in my capacity as a mechanical voice of reason.
How could you not have thought about this, this moment in time when your children's wings would span tip to tip and take flight. How can you not feel pride and fulfillment at having brought them up so successfully. How could you have ever allowed yourself to believe that your children are your own possession, instead of a "titipan", an "amanah", a gift that is lent for a short while by God like everything else in life, as those preachers love to say. How could you not have thought of life as yours and yours only to make something of and be happy about regardless of your children. How can you ever be happy if your happiness depends on someone else. How can you measure your children's love (or suspected lack thereof) by the measure of your own happiness (and lack thereof). Lastly, how can you preach daily about praying to God to manifest gratefulness if you have never looked happy in our eyes.
But of course I could not say these cruel things. I am a daughter about to be married, and I have never been a mother.