(This series of short stories is based on real life experiences of a single mother. Seen through the eyes of a child, the stories present an account of childhood marked with an interesting blend of thoughts and feelings. The mother-daughter relational dynamics, their response to their environment and the mother’s perceptive approach as a parent – everything will win your heart. The stories underline the fact that a child can be totally happy, secure and confident in a single parent family. Happy reading!)
Anu was busy in getting ready. She was dressing up as Mulan, the Chinese female warrior. Her friend Kelley was dressing up with her as Cinderella. Her Mum was putting the make-up on her face.
“Anu you should have dressed up as Jasmine…”
“But Kelley you know I like Mulan. She is my favourite.”
“I don’t know why?”
“Because she is brave and smart. She fights with bad people and wins. Why do you like Cinderella?”
“I like her because she is so beautiful and a prince comes and saves her from her evil step mother.”
Kelley’s mum dropped them off to school. Today they had to dress up as a character from history or a story book and then talk about that character in front of the class. This is one of the important events in the life of a 7 years old child.
That day when Mum picked up Anu from school, she found Anu in an excited mood.
“Mum I won the speech competition today” She showed Mum a certificate giving her voucher to go to her favourite restaurant Wendy’s.
“Congratulations! I am so proud of you.”
On their way home Mum asked her,
“Why did you choose Mulan? You have read so many other books. It could be anyone. Why not a princess like Kelley’s?”
“That’s boring really. A prince comes and saves you. I would rather do it myself than wait for a prince.”
“So, what did you say in the speech? You never talked with me about it.”
“I knew what I was going to say. I didn’t need help” little Anu’s face was beaming with confidence and happiness.
“That’s great. So, tell me …”
“Well, I told the class that Mulan didn’t need a prince to save her. She was a fighter. She saved everybody.”
“Didn’t she meet a prince though?”
“Yes Mum, she did. But she didn’t wait for him to come and save her. She saved her family, herself and her country. She was so powerful. I want to be just like her.”
They entered their home. Anu jumped on the couch and started fighting with an imaginary enemy.
“I will save you Mum, from all the bad people.”
Mum stood there watching.
Next day was a weekend. Mum was busy cleaning the cobwebs, vacuuming, mowing the lawns, doing washing, weeding the garden. Then Anu saw her sitting at the computer desk. She knew her mum was paying the bills. After that she saw mum unblocking the kitchen sink. Her chores seem to be never ending.
Two of Anu’s friends were with them for a sleepover. When Mum was making breakfast, she heard the girls talking.
“Let’s play with dolls”, Kelley said.
“I like playing outside or maybe building something,” this was Anu.
“Well I like playing with dolls too. After that we will go outside… okay Anu?”, this was Natasha. Always a peacemaker.
“These are my dolls – Mum, Dad and 2 kids”, Kelly was happily arranging her doll family. She let Natasha share her family.
“Anu, do you want to play with my family?”
“I will bring my family to visit yours. Mum and a daughter.”
“Where is her Dad? This is not a family. You need Mum and Dad to complete a family.”
“No. My Mum and I are family. I don’t have a dad. My Mum does everything. She works, cooks, takes me to school, to the doctor, mows the lawns, talks with neighbours, landlord everything.”
Natasha said, “I like your Mum. She is so cool. She does everything. She is a superman.”
They started to giggle, “Not a superman, she is a superwoman.”
Mum called them for breakfast. Anu ran to her mum, hugged her tightly.
“Mum you are a superwoman.”
They all giggled again. Then Anu took her ‘Mulan pose’ and said,
“I am Mulan and my Mum is a superwoman. We don’t need a prince to save us. We will save everybody.”
All the girls started running around in the backyard giggling. Mum was standing there watching. Her face broke into a giggle and she started running around.
“I am a superwoman. My daughter is Mulan!” Mum didn’t care that day about neighbours seeing her in her pyjamas. She just wanted to celebrate.
Anagha Kawley, Auckland, New Zealand
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