Happiness according to My Mother


I’m turning my sweet Muslim mother into a badass.

The cover pic above is my mom holding the embroidery hoop art that she stitched following the design that I made. She did a good job, didn’t she? But does she understand anything about it, the middle finger or the text? NOPE. Nothing but the green leaves that she understands.

My mom is a simple Indonesian Muslim woman. She likes cooking (even though her cooking is not better than mine), cleaning and crafting–yeah, I got it from her, the difference is that she doesn’t know how to turn it into money.

Her happiness is simple; to live, get job, marry, have kids, send kids to school, grow old together with my dad. For her, she doesn’t need to seek nor understand why she does things. Never question. I don’t think my mom has ever been in a quarter life nor self-identity crisis, like I’ve been through. For her, life is to be lived, not to be thought about.

She can be happy with simple stuffs, “don’t aim more so that you don’t get jealous of others, just be ordinary.” The only thing she can be jealous of others is about having grandchildren. D’Oh!

Sometimes I thought that when she sent her kids to school, she just did it because everybody else’s doing it or because that’s what she thinks parents do. Because she sometimes is not ready for what education and books can change her babies.

One day, my brother bought her a present. A 5 million Guess watch. It’s packaged in a cute fancy drawstring pouch with the brand tassel on it. Looking at the brand and knowing the price, my eyes glared with amazement. Her eyes were too, her face looked so happy. She said, “Thank you so much for the pouch, I need a handy pouch like this to go to wedding parties.” She thought the gift was the wrapping pouch. Until now she is still using the pouch. Not the watch.

My mom doesn’t understand any English at all. I love crafting but not a fan of hand sewing, I don’t have the patience like my mom and she always asked me whether I have things for her to do. I saw embroidery hoops in my craft box that I never used, then I just drew the design. She asked, “Where’s the flowers?” She thought embroidery is always about flowers and cute, girly stuffs. Not today, Mom. At first I just wanted to keep her busy, but the result turns to be great. So I give her another design every time she finishes one.

After 1 hour of stitching my first design, she asked, “What does the text mean?” I replied, “It means ‘Cinta Fitri’ (Eng: Pure Love).” I couldn’t be bothered to explain nor argue. So I just made it up with the title of her fave Indonesian soap opera.

“Oh, that’s why there’s finger in it.” she said.

Dang. I don’t know why my mom thinks one would put wedding ring on middle finger. And I don’t want to know.

Here’s her finished projects so far:



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