Many of us are guilty of taking the best things we have for granted–like the love of our mothers.
The ones who cleaned up our poop-laden diapers; the ones who were more worried about our PSLEs than we ourselves were; the ones who nag at us tirelessly because of love.
If you think about it, the sheer number of sacrifices our mums have made for us is incredible. There are so many things our mums have done for us that perhaps, no one else ever will.
This Mother’s Day, we called for Singaporean millennials to share what they appreciate most about their mums. Of the hundreds of heartfelt entries, here are 14 deeply heartwarming stories that truly epitomize the deep, unconditional love of our mothers.
* Stories have been edited for brevity and clarity.
1. “She held on till she knew I was in good hands, before she passed on”
I lost my mum in January. She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She spent her last 18 years on kidney dialysis, went through several surgeries and I can’t even count the number of times I almost lost her at the hospital. She gave my siblings and I the best she could, despite the fact that we were very poor since young–giving her best not in terms of material riches but in her love and care. She is my mentor and my lighthouse.
The doctor said she would pass away in January this year, but she held on to life just so she could come back home in an ambulance to witness my boyfriend’s proposal to me. She passed peacefully the day after and I know she had been waiting for that moment, to know that I will have my other half to take care of me. My mom will always be in my heart.
2. “She splurged on an apple for me when she managed to earn a little more”
She was a strict mum who brought up 10 children. The most memorable incident was the day she managed to make a little bit more cash from her sewing jobs and bought me an apple. She said to me, “Tin, make sure you finish the whole apple, don’t waste.” She even polished off the balance when I couldn’t finish the whole apple, saying to me that we “must treasure every single food we have.”
My mum passed away three years ago at the age of 92. Till today, I still miss her a lot.
3. “She surprised me in hall just to have dinner with me”
During my finals period, I stayed in hall for 3 weeks straight just to prepare for my examinations. I was feeling super stressed out not because I didn’t study, but because I had anxiety. My mum surprised me when she came down all the way to Boon Lay on a weekend night just to visit and eat dinner with me because she missed me!
I felt super touched because I missed her as much as she missed me. I was so glad to be able to catch up with her over dinner. She reminded me not to over-stress my mind and body, and also to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and healthy. I felt like I was the luckiest daughter on earth because that meet up definitely made me feel so much better.
4. “When I was heartbroken, my mum was equally sad”
I was really heartbroken for several days over stupid things back then. Seeing me so heartbroken affected my mum’s mood also. My mum is not someone who is good at expressing her feelings towards us, so she dropped me a text telling me how much she loves me and that she wouldn’t want to see me sad. It made me realise I should do my part as a daughter and give my parents the best of everything.
I really appreciate all the support my mum secretly gave me without me realising.
5. “Her nagging saved my life–twice”
I really appreciate my mom’s nagging. Being the scatter-brain that I am, her constant “reminders” are just what I need. In fact, there are times when her nagging turned out to be my life-savers. Once, when I was cooking, I almost dropped the knife and cut my foot because I mindlessly placed the knife at the edge of the basin after using it. Another time, I almost lost my iPhone after buying food.
It was only when I remembered my mum’s nagging that I managed to avoid both scenarios. Now that I am living alone, I miss her nagging even more.
Every child thinks it’s annoying when your mum nags at you but especially in an Asian society, where we seldom say “I love you” to express our love to each other openly, it’s our mums’ way of showing their love.
6. “She gave up her beauty and youth for her 3 kids”
My mummy is selfless. Even when she’s only left with $20 in her pocket, she will not mind sparing some for her kids. After looking at photos from when she was a teenager, I asked her why her skin wasn’t as good and why her teeth wasn’t as white now, and her answer just broke my heart.
She said, “I’m too busy taking care of the three of you.” She was so beautiful in her youth, and definitely still is, inside and out. I’m so afraid to see her grow old. Even though I don’t really express it to her, I love her so much.
7. “She wakes up at 5am to make us breakfast everyday”
One thing I really appreciate is how my mummy always goes the extra mile to prepare breakfast for us before school every morning at 5am. As a housewife, she could always wake up any time later but she makes a conscious effort to choose our happiness over her sleep everyday.
After JC, when I spent the weekdays at home, I would see her waking up to prepare breakfast and going to sleep only after my brother leaves for school. It was only then that I realised that she would wake up early just to make breakfast for us. I was so touched and it made me realise that I should truly appreciate the small things she does for us.
8. “She carried me from the east to the west to see a doctor”
When I was young, I had a weak constitution. Even after going to several clinics, I didn’t recover. A neighbor recommended this doctor, and we had to travel from the east to the west to see him. She carried me on the bus and had to walk quite a bit.
Through it all, she wasn’t in good health herself. Every night, she had to apply plasters all over her body to help her with her bodily ailments from working at rubber plantations. She suffered worry-filled, sleepless nights. I am so grateful to her. If it wasn’t for my mother’s persistence and patience, I may not be able to grow up healthily.
9. “She rejects allowance money because she wants our kids to have the best instead”
My mum worked day and night just to make sure my brother and sisters have a good education. After reaching home from work, she had to do all the household chores. She also tries her best to tutor us even though she is not highly educated.
Now, she has 10 grandkids from 3 of us and she has taken care of all of them.
She has never wanted allowance from me for taking care of my 4 kids because she is always afraid that we do not have enough. She wants our kids to have the best instead. Besides ensuring their stomachs are filled, she even helps to ensure they do their homework and study for their exams. I really can’t thank her enough.
10. “She never gave up on us despite her own pain”
An affair resulted in an ugly divorce between my parents, and my mum got custody of us. However, things went downhill from there as they sold the house and she rented a small room to stay in with my brother, while I had to find accommodation on my own.
She could have chosen to just throw in the towel because of such a deep betrayal and hurt but she didn’t. Instead, she held the family together the best she could through all her anger and pain. Even when she was going through the divorce, she never failed to go to the wet market weekly to cook for us and ensure we got fresh and healthy food.
We’ve had terrible moments and emotional times but nothing will take away the fact that I have seen her steadfast, and I’ve received the unconditional love only a Mother can have for her children.
11. “She was so freaked out she carried me to the clinic for the second time”
Once, during my O-levels period, I had a severe gastric problem. I came home crying and my mum was concerned about what had happened to me. I had a paper the next day, so I wanted to study but I couldn’t. The pain was intolerable. After several attempts at convincing me to see the doctor, I finally gave in. My mum carried me because I could barely walk. She then went around pleading the people in the clinic to let me go first. After I got an injection, my mum carried me back home.
On the lift, I fainted. The next moment, I woke up to hear her crying and telling me to wake up. She was so freaked out that she carried me to the clinic again and asked for a referral to the hospital. But I didn’t want to go, and rested at home. She slept beside me the entire night to take care of me, despite having had just 3 to 4 hours of sleep that day. The very next day, she brought me to school for my paper and even told the teacher to take good care of me.
12. “She let me chart my own path”
Since I was old enough to start having memories, my mum would allow me to make my own choices in life. She listens and gives me advice but won’t impose her views on me. Instead, she brings a new perspective to issues when I confide in her and she gives me the freedom to chart my path even though from her own experience, I was expected to fail. It would have been easier for her to cushion me than bear the heartache of me failing but she believes that failing is part and parcel of learning.
When I have problems with difficult people, she encourages me to show empathy and compassion. I am often impressed by her magnanimity. I am most appreciative to have a wise mother who has shaped me into the independent woman I am today.
13. “My step-mum loved me like her own”
I grew up in a household where I had two mums living under one roof. My mum is my father’s second wife, and my step-mum was the one who looked after the house. She loved me like her own daughter. After I delivered two cute monsters, she loved them unconditionally too, as if they were her own grandsons. I’m so proud to tell people that I have a wonderful mother like her in my life.
14. “I am not a ‘model daughter’, but she still sings praises of me to others”
I was once an obedient and bright child. Then, I transitioned into a young delinquent. But even when I had dashed all her hopes of raising her “dream daughter”, she never once gave up on me.
I frequently got into trouble with authorities, slacked off on the books, and spent my time idling around with bad influence. From attending prize award ceremonies where she could be proud of my academic achievements to being called down by the school for my truancy, and waking up one day to find that I had run away from home… It was a lot of tears and heartache.
Since then, I have learned from my ways and am still trying to make it up to her up till today. I am still a girl that does not fit her standards of a “model daughter”. She would definitely not want me to have my tattoos and ostentatiously coloured hair if she had a choice. Still, she continues to shower me with her love everyday and sings praises of her kids in front of others.
Appreciate Your Parents
Our mothers sacrifice their whole world for us, but don’t forget our dads too. With Father’s Day just round the corner, spend some time thinking about how you can show Dad some appreciation too!