36 has always been a pretty scary number for me. My late mom passed away when she was 36. So did Lady Diana.
What an introduction. Forgive me. Let's do this again.
My day was not fantastic, but Alhamdulillah, I'm still here to share my tale.
If I could nominate the best day in Coventry for the month of April this year, it would definitely have to be today, the 26th. The sun put on his brightest smile and cast the warmest spell on us all! I started the day with the intention of baking a cake but discovered I've run out of castor sugar (&^%$#$&!!). It's tradition - every birthday MUST have a cake, or cakes, in the case of cupcakes. Although those cakes in the shops look beautiful, they don't really taste that way. Most of them are way too sweet. So, no castor sugar meant no cake for breakfast this morning. I fixed some pasta for them kiddies instead.
The first phone call I received today was from Kak Teh - a little bit concerned about me (re last post), but I reassured her that I was fine. Really, InsyaAllah I am. Felt nice to know that I had a concerned friend somewhere though I didn't tell her that I probably felt the way I did because it was my birthday today. HeHe...
In the afternoon, after the kids' Fardhu Ain classes, brought them out to the city centre - stopping by at the park to say hello to the swans and ducks. Got some errands done, and grabbed some roses off the stand. Me being the romantic fool, had thought the night before of getting some roses on my birthday, just as a reminder of that bouquet that was delivered to me on the first birthday I celebrated in love with the late Mr D. And from the bunch I bought, I'd take one stalk (not all...) to put on Mr D's grave. And that was where we went next.
At the grave yard, I couldn't retain the emotions. Thank god for the invention of sunglasses, at least the kids didn't notice that I was crying only till much later! We had a small tahlil together, and as usual, had a session of short speeches to dear Abah. Everyone said how they missed and loved their daddy. Little D 'told' his daddy about his trip to Dublin - the deers he saw, the kite he flew, and the swans he fed. My Princess whispered to me that she wanted to say it was her birthday next. Abang Z didn't have much to say, unlike Abang H, who immediately said, 'I love you'. I reminded the kids that we had to try very hard to make ends meet and to be the best at what we did, as that would have been what their daddy wanted. And we pray on...
We left, and headed home. I recalled the castor sugar I had to get, so made a quick stop at Sainsbury's. But lo and behold, as I was leaving the parking lot, my troubled mind (yes, I can distinctively remember what I was thinking about at that time!) distracted me - BANG! - I hit a car!
I parked the car at a more strategic location, and the other car pulled over next to mine. A lady came out. And boy, was she a wonderful woman indeed! The first thing she asked was, How are you? Are you okay? The accident was entirely my fault - no contest to it. I had looked right, looked left - waited a while, then, without looking back to my right, went straight ahead to turn right! The front (left) part of the car was pretty much smashed. I apologized profusely to the lady, and gave my details. I also told her I didn't know what to do or where to start because it was usually my husband who helped me in issues pertaining to cars. And that was when the tears rolled down my cheeks. Embarrassed, I told her that my husband had passed away and I then apologized for crying in front of her! I could feel my hands trembling and my heart shuddering. She saw how shook up I was, and offered to sit down for some tea but I had put this woman to too much trouble already. I didn't want to trouble her more. Hence I politely turned down the offer, and told her that I'd sit down in the car for a while, till my nerves were a little bit better.
In the car, I broke down. The kids sat quietly, not knowing what to do. After a good 5-10 minutes, I wiped the tears off and drove back home - it was only a few minutes away.
Got home, all still quite shaken up, went to the kitchen to prepare the kids some tea. The day was warm and sunny, so I suggested that they sat in the backyard to chill. I had to go and lie down. I excused myself, and went to perform my prayers - thanking Allah that despite what happened, we were all fine. Little D then came up to me, "Mummy, are you finished? Come down with me..." I did not have the heart to tell him that I didn't feel too well and needed a lie down. So, I followed him out into the backyard - for their wonderful surprise for me! There were 4 cards laid out - 3 handmade and 1 bought (of course, that's from Princess). A nicely wrapped gift was thrusted into my hands. I was impressed! Yeah, a few days ago, Princess requested that I brought her to Tesco because she had something to buy (for me). I had to go through the same thing I went through during Mother's Day.
Anyway, the wonderfully wrapped gift actually came with a small bundle of matching ribbons. "Mama, I actually don't know how to tie the ribbon on the gift - can you pleaaaassssseeeee do it for me?" exclaimed Abang Z. Oh, wasn't that cute? So, I fiddled with the ribbon and managed to make a simple tie-up. Then, I took them apart - to be surprised (was indeed really!) with a spiral notebook. HeHeHe... Yes, I'm a sucker for notebooks (just like Princess), but surely... Aren't my chidren just sooo wonderful?
Then, Dina called, saying she was on her way over with her new boyfriend (new because I hadn't met him). Suddenly, I realised I didn't have anything to serve and was NOT in the mood to prepare anything! So, I went on with the initial plan to bake a cake. While it was still in the oven, Dina arrived. Surprise, surprise!! She brought a cake for me! Woo hoo... And I was lucky enough to have some great company to share not only one cake, but TWO cakes with us.
Ergo, by the end of the day, I feel blessed with the life I have now. It may not be perfect, it may not be all wonderful, and it may not be even close to brilliant. BUT, the day could have turned out worse. I am fortunate to have beautiful children who are just the best at surprises and making others feel special. They really made me feel special. Thank you my darlings...
I received calls from my Dad and sis, wishing me Happy Birthday. A very thoughtful birthday email from my other sis, and tens of wishes via the net (FB, emails and chats) and mobile (texts). There were also a few who actually remembered my birthday simply from the post I wrote regarding my birthday last year!! Fantastic or what?
If one asked me to comment how I feel being 36, I must say that 36 years is quite a significant amount of time. Enough to experience a little of everything (not really), and enough to enjoy so much too. In the 36 years, I have lost so many loved ones, but also gained so many others. With me now, I am blessed with 4 wonderful children who will be the essence of my life.
What lies ahead is a road forking out at each possible junction. I am carrying the torch Allah has entrusted me with, and I will carry it with me on this journey.
A birthday is just another day - a milestone that you've gone through a year successfully (or not). No big deal at all. Not even if you miss some people so much, that you hope they were next to you...
More tomorrow: the big hearts those kids of mine have