In this socially distanced time, restrictions on large gatherings have put a dampener on many festivities. Today, celebrations of any kind have become something to look forward to and celebrate.
The upcoming Mother’s Day is no exception when families are likely to safely gather to celebrate mums, grandmums, and even amazing aunts. It is certainly a time to stop, take time out from the business of daily life, and pay tribute to the women in one’s life. Often, it is these women who are the heart of the family, drawing people close and helping to nurture these bonds.
Some women, as we discovered with two Bank of Singapore colleagues, have managed to find some rather unusual bonding activities that help keep them close to their kids.
The activities they share with their families help them go beyond the typical parent-and-child relationship, these mums tell us. Read on.
They can't stop the music
From left: Kylie, Ryley, Kwee Bee's mum, Kwee Bee and Shaun are a family band in the making.
Teo Kwee Bee is a business manager at our Operations & Technology division who is responsible for staff engagement and communications. And at home, she has a band in the making – with members comprising her mother and children. In fact, on Mother’s Day this year, they will probably gather and have a jam session.
Kwee Bee, who plays guitar, grew up listening to her father belt out his favourite tunes.
“Music was constantly playing at home and in the car, whether it was the radio or the cassette player. My dad used to sing to the tunes of Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Carole King, and many more,” recalls Kwee Bee.
“I wanted to impart that love for music to my children. We listen to a lot of music at home – they are quite familiar with the ‘oldies’ as a result.”
But their love of music went far beyond that. When Kwee Bee picked up the guitar several years ago, her kids also began their own musical journeys. Her eldest son, Shaun, 24, taught himself the acoustic guitar while second son Ryley, 19, picked up the bass and electric guitar. Daughter Kylie, 16, taught herself the ukulele before transitioning to acoustic and bass guitar.
Meanwhile, Kwee Bee’s mum also picked up the ukulele several years ago. This year, the 82-year-old began playing the keyboards.
Naturally, their shared love music has brought the family together, even if their tastes differ.
“Kylie plays K-pop and songs from indie bands, while Ryley is into everyone from Slipknot, to Avenged Sevenfold and Led Zeppelin. My mum plays and sings to old songs like Stand By Me and Unchained Melody,” says Kwee Bee.
“We share and learn new songs from each other all the time. Our music sharing spans pop to metal, K-pop, and even the blues and jazz. When we are in the car together, we take turns to play a song of choice,” she says. “We become a captive audience to each other’s individual music preferences which creates conversation. It is a connection that brings us closer together, even if we don’t agree with the person’s musical selection.”
Some bands they all like and have in common are U2, Eagles, Queen, Oasis, Duran Duran and The Beatles. These familiar tunes will likely end up on jamming playlists for the family, says Kwee Bee.
Kwee Bee’s kids get insights into her mother’s life as well, thanks to music.
“My mum shares stories with her grandchildren about her life as a teen. She talks about the popular tunes of the 1950s and 1960s, and the dance fads like the twist. The sentimental songs of those eras – like Tell Laura I Love Her – strike a chord with the kids.”
Kwee Bee adds that she can “sense my children’s emotional states just by listening to what they’re playing”. “There are songs that ignite deeper conversations about love, relationships, life, and finding motivation and inspiration.”
“Music is a form of communication for us. It helps me to bond with my kids, understand what they are going through, and gives me insight into their states of mind and perspectives.”
This tightly knit musical group will likely even have an audience this Mother’s Day when they pull out their instruments.
“A Mother’s Day gathering usually includes some extended family members – other mothers like the kids’ aunts,” says Kwee Bee. “It’ll be a chance for my mum to show off her newfound keyboard skills. She’ll definitely be crooning, as well.”
Break a leg!
The way of the warrior
Kaiden and mum Lydia devote at least an hour each weekend to martial arts 'training'.
Lydia Mohamed Haniff-Sun spends her days as an operations specialist for our Front Office Support Services. But she devotes at least an hour each weekend to ‘training’ with six-year-old Kaiden.
“When I put my baby, 16-month-old Emma, down for a nap, it’s time for a bonding session with Kaiden,” explains Lydia. “About a year ago during Circuit Breaker, we began connecting on an unexpected level. He began teaching me jiu jitsu moves, and I began teaching him kickboxing,” she explains.
The dynamic pair discovered their love for these two sports separately. Lydia picked up kickboxing last year when she was looking for a sport that would help her tone up and build strength after delivering Emma.
Kaiden has been in jiu jitsu classes since he was three years old and goes to weekly lessons.
“His name is Celtic for ‘warrior’ and I guess we named him well,” says Lydia with a chuckle. “From a young age, he was fond of superhero movies – like most kids are. My husband and I thought to have him try out various martial arts to see if he would like it.”
Kaiden tried out everything from taekwondo to silat, but it was jiu jitsu that stuck. And the discipline of the sport has been good for Kaiden. He is a good listener, and has gone from shy with strangers, to strikingly confident, says Lydia.
Their weekend training sessions together all started when Lydia noticed that Kaiden was “missing me a little bit” because she was busy with the new baby.
One afternoon when Emma was asleep, Kaiden began showing Mum some new moves he had learnt. Mum reciprocated in kind and decided to make it a regular thing.
“It’s quite physical and tiring, but it’s worth it,” she says. “Kaiden might teach me new flips and kicks – not that I can execute them well!”
It has led to her getting to know her son’s strengths. “I am so amazed that he can actually articulate what I am supposed to do. He is a good, patient little teacher,” she says. “We have also built a mutual respect for each other,” she adds. “He is attentive when I ask him to help me around the house, or with his sister. It’s like we have turned into a team.”
Dad, by the way, lets the two have their moment each weekend. When asked what he gets up to during that hour, Lydia laughs and says: “He does his own thing. Sometimes he takes a nap.”
Lydia’s husband does make make an effort with Mother’s Day. In years past, it has even been celebrated with a short overseas trip. This year, the family is planning on a staycation at a nice hotel, says Lydia.
If you have a spontaneous fight session, just don’t break anything, you two. Have a happy Mother’s Day.Disclaimer applicable to recommendation
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