Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mum - "A woman of substance"

I think I shall take a picture of my breakfast table while I am preparing my kids Bento. It's a complete havoc, as though a hurricane just passed through. There are tongs, chopsticks, cutting boards and knives, empty plates, plates full of food, sauces, Bento boxes, other containers, Bento accessories, etc. etc.

My kitchen is not spared either. Sometimes three stoves are running at the same time. On one stove - heating up some food, on another boiling water to blanch the vegetables and on another, more boiling water to heat up the noodles or steam rice. I try not to use the microwave oven too often due to personal preference.

I'm very happy and driven to prepare my kids Bento. I enjoy hearing them give me feedback about how they enjoyed their food during break time or how one didn't like the cherry tomatoes I put in and how the other loved it.

The Bento is such a topic of conversation for us that my youngest daughter (number 3) also insisted that she brings a 'Bento' to school too. That's why I had to buy a single layer, clip lock one for her. She's very picky with her food and has a very, very limited and constrained food group that she consumes. This is probably the work of the grandmother - my mother.

As I said in my earlier blog, mum is a fantastic cook and while my kids were growing up she'd spoil them whole scale by always cooking their favourite food. (even now when I'm not at home...but my elder two girls tend to compromise with the youngest one now just so that grandma doesn't break her back 'over-cooking') On the dining table would be a rice dish for one kid, a plate of noodles for another kid or a soupy noodle or porridge for another. Then there's my husband and I who will eat rice with several other dishes. However much I tried to coax mum not to cook in that way fell on deaf ears!

I really appreciate mum and her cooking enthusiasm but every dinner was like a buffet table laid out to please and satisfy the different palettes of the different people in the house. We've been very blessed with a woman who unconditionally loves and labour out of the love of the ones around her. In our daily prayers, we can only pray that God continues to love and take care of her soul and her health.

Mum may not have packed Bentos for my brothers and I when we were kids at school but the 'buffet table' she laid out every day is testimony enough of the unconditional love that she had for us all. Mum worked all her life and retired at 50 (took optional retirement).

Now, she spends her time with my family and my one other older brother and his family. My eldest brother passed away with cancer more than ten years ago and my dad more than 20 years ago. Mum has always been a pillar of strength and support in bad and good times. Really.... "A woman of substance"!

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