My mother and I hardly agree on anything. In fact, we disagree on almost everything. For as long as I can remember, my mother and I have been like the opposite poles of a magnet. North Pole and South Pole. Hot and cold. Mountain and valley. High and low. Night and day. Black and white.
I did not understand the reason why we resisted each other until I attended a workshop on communication behaviours and styles recently. I now understand the way we interact with each other is just a product of our communication behaviour. There are four communication quadrants that determine our communication behaviour and styles. Some people are controllers, some are analysers, some are promoters and some are supporters. I now recognise it is just a different way of communicating.
Being in quadrant neither makes one right nor wrong and neither makes neither one a good nor a bad person. Each of us all is different, just like the weather. As English writer, John Ruskin puts it, “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
On that note, someone old and wise told me once, that the day I forgive my mother is the day I grow up. It has taken me so long to come to THAT day but thanks to this workshop, I am glad I arrived before it is too late. I want to acknowledge my mother by writing about her for the whole world to know, while she is still living to read what I wrote about her. I do not want to miss this train.
My mother and I may have many disagreements between us. Despite all that melodramas, I still think of my mother as the best mother in the world. My mother calls me her favourite daughter. It is very gratifying to know that, regardless of knowing that I am, in fact, her only daughter. Even so, I will return the flattering compliment with equal devotion. She is my favourite mother, even though I know she is the only mother I have.
What I remember most about my mother is her hands.
My mother’s hands are not the most beautiful hands I have seen – they are short, thick, meaty and square. Nevertheless, I know those hands are the pillars that nurtured and strengthened me. These are the hands that rock the cradle. These are the hands that made my life beautiful.
These are the hands that cooked my favourite dishes. These are the hands that pat me on the back when I was being a good girl. These are the hands that spanked me when I misbehaved. These are the hands that assuaged my fears when I was afraid. These are the hands that held me tenderly and protected me from harm. These are the hands that wiped my tears when I broke down and cry. These are the hands that assured me when I felt vulnerable.
I know that I was always in the best care when in my mother’s hands.
The more I think about my mother’s hands, the more my love grows for my mother. Through those hands, I understand humanity – of love, of care, of responsibility and of accountability. Those are the hands that taught me the meaning of sacrifice and compassion. Those are the hands that showed me how to be charitable to those in need. Those are the hands that inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others.
These are the hands that made me what I am today. These are the hands that moulded me into a good girl and steered my journey in becoming a great woman.
When I held my mother’s hand yesterday before I kissed her good night, I suddenly remembered these beautiful song lyrics by Debi Smith from the “Four Bitchin’ Babes” album:
When I saw my mother’s hand,
I have my mother’s hands
And I have my mother’s voice
And I have my mother’s eyes,
Though I have a daughter’s choice
I thought I carved my own life
In unknown, uncharted lands
I never thought I’d look down and see my mother’s hands. I wanted to be my own self I thought I knew it all
I’d stomp and buck and whinny, like a young colt in a stall
And I bet I was a handful, thought I didn’t understand
I was always in the best care when in my mother’s hands The other night I lay dreaming that my mother held my face
She kissed me on the forehead
And then she took her place
Among the mothers and the daughters
In the ever-changing sands
One by one their time had come when they’d soon understand
They all had their mothers’ hands
Yes, I realised now that I too, have my mother’s hands. My own hands remind me of my mother’s hand. When I look at my own hands, I see the same short, thick, meaty and square shape. I used to hate the shape of my hands because I had wished for long and slender hands. Now I have come to love my hands now because they look like my mother’s hands, and I now understand what my mother’s hands mean to me.
As I look at my own hands, I learned by heart the contours of my mother’s hands. As I my hands touched my heart, as my mother has touched my heart, I know I am my mother’s favourite daughter, as much as my mother knows that she is my favourite mother.
I never thought I would look down and see my mother’s hands – and my mother’s strength, dexterity, and resourcefulness – in my hands. I made a promise to my mother that I will use the power of my hands as well as she used hers. With my hands, I will carry the torch of my mother’s love, compassion, passion and dreams.
From her heart, through her hands, she shares her love. And with my heart, through my hands, I share my love.