Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Maternal Instincts

It’s funny how sometimes whatever it is that you’re doing or talking about leads you to think about something else you’d rather not think about.
            Like the time we were all gripped by a particularly gruesome episode of ‘The Following’ involving two blood splattered murderers making out in the shower and suddenly, it reminded Saffy that it was her turn to clean the bathroom that weekend. 
            Recently, we were all watching Hollywood Week on ‘American Idol’ and marveling at how weird some of the contestants were.
            “What’s with this hippie chick?” I piped up. “She’s very strange.”
            “What’s with her eyebrows?” Amanda added.
            “Wait, that’s a girl?” Saffy asked.
            “Well, this is girls’ week, so I guess that would make her a girl,” I said.
            Saffy blinked. “Huh. I would never have guessed.”
            Eyebrows Chick was eventually booted off though Saffy wished that she’d stayed longer for the novelty. “Really, I never would have picked her out as a girl!”
            “Can we talk about Mariah?” Amanda interrupted.
            “What about her?” Saffy said, reaching for the bowl of salted popcorn.
            “Is it me or has she put on some weight?”
            Saffy hit the pause button on the TV. Three sets of eyeballs scrutinized Ms Carey.
            “I can’t tell,” Saffy said eventually. “I'm hypnotized by her boobs. They’re practically coming out at me from the TV screen.”
            Amanda pulled out her iPad and looked up Mariah Carey on YouTube, and sure enough, there was a younger and considerably thinner Mariah belting out ‘Hero’.
            “My God, she’s half the size she is now! It’s like watching a different woman!” Amanda breathed.
            “I think it is a different woman!” Saffy said firmly, a comment that Amanda later said demonstrated just how seriously flawed Saffy’s sense of gender perception is.
            Leave it to Sharyn to put things into perspective.
            “Aiyah!” she cried out the next day in the middle of Golden Shoe when she met up with the girls for lunch. “That video is like ten years old! Ten years ago, you also thin what!”
            There was a pause as Saffy and Amanda’s brains caught up with what Sharyn was actually saying.
            Amanda dropped her spoon back into her bowl of meepok. “Excuse me, but are you saying that I’m now fat?”
            “No, I think she’s saying that we’re fat!” Saffy said helpfully.
            Sharyn looked serenely unperturbed. “And then she also give birth, leh? She got twins, right? You give birth to twins, I see you still got thin or not!”
            “I don’t see what that has to do with anything,” Amanda said stiffly. “Heidi Klum has at least four kids and she’s still walking around in her Victoria’s Secret lingerie!”
            “You supermodel, is it?” Sharyn said, looking owlishly at Amanda over the top of her thick glasses.
            All of which then made me remember when we were all growing up, my mother used to moan about how having us had completely ruined her figure. “I used to have such a lovely thin waist,” she would say as she watched Michelle try on a new dress in a shop. “Never have children. The waist is the first thing to go.”
            You never think of your parents as being young and fun and slim once upon a time, long before you were born. They’ve always just, well, mum and dad – getting older and greyer with each passing year. Though in my mother’s case, she’s getting improbably younger and darker with the help of a doctor or two and a crafty hairdresser who knows his L’Oreal colour chart.
            And increasingly, you mark the passage of time not so much by your parents’ growing infirmity, but by the fact that now when you look in the mirror, you suddenly spot a wrinkle around the eyes that you could have sworn wasn’t there yesterday, or a touch of grey creeping into once jet black hair.
            My sister Michelle says when she was a child, she so desperately wished she was all grown up like our parents. And now, almost at the same age our parents were when they got married and had their first child, she wouldn’t mind being a child again.
            “I’d probably be a lot nicer, too, to Mother,” she added the other day on Skype. “I don’t think I was an easy child. It’s a wonder she never just packed up and walked away from it all.”
            After she disconnected our call, she booked a plane ticket back home as a surprise visit. Not to be outdone, Saffy and Amanda called their mothers and took them out to lunch.
            And yes, we got all this from ‘American Idol’ and Mariah Carey. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think our parents are brave... they all were young once, then raised us up, and now has to cope with aging... yet us as children doesn't always realise they may now need us more than we need them.