Cooked some of dishes today that reminded me of Ah Ma. Regret not asking grandpa over.
Grandma was an exemplary homemaker. She could make every cent stretch and could remember the price of every single item she purchased in the market, be it a kilo of pork, a handful of garlic or a bunch of bananas. She used to chide my mother as mum would not be able to remember the price of a single item, no matter how hard she tried to recall. I inherited my mother’s genes 😀 (Haha, sorry mum.)
Ah Ma must have been the superwoman of her day! Having raised six children meant doing laundry for eight people, cleaning the home, cooking for eight, shopping for eight, caring for naughty children, a tired husband who spent a long day spray painting cars for a living… PHEW!
I regret not getting to know her better and spending time with her. The main obstacle was my immaturity and selfishness during my teenage years and also the barrier of not speaking fluent Hokkien to be able to converse with her.
She was a stroke patient for more than 10 years, but despite her limitations and frailty, she was determined to cook for her family. Eventually when she could not stand unaided, she would instruct her helper how to prepare our favourite dishes. It was really hilarious to hear her teaching the Indonesian maid in a smattering of broken Malay mixed with Hokkien and funny sound effects to describe how the prep and cooking process should go.
I feel so ashamed of myself when I reflect on my attitude back then. I remember coming home from school, greeting her, taking a quick look at the dishes and eating very quickly before disappearing into my room. Grandma’s eyes will always be on my plate, eyeing how much I ate.
Such is the sacrificial love of a mother/grandmother… They serve, they give, they love, tirelessly, days, weeks, months and years on end and many times without appreciation or acknowledgment.
Good Lord, what a brat I was back then…