New Year’s Gifts

3 Feb

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

(Edward Guest)

It’s past midnight.  The Chinese New Year is here. My boys are all in bed, sleeping. The Sandman made his appearance quite early tonight, thank goodness for small graces. A wanted to stay up and wait the New Year with me, but he’s had a long day at work and he needs the rest. So, I content myself with writing in bed and doing the odd surfing on the net, huddled close to him.   

On other years, we’d be having a loud, rowdy, and extended New Year’s Eve dinner at this time, having spent the whole day prepping for eight lucky dishes. There’d be all sorts of fruits, from the ordinary to the exotic. And we’d be pigging out on tikoy, sticky rice cakes that are so maddeningly addictive I can eat a whole box by myself. The way things are these days, it didn’t make any sense to lay a luxurious spread, not when Alphonse’s moods are still volatile and food can literally fly from the table or down the drain any minute.

A hint of a smile, but not quite

Today was not a bad day, though it was still far from perfect. Alphonse has new issues with cable lines running around the garage ceiling. (We had to do a re-wiring when our next door neighbour walled in our original installations without permission.) They’re not hidden but they’re out of normal reach and are discreetly laid, or so we thought. For some inexplicable reason, he gets the urge to rip them out when he sees them. The good news is Alphonse can jump, and I mean, do a vertical jump with the height and explosion reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s best playing days.  The bad news is he jumps to reach at light fixtures and wirings. Our house will soon be naked, the way he’s ripping through wall lightings, low chandeliers and lights, and cable/telephone wires. We’ve taken down most of them to keep him safe but we never really know what will catch his eye next.

Still, things could be worse (God forbid!). When you live through seasons of rampage like these, you get to appreciate the littlest things that can make you smile. A kind word. A phone call to say “I love you” or “I miss you.” A prayer sent online. A comforting message in Facebook. A box of old school 3M pizza. Hot water waiting for you in the tub. A caress in the most unexpected moments. A wet, sloppy kiss from a truant child. I concentrate on all these, channeling my heart to receive these with openness and gratitude. I remember the many good things that make up my life and I am forever humbled by His gifts of grace and mercy.    

I hope to write of better circumstances soon as we work continuously and tirelessly to help Alphonse. I do have to thank the many people who offered me comfort, solace, and help during these turbulent times. That you are here with prayers and kind words lifts my sagging spirits and strengthen my faith. I am honoured and touched by your sincerest hands of friendship and I pray that your goodness be returned a thousandfold.

I leave you, dear friends, with this little bit of cheer to start the year right. It’s one of my favorite Sylvanian Families videos created by a wonderful Malaysian collector named Kiki. This has brought me smiles today. 🙂  Happy New Year!!! Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!!!


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