‘That’s The Story Of My Life’ was a recent production held in collaboration with the National Library Board. Nine performers were trained by Kamil Haque in the art of staging their personal stories, after which they performed for the public. In this series, we share some of the stories told by the performers.
‘Mothers’ Dream’, written and performed by Serena Seah
Inspired by ‘Boom’ by Jean Tay
Biography: Serena Seah is a wife and mother to 2 children in their 20s, and is also juggling her time with her career in the commercial world. An active ager who embraces life with energy and vitality, she has joined many courses to upgrade herself. Now she is thrilled to have this opportunity to experiment with Theatre, a chance to express and portray herself on stage. She hopes to bring joy and laughter through all her interactions.
Tonight I’ve got to eat dinner on my own as my husband, daughter and son got engagements outside.
So I am alone at home.
This makes me think of my mother. Most of her meals are lonely meals.
My mother preferred to have more sons than daughters. She assumed her sons would definitely be filial and be by her side till her last days. Daughters will marry out and don’t belong to her anymore.
She pinned all her hopes on my 2 younger brothers. Her 4 daughters were of less importance.
My first younger brother who is 15 months my junior was my mother’s pet. She served him like a prince. He seemed to hold a magic wand and easily get whatever he wanted from her.
She loves him so much that she even took care of this brother’s only son for him till his teenage years.
She trusted her own beloved son so much, but he took advantage of her strong motherly love for him. He milked her dry and now leaves her to wither.
She had also unknowingly signed away her only house to him as he had promised to take good care of her. For 2 years, he accommodated her in his condo with her own room. But this year came an opportunity for him to cast her out, leaving her homeless. Now we have to shuttle her between my 2nd younger brother and 3rd younger sister’s houses as they have helpers to assist. But both my siblings don’t have enough bedrooms for her, so she has to make do with sleeping on the sofa-bed in their living rooms. She misses sleeping on her own bed.
Now, all that she has left is just 2 small hand-carry bags. One for her life-long medications to keep her heart pumping, and the other for her daily change of clothes.
She has lost her sense of belonging and her self-esteem, and is left with 20% of her mobility. Her health has deteriorated and she needs help.
I am the eldest daughter.
On the positive side, my mother had moulded me to be an independent and determined person. My growing-up years have made me vow not to treat my own children differently.
It’s always on my mind not to practise favouritism so as not to hurt them. But our 10 fingers are also of unequal length, and it takes conscious effort to do so.
My daughter is a hardworking and ambitious lady. She is a goal-getter. I need not worry much, except for her to find a compatible life partner.
My son is a more relaxed person. He is so different from his sister. I am more kancheong about his future. But he told me to let him find his own path. Hence, I have learnt to let go.
I have arrived at the empty-nest situation. I keep myself busy in whatever activities that promote mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, in order not to disturb my children. My greatest fear is to lose my mobility, independence and freedom.
Recently I have been diagnosed to have osteoporosis in my hip. I am in a denial-state as I refused to accept that I am a candidate of this condition.
I have been an active-ager. I have participated in many 10km and half marathon runs for the past 10 years. Now, doctor advises me not to run anymore in case I fracture my hip. I am scared that I would end up with my mother’s restricted mobility. I am afraid I have to sit and wait for my children to come and talk with me every day.
Out of the 6 children my mother raised, she told me half of them turned out to be her great disappointment. What did she do wrong? It pains me so much to see her in her current stage of life. I feel so sorry for her. The 3 of us still attempting to make her life less painful.
Did she make a mistake through her own doing?
One thing for sure is, in motherhood, there is no instruction manual to guide us to be a perfect mother. Some do it right and some not so right. I would not dare to claim I am perfect but I know I have tried and done my best for my 2 children. If I have hurt them before, I apologize.
Hopefully I have taught them the right values and provided them with a good home.