Life, the teary eyed smile

It was the first daughter in the house. A princess in the making, nothing less, papa had promised.He was a worker in the Red Cross, ma told me he had been there in the Second World War. But tragedy struck hard. Ma had to feed a family of ten with her small betel nut business. Being one of the “Big Three” I couldn’t stand just leaving her to go the extra mile alone. In came my adolescent along with the heavy burden, I somehow got hold of a shack in the name of a tea shop near the government offices. Rolling up the torn up sleeves, I begun my journey. The morning was, if possible the most hectic time of the day, my six younger brothers would cause a raucous before leaving for school, and since the house had only one room, it was appropriate for all to wake up together to be able to start the day. The thing about my mother was that she truly and blindly believed that education would be the only way to get out of this, sadly I wasn’t able to tune in to this. I had to drop off from the local school as soon as I sailed through third grade. Oh well, life.
The shuffling of feet woke me up, my brothers had already been dressed up in the best sewed up uniform, ma could muster, they were waiting for me and ma to wake up so they could have breakfast before beginning their trek to school. This continued for a couple of decades with me adding another seven children . By that time. I was the only bread winner, as my ma had become too ill to step out, she could only help me with my youngest girls but it was enough. People said only a man could head a house, well wait till they meet me or my ma! We had it rough, real rough but we kept our cool.
There were days when I’d be carrying four school bags, my two eldest sons sharing the remaining three. Dropping them was way easier than picking them, what with different timings, it was all a dilemma. Running then another mile to start the shop,the picking up of ingredients on the way. I’d already lose half of the day just filling up the parent shoe. My partner had passed away as soon as I birthed my last one, not that it was rainbows while he was alive. In reality, his family had not accepted a poor girl like me and had married him off to another wealthy “lady” but he was fighting battle between his true love and becoming “the good son of the family”. In the end his family won, him trying to juggle became too much and his death happened while in another state. Distraught as I was, I couldn’t show weakness,I had to stay strong for my babies. Gritting my teeth and shoveling all emotions away, I built my children’s future. Seeing that ma’s theory of education had proven to be right, I too invested in it, making sure each and every one of my kids got it. No matter if I was down with my cursed illness, which caused me bleed almost to death or looking like a ghost for two decades straight, flesh and bone only, I had promised to give my children the things I missed out in my life. Breathing a prayer every now and then, I finally resigned from my shop after working my skin off for almost forty years. My kids are now living decently, my teary eyed prayers had worked! Having their own families and businesses, they’ve now forced me to sit at home. So here I am now, tending to my plants and pets. The light at the end of the tunnel kept me going, even though I had been drowning, my faith and hope kept me alive. Believing had finally paid off.

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