The clock struck at midnight and the first thing you did was to come into my room to wish me a Happy Birthday. You have done so unfailingly for many years, even when I was in London, even when there was a time difference. I could always count on you to make my birthday special.
Ma, little do you know that this year, I feel somewhat different on my day. I am now a mother, and you, a grandmother to my daughter. For years, I have wondered about childbirth and what it would be like to raise a child. For years, I watched you care for each one of us, not knowing how tough it is for you. For years, I have taken you for granted. I have only been a mother for three months and boy, has it been a challenge! I finally have the faintest idea as to what you went through in the early months of our lives. I say faintest, because Ma, I am only just coping because I have help. You, on the other hand, toiled and slaved through motherhood without any. I don’t know where and how you find the strength to do so, but I am glad you did, because without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
On my birthday, Ma, I want to thank you for giving me life. For feeding and making sure I am healthy. For putting up with the sleepless nights. For singing nursery rhymes and hymns to me when you shampooed my hair. For keeping the suds out of my eyes when you did so. I want to thank you for all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you made. For taking me to school and taking me home afterwards. For bringing me to the playground and the EPB bookshop to pick up classics like The Little Women, and The Prince and The Pauper even though we were cash-strapped. For teaching me right from wrong, and for putting up with me when I talked back. For teaching me how to love, to always look within myself and do some soul-searching instead of blaming others when things go awry. For kissing my forehead and taking me in your arms when my world came crashing down, and for sharing my joy when I achieved something in school, at work, and in love. I want to thank you for doing all that and more, and I am still amazed that you love me without any resentment.
Ma, 30 years ago, you suffered much pain to bring me into this world. Today, you love my daughter deeply, as much as you love me. I have much to learn from you in the years to come. I aspire to be the selfless and loving mother that you are and I hope that I can give Faith the kind of life that you have given me.
Today is my day, as much as it is yours, and I have never ever thought to thank you till this day. So, Happy Birthday, Ma.
I love you.
Your baby girl.