Thursday, July 06, 2006

Boot Sale Love

My talkative two year old son observes me in my ‘new’ pink blouse and says ‘Wow, you look good mama!’
‘Yeah!’ he said with a grin and bright eyes, full of honesty.

And I smiled at him, touched. I cannot ask for more from my 2 year old – he ‘makes my day’ everyday with the little things he says to me. And he doesn’t care that I got that blouse from a car boot sale for a mere 50p.

It had an Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction collar and cuffs which I did not really notice when I bought it - because who would notice too much detail when spending 50p? I just saw that it was my size and my colour and looks to be in good condition and took out the 50p from my boot sale pouch, where I put all the pocket money I have including that £20 that my husband gave me to spend on whatever I want at the boot sale. Well, actually, there was only that precious £20 and an extra 75p that I picked in one of the drawers in our room. I don’t really get any pocket money.

It was extremely hot that Sunday and we rushed through the rows and rows of sellers as fast as we could because all we wanted was really to get a second-hand bicycle and a tricycle for the children. But then, I spotted some women clothing sold by a lady my size and like a true earning woman/KL ‘sale season’ shopper, I went through the clothes in a flash and bought several items.

Except that I was neither earning nor a KL shopper. And except that in total I spent only £3.50. What bliss.

And we did buy 2 bicycles – although my husband agreed that if we find something better next time, we should probably buy 1 more because one of the bicycles we bought makes such a loud and painful creaking sound when one of my sons tried to paddle in our backyard that he gave up after a few tries and just sits on it to ‘imagine’ instead and to proudly proclaim that he’s the proud owner of that piece of scrap. We only bought it because he screamed ‘That’s mine!’ the moment he saw it next to that table of used toys. How my heart aches at the sight of my son on that stationary bicycle. But it will have to do for now – we cannot yet afford a brand new bicycle for them.

My husband was happy when he looked at the plastic bags of purchases in the boot of our car.
‘Happy aku tengok kau beli baju,’ he said. (I’m happy that you bought clothes)
‘Why?’ I asked him surprised. After all, men aren’t normally happy when their wives spend money to buy clothes.
‘Yelah…’ he said simply. (Of course…)

But I know my husband, this man who cannot express himself well. He’s happy that I finally bought some clothes for myself, for he knew that I’ve been down for not being able to do so - to treat myself with new clothes. And he’s happy because I looked positively radiant when I put all those filled used plastic bags in the boot of our beaten up car. Indeed, his gladness made me even happier - because I know that he loves me enough to understand my trivial worldly needs and although he despairs at not being able to satisfy them, he tries his best to provide for me all he can. I am thankful – even when all he can do is to take me for a ‘shopping spree’ in a boot sale.

I excitedly took out the items I bought at the boot sale the moment we arrived home. The nice cream sweater was too small – although the label says my size. The wonderful and loose-cut pair of denim trousers was too tight at the waist – I have once again forgotten that my waist is no longer 28. The nice pink blouse looked horrible on me because of those cuffs and the large stiff collar and the small denim jacket did not really fit nicely at the shoulders. You don't really get to look in a mirror before buying clothes at a boot sale, you see.

And so I folded them all nicely, reminding myself that it’s really fine because I can give these away to friends and family who can wear them and then I went to the kitchen to cook dinner, not really feeling charitable at all. It wasn’t such a happy day after all. In my down mood, I prepared to cook a simple and lazy chicken soup, cutting thin strips of onions, garlic and ginger instead of blending or pounding them, but pounding that teaspoon of fennel seed anyway because the taste will never come out otherwise. And then throwing everything into the large pot with the hot oil on the stove and waiting for that familiar aroma to fill the kitchen. And that was when my eldest son came into the kitchen and said, “What’s that smell, mama? I want to eat. Smells yummy!” he said taking a long comical sniff. “Does it smell good?” I asked again unashamedly for reassurance. “Yes!” he said nodding his head vigorously. And he smiled.

And with that he lifted my spirits once more.

Do you know what it feels like to have angels for children? Yes, they can be naughty sometimes but they are still angels.

My little angels.

Oh how I love all my boys, including the man who just like his sons, wants my attention and my care whenever he’s around. My little boys want nothing from me but my love, cuddles, support and attention. They are the light in my life and they don’t care a whit if I look shabby or if I bungle. They love me for who I am as I love them for who they are, just as they are. Life was terribly hectic when I was working back in KL and when I came back home after a long day at work, all I wanted to do was rest, rest and rest. A maid was always at hand to do all my bidding even when it came to catering for the needs of my husband and children. I had money to buy nice things for myself but I did not really know my children and I was frequently stressed in the weekends because they always acted up, especially the eldest one, wanting more of me than I was able to give. My husband and I were consistently tired that we hardly had time to enjoy ourselves – the only time we spent alone was in bed, together. Sleeping. Early.

And no wet hair the next day. Not that I needed that excuse to wash my hair, of course.

So there. I have never regretted quitting my job. And I hope I never will. Money means a lot to me, yes, I do not deny it. But given a choice between a hundred million pounds and my life now with my husband and children, I would never think twice. Yes, even without them hundred millions I can say that I am quite, quite happy. Alhamdulillah. It could have gone terribly wrong after I resigned, could it not? But it hasn’t, so far. And although I sometimes whine and grumble in this blog because I find yakking to strangers irresistible, rest assured that I do count my blessings.

Everyday, you know.



elan said...

aaahh.. your kids are adorable..!

i wish we have carboot sales in m'sia. *drool*

noresh said...

my sentiments exactly, ibah! bard n i have never regretted quitting and going up the road less taken. it's a blessing in disguise actually that he went for his phd.

just be careful about spending at car boots or you'll end like me, lugging home a 20-footer container filled with carboot junks hehhehe...

halwafy said...

Thanks elan! But I doubt the car boot in Msia would be as good as the ones here - the people in Malaysia love their junk too much to ever think of parting with them for a mere RM1 or 50 sen...and I don't blame them - you can't get anything in Malaysia for that amount!

Yes, Noresh. Thank you for your kind advice. But I'm afraid I can't make any promises...