Monday, 27 December 2010

When He Was 64

My late father was born in 1922. He chose the date 4.4.44 to marry my mother. He was still only  a few months shy of 22. My mom was then only 17.

By the time he was 40, going on 41, they already had 9 children. Mom was just 35, 36. The gynae suggested that she had her tubes tied, to which she agreed. Otherwise there might have been 3 or 4 more of us.

The years passed, we finished our schooling. Dad made sure we all went through tertiary education, and got decent jobs and.... got married. By the time he was 64 and Mom 59 they've already had 15 or so grandchildren, and my youngest sister 23 years old.

Year: 1986

So I guess they could breathe easier with everyone grown up.

I am 57 now and if I get to see 64 my youngest would be 25 years old. No more school uniforms to be bought, even since last year for that matter.

It's just that I have a couple of 64, 65 year-old friends, albeit on Facebook, who still have teenagers running around them. And they are not the grandchildren.

These coots look youngish and spritely though. I'm just wondering whether they treat their young children as children, or grandchildren... because these daddies are old enough to be grandfathers anyhow.

I remember my own maternal grandfather had 3 little girls in his sixties when he re-married after my grandmother passed away. They were very much younger than me and I think he doted on them  as he did us, his grandchildren.

Usually grandchildren get away with things that would definitely be frowned upon by the parents.

Like peeing on grandpa

This is my nephew Rez
Or punching him in the eye

This is Amin

If my father were still alive, he would be 88 and probably enjoying his 31 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren like Mom is now. He passed away at the age of 71 with 9 additional grandchildren. May Allah bless his soul and place him among the righteous.



Pak Zawi said...

May Allah bless his soul. Maybe I must have been inspired by him and married early at the age of 23 and started having children a year later. Anyway we stopped at 4 after having 2 of each sexes. Now my youngest is 26 with me tipping into 61 and the wife just crossed the 58th year mark. With 8 grandchildren now the number will increase by another 3 by late 2011.
The beauty of it we get to see the children grow up into adults and perhaps some of the grandchildren too as the eldest is already 10 years old.
InsyaAllah, like you dad I will live up to 71 in another 10 yrs time. My own dad get to live right up to 85 in comparatively good health and passed away within 60 days of my mum's demise. It seems that a loving couple could not live without each others support.
Let us live a healthy lifestyle. No hurry, no curry. Don't worry, be happy.

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Zawi, thank you very much for your insight. Well at least your darling wife was out of her teens when you guys married, otherwise they would have called you a cradle-snatcher. But way back in 1944 what is "young" by our standards was the norm. Also back then, if you "liked" that bunga dalam taman Pak so-and-so, you'd better sunting cepat-cepat or else you might end up menjilat jari hehehe...

Anyway Pak Zawi, you are one grandpa that I truly admire; for your ability to nanny little babies barely out of their mom's confinement. May Allah bless you with umur panjang and sihat tubuh badan, and who knows you might also get the SOS call to nanny your great-grandchild one bright day in the not-too-distant future. And I'm sure you will rally to help out - no problem.
Take care Pak Zawi - be happy with nappy hehehehe.....

Pak Idrus said...

Zen, thanks for narrating this beautiful family story. I believe it was wise to get married early. I got married at 22 and Asmah just 21 plus then. We now have five grand kids and our eldest granddaughter is 20 now. My generation was influenced by the Tunku concept to have less children, thus we just have three. Our forefather live with a set of great value and norms that made them successful parents, now it is different some parents just leave their kids to the care of the maid or dumped them in boarding school which to me is wrong parenting. And because the kids are not around all the time it leads to many failed marriage. I got many emails from young couple who are stranger seeking advice of how to saved their marriage; most I told that I do not have the right formula and just help with whatever wisdom I could.

My Mom and Dad were illiterate folks but they have the wisdom to send all 6 of us to English school instead of the Malay school and because of that wise decision we in a way made it in life. I retired optionally at 50 in 1990 because I could not agree with the political master and now live a modest life with Asmah and enjoying our golden years.

Zen, if we have sent our kids to school and instill them with the right value and norms then to me that is good enough.

Have a nice day and take care.

Wan Sharif said...

Ahh.. I just lost my father.. 11th Jan this year.. he was 90+.. he told us he was 10 months old when the world war one started and about 10 yo when TerangGanu has Bah Merah (Big flood - 1926)..
He has led a healthy life cycling 30 km almost daily in his 70's and 80's.. not to forget downing 2 plates of rice for dinner (nasi and ikan with kuah singgang)on daily basis.. he only stopped working ..some 10 days before he died.. that was because he was too sick to do his things..
I do hope I can emulate him .. a simple god-fearing lifestyle..

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Idrus, I believe that in this day and age there are too many distractions outside of marriage that could make it falter; and only the love, foresight and maturity of both parties can prevent a breakdown in the union.

However with education and information that's easily obtainable these days, people especially women are more aware of their rights and are less likely to allow themselves to "suffer" in silence in a bad marriage. Hence the astonishing number of divorces in both Malaysia and Singapore, as had been reported before.

But older couples like you and Kak Asmah are models for all of us to emulate so that in our sunset years we can wake up everyday and greet the world with "Enjoy today, folks!" like you do.

Take care Pak Idrus and Kak Asmah. May God bless both of you...

Zendra-Maria said...

Ayoh Wang, your father was blessed to live to a ripe old age in good physical and mental health which you attribute to a simple god-fearing lifestyle without the stresses that we tend to face everyday. Can we emulate that? Very hard for me but change we must - slowly, slowly perhaps.

I'm quite certain it's easier for you as most likely your old man's tough genes have made their way into your own make-up.

Take care sir...

a.j. said...

tok hassan! =) love atok so much. used to get chased away off his bed, and for making alot of noises

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Lucky & blessed man too, nine great kids & so many grandchildren; must be a very hardworking chap :))

Re: the 1986 photo is that u sitting in the extreme right? And the girl in red sitting in front look like u too. And RA looks very young then...hahaha, which one is he carrying? Dr Amin? btw where's kak Maz in that photo?


Zendra-Maria said...

Ayub, till today the cucus love to bergolek-golek on that bed - that was Atok and Tokmi's katil kahwin I'm telling you ... :) Sudah 66 tahun!!!

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy, we children are blessed to have had him as our father - he was a model for all roles that men have to undertake :)

The 1986 photo - yup that's me at 33 yo, RA at 34, Amin at 2, Adeen at 1 (being carried by my youngest sister Rose), Munie playing binoculars, her cousin (Kak Maz's eldest daughter) Widie in the red dress, Kak Maz wth the boufant hair-do sitting 2nd from left...

Wish I was that slim again :)

zafi said...

I am waiting for my time to get marry and have my own children.. soon :)
Life is always a blessing especially when you live your life to the fullest kan

Zendra-Maria said...

Insya Allah Zafi, your time will come soon enough. Live EACH DAY to the fullest along the straight path, that way there shouldn't be any regrets.

May the coming year be fulfilling for you :)