“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” - Mitch Albom
TLL alumnus and now solicitor Sia Bing Xi reflects on his growing up years, and pens a heartfelt letter of gratitude to his mother.
During the Christmas holidays home, I went through some of the things in my room, and chanced upon a letter you wrote to me roughly a decade ago. Back then, I was a wide-eyed, impressionable young boy, unwilling to let go of your assuring touch. I never fully grasped the gravity of your letter, but I do now.
It must have been terrifying – to have the responsibility of another human being suddenly thrust into your embrace. Through your words, I felt the cacophony of elation, bewilderment, confusion, love and hope, pulsing through the course of a life that binds us together.
Life – it’s too fast.
We wade through the game of chance and its serendipity, roll with the punches and hold on tightly to the rails as we are spun about on a carousel of chaos, trying to make sense of it all.
And no one has all the answers, Mother. But I’m thankful that the warm hands that guided me through my most vulnerable, formative years, were yours.
As children, we were told to as long as we followed the rules, coloured inside the lines and kept our heads down, we would make it through life. But Mother, you were the one who told me to challenge the orthodoxy. If life was not going to be a bed of roses from the outset, you told me to hike through the jungles of the Amazon, run wild in the desert plants of the Sahara, or perhaps one day find and stroll through the fauna of Burnett’s secret garden; you gave me the best, and you prepared me for life.
A month ago, I appeared in Court for the first time. I was to deliver the closing remarks on our client’s defence. As soon as I stood up, the white noise vanished and I felt the attention of the entire court room trained on me; my palms were sweaty, my throat dry. The judge stared me down, knowing I was a rookie in the big leagues. In that instant, the magnitude of the moment overwhelmed me – I could hear my amygdala screaming for me to submit to my primal instincts to run.
But Mother, you prepared me well. I used to have a great fear of public speaking, of the English Language, and had no confidence in putting my best foot forward. You knew about this, and you wanted me to overcome these irrational fears. I thank you for taking time to send me to enrichment classes, and doing all you can to help me realize my potential. I remember fondly my teachers at The Learning Lab, who taught me to push boundaries, to overcome my fears and to be tenacious. The classes built character, doggedness and an intellectual curiosity to challenge the status quo, and to be a pioneer and leader in everything I do.
As I thanked the judge while winding down my closing remarks, I saw a nod from him – a rare but tacit acknowledgement of my abilities. There was no material certification of that success, but I wish you were there, just so I could revel in that fleeting triumph with you.
Yes Mother, no one has all the answers, but you gave me all I needed, so that I could take on life’s questions on my own.
With all my love always,
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