Thursday, October 08, 2009
A Grand Celebration
I received a call from Auntie Z and it was good news.
It was more like a redemption of sorts and it felt good that I received her call this time around and was available to be around too.
Well, it all started on Sunday evening...
All three of us had our once-a-month family dinner out... "rejoicing the paycheck" I receive every month... a family bonding time I like to do with them.
Sonny came back home to continue his revisions for his final year exams preparations. Wifey and I continued with our monthly grocery shopping at Giant Hypermart in Tampines Retail Park.
We only realized that I had four miss calls from Auntie Z on my cell phone when Sonny told us upon reaching home. She called Wifey's cell phone too, but Wifey left it charging in her study. Putting my cell phone in Wifey's purse was a bad idea.
"We'll do it next time, OK?" was Auntie Z's text message reply to me when I tried calling her after 10:30PM.
Auntie Z was with her family, taking Grandma whom we passionately call "Tok," for Raya visits.
Tok is not our maternal Grandma, a second wife to our late Grandfather from Mom's side of the family. Grandfather remarried when his first wife passed on due to poor health amid a non-existent healthcare system then during the Japanese Occupation in the second world war.
Mom lost her failing health mother at an innocent and tender young age of eight. Mom has a younger brother who lives in Malaysia with his large family but we seldom see him. He spends most of his life on a ship crossing vast oceans somewhere... following his father's footsteps.
Grandfather was a ship's captain, a high ranking position, much admired by many.
Mom recounted that she was so scared to gain a stepmother initially.
Yet Tok was nothing like the nasty and evil stepmothers the movies have long stereotyped them to be. Instead, she was the total opposite.
She was a loving and nurturing mother to Mom and surprisingly during those olden days, Tok was even like a friend to Mom... unheard of in Asian culture those days, I think.
Mom's years of ordeal and "slavery" living with other adoptive families while Grandfather was away in high seas finally ended when Tok became family. The ladies took care of each other since then.
They both love each other and are close even today. Watching them embraced each other when Mom went to visit her at her home was touching and endearing. They longed to see one another it seemed.
The miracle of telecommunication bridges these two wheelchair-bound ladies close that otherwise would not be possible since they are both apart geographically, at each end of the island.
Coming back to my celebration...
I am fortunate to have Tok to visit our home every year because we both live in Tampines. My other siblings would regard themselves blessed if Tok were to visit their home during Hari Raya visits because it is way off her usual route while visiting her siblings and own children.
To miss Tok this year was quite disheartening... until Auntie Z called on Tuesday to inform that she was coming with Tok.
In fact, Tok insisted that they come to my home before Auntie Z sent her back to her home with Auntie A, who like me, does not have our own car.
"Tok insisted that I send her to your home tonight before I can send her back." Auntie Z said over the phone laughing in disbelief that Tok put her foot down, insisting.
I was overjoyed and so honored upon hearing that. My Grandma insisted to make the visit that night instead of next year!
Wifey was thrilled to received them because it showed how much she misses us and likes our company.
Auntie A came along too upon learning Tok's request.
We served Chicken Murtabak... an Indian version of a pizza. We prepared fruit and vegetable salad among the many Raya cakes and cookies for them.
Bridging the year's gap, we chatted, told lots of jokes and enjoyed each others' company for the whole two hours that they were here.
I did not wait long to tell Mom all about it the next day.
It was such an honor, a Grand-ma celebration this Hari Raya.