Don't worry, I'm not going to launch into a grumbling complaining post about her. Now, a bit of an introduction about my MIL. She's in her mid 60s now, a very kind lady actually, first child in her family, a good mother to 5 children (my hubby is her youngest child) and her husband (aka my father in law) passed away in early December 2004. She is one of the rarest lady you would ever meet, she doesn't spend money unnecessarily, she is the queen of recycling and reuse and she cooks delicious foods!
Below are some of the fondest memories I have of her:
#1: The Hello Kitty sandals incident
When I first met my hubby in 1997, we started out as pen pal. We stayed quite far from each other and when we first started dating in March 1998, our mode of communications then are letters and phone calls. No emails, no mobile phones then for us. I was working part-time in a souvenir shop while hubby started his college 1st year.
So one night, hubby sneaked out to make a phone call to me. He doesn't use his house phone cos my number is going to show up in the phone bills and it will make his parents suspicious (we were secretly dating then). So as I was saying, hubby sneaked out to the public phone at the end of his house lot and we were chatting like normal when suddenly, hubby stopped for a second and launched into a completely different topic of conversation. A serious one too.
Apparently what happened was, as hubby was talking lovey-dovey with me, he looked down on the floor, and he saw this:
Of course, this was taken last year and I enlarged the part on my MIL's platform sandals, and it was not a Hello Kitty type anymore... hehehe... but imagine back then 10 years ago, when my hubby saw those platform sandals in Hello Kitty design right near his feet... it means... his mother is eavesdropping his conversation... which also means, his mother found out he sneaked out in the middle of the night to make phone calls!! Hahahahahah!!!
So, the reason why hubby stopped mid talking and changed to a serious topic is to save himself - he's not sure whether or how much his mum heard him talking so he just tried changing the topic and talked about serious stuff, and made it sound as if he's talking to his 2nd sister (who were in cold war with his mother at that time) Till this day, his mum never suspected anything :D
#2: She survived nose cancer
About 2 decades ago, she was diagnosed with nose cancer. She is such a strong lady to have been able to survive it, which mainly affects men in the first place. She underwent few sessions of radiotherapy and they managed to kill off the cancer cells. However, those radiotherapies caused her to lose some of her taste sense and she had a bit of a hearing loss as well. We had to speak louder to her and she speaks loudly to us as well (cos she's not able to hear how loud she talks) Because of this people who don't know about her healthy history easily get annoyed when talking to her cos it seems like she's being rude for talking so loud.
She is also forgetful and some things that happened recently just went by without her recollections of it happening. A lot of times, she ended up repeating the things she's talking (cos she forgot she told us before) and those things that she wanted to tell us, she has to tell it at the first chance she got. If someone interrupts her and make her distracted, she will forget all about what she wanted to tell us.
#3: She tells everyone about Jesus
And by everyone, I really mean everyone. At any given opportunity, you will never fail to hear her talking about how good Jesus is. When my mum was at her final stage of kidney failure, my MIL came over to visit and keep on whispering and telling her that Jesus is good, to not worry about me as she will take care of me like her own daughter.. sorry.. gotta pause here a sec.. tears...
So as I was saying, I remembered my MIL telling my mum to let go, don't worry about what she's leaving behind, her children are all grown up and can take care of themselves,.. oh gosh... excuse me again... she told my mum to be happy and to follow Jesus, that we will see each other again one day...
MIL was there during my dad's funeral, and she was there when my mum is dying... and she was there during my mother's funeral. She told my aunts (my mum's family side are all Buddhists) how she survived her nose cancer and believed in Jesus when He healed her.
She gave her testimonies despite people giving her the 'go-away-stop-preaching-about-Jesus' kinda looks at her. She's not very literate, her handwriting almost always had typo errors but that's not important. She prays fervently every night before she goes to sleep and she makes darn sure she brushes her teeth before she prays (One of her theory that God wants us to smell nice when we talk to Him)
Picture shown of her holding Ben during church service. She sits with us in the room specially for parents with children below 18 months old.
#4: She is one superstitious woman
And I love to dispel her superstitions! :D Ask her about what certain facial features means and she'd be glad to tell you! What does big protruding forehead means? What does sharp nose means? Bridge of the nose? Sharp mouth? Eyebrows? Feet? Head shape? Long fingers? Sunken palm? Etc etc...
You mentioned to her you are born in the year of Tiger and she will tell you tons of stuff about the traits of people who are born in the Tiger year and so on...
Look at this picture of her sitting on that chair made of horseshoes! Look at how happy she is? The moment she realized that horseshoes brings luck to people, she immediately told us she wants to sit on it and wants to have the best luck in the world! :P
#5: She DIY tons of stuff in the house
She made furniture and stuff out of plank wood and stuff that people throw out of their houses! She can make shoe racks, cupboards, chairs, cabinets, even dog kennels!
She sews her own clothes, she repairs shoes and torn clothing, she is like the recycling center herself! She keeps our old newspapers, magazines, aluminum cans, old car batteries and sells them for a small sum of money.
She keeps plastic bags, paper bags, boxes, bottles, containers, old curtain rails and all sorts of things in the event that ONE DAY we will need to use it...
Picture shown of Ben looking amazed at his grandma fixing the table fan... ..
#6: She talks to her mother almost everyday!
My MIL's mother is in her 80s already and she stayed with her 2nd daughter (hubby's aunt). They lived about less than 10 minutes car ride away from us but yet, my MIL talks on the phone with her mother almost every day! How nice to still have a mother to talk to, right?
Picture shown during recent Mother's Day family gathering of Ben sitting on great grandma's lap while MIL looking on at Ben who is busy checking out great grandma's bling-bling! :P
Btw, great grandma used to be a Buddhist too, until few years ago. She is now a born again Christian and who would believe an old lady who has been a devout Buddhist for almost 7 decades of her life suddenly believed in Jesus? Now whatever problems you tell great grandma, she will say 'Pray to God/Jesus' or 'I will pray for you yah!' :D
#7: She was there during loads of Ben's milestones
Two things I could trumped my MIL and bragged about are the fact that I breastfeed my child and I delivered Ben under 4 hours (from 1 to 10cm) in 3 pushes.
You see, she did not breastfeed all her 5 children because according to her, during her time, the nurses actually discouraged new mothers from breastfeeding their babies and at that time, nurses are actually pushing for the sales of formula milk. She was told to stop breastfeeding when she gave birth to her 1st child with all the horror stories like greenish colored breast milk can poison your baby etc. I had no idea breast milk could be green in color?!
But in any case, I try to involve her in Ben's milestones, like when he first started his solids, I let her feed Ben on the 2nd day of his solids intake. And boy oh boy, did I get nagged or what... she said its not enough, Ben is a big baby I have to give more (it's 2nd day and I was still trying out small spoonfuls of cereals just in case Ben rejected it) bla bla bla bla bla...
#8: She loves Ben!
I know she really do. Just look at her happy face! Picture taken during Ben's 1 year old birthday party... he fell asleep just as we were getting ready to start our dinner. She carried Ben while we continued to have our dinner and she takes pride in telling people of how perfect and clever her grandson is ;D She helps me take care of Ben when sometimes I need to help hubby with his paperwork and invoicing and stuff. She babysits Ben when hubby and I went out for our date night.
* Note to Ben:
Ben, when you're older and if you can still somehow read this post again, do remember that your grandma loves you a lot and she has been through lots of up and down but mummy thinks grandma is at her happiest when you are around :D