I was born, healthy.
The baby burst into loud wails in the immense gladness of her mother, the whole doctors and nurses in that poor hospital.
Some minutes before, the doctors, in their limited ability, decided to rescue the mother only in this breech delivery. But my mother struggled unwaveringly for my life at the border of death and life.
“I prayed the God that I would accept any kind of misery if he saved your life. Difficulties can be overcome with perseverance but you are the one whom if I lose, I cannot retrieve”.
But she had to practice the promise.
She gave birth to me in time when pondered milk cans were lavish products. She could not supply enough breast milk. I was neither breast-fed nor bottle-fed. I grew up with “rice water”- the kind of water decanted when she tried to cook rice with excessive water and then added with some sugar, the kind of water after being ladled left behind tasteless rice, the kind of water suffused with unconditional love which by far more valuable to me than any other milk. But I was luckier than many other children whose families even did not have rice to decent the water. Fairy smiles and tender eyes appeared on her gaunter and gaunter face when she saw me fill out.
Everyday, at the first cold gleams of daylight or under scorching sunshine of noon, she rode her bike to work, not bothering continuous grind from the trashy bike on the twenty kilometers road and the pair of worn rubber sandals. At soundless midnights, when people were deep in their sleeps, there was only regular incessant creaky sound from the knitting machine. My mother sat there, bending her back, quickly and cleverly weaving warm clothes, trying to finish masses of orders from customers, disregarding the development of spinal deformation that tortured her sleeplessly.
She did not accompany me from the first day to school but was the first to bring me to knowledge. Listening to fairy tales told with emotional voices of sisters on the radio, I insisted on her teaching me reading. She, with skillful fingers busy with knitting needles, meticulously instructed me how to pronounce, from the first letter O. She joked that it was as round as my lovely face. Since I knew to read, there was no need to wait for the program on the radio. I passionately discover scores of books on her bookcase. The more I read, the more I was engrossed in the whole new world of Uncle Tom, Elisa, George Harris in “Under Uncle Tom’s cabin” or different characters in O.Henry’s stories. My tears could not help spilling.
I inscribe in my mind her briefly hesitant eyes when I asked for buying more books after reading all books in the bookcase. She saw cautiously pages of the thick book I chose “Strange knowledge that I want to discover”. It was the book that cost nearly half of her scanty salary, the book that she paid for with usual fairy eyes and tender smiles and also the book that she had to temporarily take away to force me to leave it and eat dinner. When I was in grade six, I keenly explained the whole class about cephalotus before the Biology class started because I read about it in that book five years ago.
She taught me that: “Each object has its own soul and voice. Do you listen to them? Do you remember what your notebook said when you doodled on it? It cried: “Why does sis Trang dirty my face”. But yesterday, when you brought home the trampled sapling at the school and tend it, I heard it said “Thank you, sis Trang”. Let’s try”. And I tried. And I heard. I could not hear them through my ears but I did hear them in my mind. I ended up leaving the bed and the warm blanket to finish homework for their booing “Sis Trang is lazy, so lazy, so lazy”.
Her sighs every sleepless night have crushed my heart, urged me to do more than rubbing her warm emaciated back, flared up my dream to become a doctor to cure her back pain, to heal the chapped feet that have passed thousands of kilometers bringing me up.
The way to reach my dream loaded with her haunting words “Difficulty can be overcome by perseverance” I refused while classmates hurriedly opened the key page to see the solution for a difficult Chemical question. I covered my ears not to listen to my teacher explaining the solution. I thought of it on the way back to home, in meals, when I washed dishes. The repeated haunting words urged me to proceed with that question. Getting stuck, I asked my friends the first step to solve it- the first step only. It did not work. I asked the next step. Useless! I tried in different way, thought in different directions. After a week of tenaciousness, I happily showed the teacher my own shorter solution, the result of perseverance.
I slowly climb up the ladder to success built by her unconditional sacrifice and thoughtful teachings. Is it too simple if I my only dream is to deserve her innumerable love?