People have commented that my mother and I look alike ever since I can remember. Mum and I have peered in the mirror together countless times in the past, trying very hard to see the similarities people say that “it’s so obvious you’re mother and daughter!”, and failing to do so every time. We have since stopped trying, and accepting people’s comments with a polite smile and thanks. My mum is quite pretty in my eyes, so I guess I really don’t mind if I supposedly resemble her!
Now, when people see me with Megan together, they will start to say that Megan looks like me. In fact, they go as far as saying that Megan looks like a carbon copy of me. In local colloquial terms, it means Megan is a photostat(ed) copy of me (means I’m the photocopier machine), or an Ang Ku Kueh (in this case I become the Ang Ku Kueh mould). For an excellent read on Ang Ku Kueh and the details on the mould, try this. Again, I cannot see how Megan resembles me. But to me, she’s a very pretty girl so I really don’t mind if people say so! Well, the good-looking genes have to come from somewhere, right?
Apparently, however, the resemblance is not merely skin deep.
Recent events have gathered relatives together more often than usual. My aunties and cousins observed Megan weaving in and out of the crowd, never shy, prancing about and never still, talking animatedly and assertively (read: being bossy).
One auntie’s first comment was: “Megan very tom-boy hor?”. This comment immediately brought on a sea of heads nodding in agreement! I cringed and tried to hide my head in embarrassment, because I knew what was coming next.
“Exactly like her mother when she was young!” My older cousin piped up. That is the problem growing up in a family as the lone ranger, with much older and younger cousins. I was under the undivided (unwanted more like) scrutiny of all the aunties, uncle and cousins, since I was the only one at any point in time. It wasn’t until 5 years later when my younger cousins came along and took the heat off my back. By then, it was too late. Everyone could remember all the stuff I did for the past 5 years.
“She (me) used to hit her forehead on the floor when she was angry, remember?” someone said, and everyone nodded.
“Remember how she used to pull up her top and stand in front of the air conditioner to cool off whenever she was angry?” someone else said, and everyone nodded enthusiastically. This is the BIG thing I was infamous for, but surprisingly, I have no memories of this at all. But the Man has heard this for the past 17 years; it was one of the first things my relatives warned him about, when we started dating. Sweet of him to still chuckle along, after all these years.
“And how she used to whack someone first, and then promptly burst into tears as if that other person hit her?” And there I was, subject to the retelling of my childhood misbehaviours, as my nieces and nephew listened on. Yes, I was the “chilli padi” of the family.
My mum didn’t quite remember how I was when young, except that she likes to say that I was very skinny (different from what I am now), and I ran around with my “chicken legs”. I also sported lots of bruises and scabs as I bumped, knocked and fell down a lot. Now I look at Megan’s “chicken legs” with lots of “Gor Jiam Ji Gark” (literally 5 and 10 cents in Hokkien, used to describe bruises colloquially), I think I am seeing a mini me as my mum saw me all those decades ago. It is surreal.
And then I met an auntie I haven’t seen in over 20 years. “Oh this is her?! She was so cute when young!”, she lamented with a shake of her head. Hammer to my ego. Ouch. And my eldest cousin replied, “Now her daughter (Megan) is the cute one.” Well, at least my bruised ego has some respite, since I have passed on the “cute” genes to my daughter.
And the same dearest cousin added with a dramatic sigh and a lot of regret in her voice, “And she was so smart when she was young.” I so want to cry.
Now I hope Megan will grow up with fond memories of her childhood, and I am pretty sure she will remember well, with so many helping to remember and recount tales. But perhaps a little less fiery in temperament and a lot less stubborn and willful? Who am I kidding? What goes round really does come around…