10.10.10. This is the day I've been looking forward to ever since university life started back in 2007. The day I'll be the joke of the day by posing at a studio/room with the ever popular book rack picture as background. I used to chuckle every time I saw people smiling in front of a fake background. Well, it'll be me soon, and I'm going to laugh at myself.
My boyfriend and I queued up real early just to get our robes, and alleluia, we finally got ours at 1.45pm. 5 hours of agonizing wait. I made fun of myself of how short I look like when I put the robe on. But, oh well, better than nothing. 2010 is really a significant year for me, as the 3 most important things in my life will happen in a row.
10th: My convocation. 12th: My 22nd birthday. 13th: 5th year anniversary with my beloved. It has been THAT long, half a decade. It still amazes me.
But, what I'm really anticipating for is my graduation. 3 years of work and play had finally paid off. How I wish my mum was here. We were very excited about my graduation during our trip to KL last December, and she mentioned that she would buy matching outfits with my dad. She'd also do her hair in a salon, and buy some real nice shoes for this occasion. It happens once, she said. My mum was a very simple woman, to her, salons and boutiques are not necessary. She'd cut her hair at a rundown salon for less than RM10 and her shoes were all Bata. Comfortable. Her makeups consisted of a few lipsticks, a compact powder and an eyeshadow kit, all from Avon. Those were the only makeups she used everyday.
She taught me one thing that I'll pass on to my children in the future; the value of earning something that you have worked for. She had lived a hard life and she spent 98% of her salaries on her 2 kids. The other 2%? She'd buy herself a real cheap panty. Growing up with her, she would always tell me that, if I want certain luxurious things in life, I'd have to work hard. By working hard, it all came down to studies. It was not much to ask.
I was in Kuning class in Primary 1, 2 and 3, and being in Kuning class kind of meant you were not as bright as those in Biru or Merah class. But in reality, those who were born in the month of September until December would be assigned to Kuning class. So, I worked hard to get myself a spot in Merah class. I did, and she gave me a whole lot of stickers and 2 sticker books. I was a huge fan of stickers back then. I had them until Primary 6, where they got taken away when I brought them to school.
Primary 6 came with a bigger deal. I'll get you a computer if you get straight A's, she promised. I did not study much before UPSR, but I got my straight A's. I was amazed. A few weeks later, a Compaq computer was placed neatly on one corner of my house, and I had a pink colored plastic chair with my name written with a blue marker on it.
Some of my friends had cellphones when I was in Form 3. I told her about it, and she said, straight A's first. Predictable. So, I studied hard 2 weeks before PMR, making sure I could remember every single thing from every single revision books. I did it again this time; straight A's. She gave me a Motorola cellphone that had a cute antenna. I felt cool, because the trend at that time was small phones.
Form 5 came, and I was nursing a broken heart a few months before SPM.
Screw you, jerk. Right before SPM started, I met my boyfriend and she was concerned that I'd neglect my studies. She'd pick me up at Civic Centre's library and whenever she saw my boyfriend around, she'd remind me to focus on my SPM. When the results came out, I let her down as I did not achieve straight A's, but a smile was then plastered again on her face when I got accepted into matriculation in Labuan a few months later.
After I had finished my matriculation, I learnt that she had used up almost half of her savings for me. She did not complain, she only said, I just want to see you graduate in a square hat. When I got my first Dean's list in the first semester, she brought the whole family out for a seafood dinner.
As I entered my final year as a university student, I told her that I was thinking of traveling to somewhere nice after my graduation. She was reluctant at first, but then she agreed. We talked about graduation and my plans after that quite often at the evenings after she came back from work. She turned 50 last year, and she had some money from her first EPF account, so we planned a getaway to KL. She had always wanted to see what KL was like since 1994. We went to KL in 1994 and it was still kind of laid back.
That trip felt like an early graduation gift. Now when I lay down in bed thinking, God really has plans for everyone. He had planned that my mum would live to see me going through the crucial phases in life and to make sure that I could stand through the pain, unwavering. She had lived to teach me how to be strong, and to be independent.
She had lived to see me turn 21 years old. The very age that everything is legal.
I can still remember her expressions as we talked about graduation. About my birthday. It hurts every time it crosses my mind that she would not be sitting between hundreds of proud parents in the hall. It hurts every time when I think that she would not get me a bouquet of flowers. It hurts every time when I think that she would not be around to look back at the pictures we would take that day and smile at me.
It hurts the most, knowing that she would be absent from my graduation family photo.
One simple thing many people tend to miss.
It hurts every single day, and I'm fighting it. I miss her. The pain I have in my heart is what that keeps me strong. It's me getting myself together, because there are millions out there who are feeling the same way.
One year is coming to an end, and birthdays come and go.
But for me, the greatest birthday gift is having a mom, who believes in you and encourages you for the better.
And a mom whose laughter you can never forget, it's like an echo at the back of your head.