On Monday evening, when I picked Beam up, Pascale walked to me with a concerned look on her face, ‘How are you? Are you okay?’

It’d been quite a while since I last saw this lovely French lady as I let him take over this job throughout his visit here.

I smiled, ‘Yup. And you?’

‘Good, good,’ she nodded with a smile as well. But soon the smile turned a bit uneasy as if she was dealing with some thorny issue, ‘So… Everything okay? Between you two?’

I didn’t think much initially, because she’s been aware of my situation since last summer when I had to ask her, Pat and the school to watch out Beam for me as Beam was gonna spend two weeks with him alone while I had to return to Singapore first.

‘We were fine,’ my turn to nod.

I went on to tell how he seemed to be really changing and improving and Beam actually cried after the cab had left.

‘I think it’s a good sign,’ I concluded.

She heaved a sigh of relief, ‘That’s good! That’s good! Because Beambeam’s been looking kind of upset for a few days last week, I thought maybe something had happened at home and she was worried. I did not want to ask her or him. Finally I see you today…’

Well, I have to say that Pascale is really the ideal houseparent for San Kids although her very straightforward communication style might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Extra patience and thoughtfulness, together with the caring attitude, are necessary when it comes to dealing with little kids. Thanks a million, Pascale!!

Actually, friends have been showing concern, ‘So how were you guys?’

The fact that Beam cried for 25 minutes after the cab had gone gave me mixed feelings. Beam’s never a cry baby and this was only her 2nd time even though we’ve been through a lot of farewells throughout the years. Her first being with her beloved Gong Gong and Po Po in Taiwan and that was the last time we saw Dad.

On the other hand, I was glad to see the bond between the father and daughter – finally! I should be proud of myself for being a decent mother who has never used the problems between us to turn Beam against the father and the grandmother. I do work hard on it though for years I’ve been feeling very unappreciated. And the words such as ‘She’s worth nothing to me. NOTHING, you know? I’m gonna kill her if she ever breaks my laptop because my laptop’s worth way more than she is.’ (Mind you, these were not his angry words. He did it with a deliberate sneer which was meant to hurt me for no reasons, which happened quite often in the past) are still very hurtful whenever I think of it.

That day, Beam was having a piggyback ride on me while the cab slowly moving away. When it finally went out of sight, I put her down and realised that the tears had been streaming down her tubby cheeks.

Looking at her sad doe eyes which now resembled a flooded amber lake and the delicate little face, my tears rolled down, too. I recalled how she hasn’t been able to spend quality time with own father like normal kids do ever since she was born.

It was his indifference towards our deep sorrow at the dysfunctional family life (And guess what has caused it?!) and his inability to deal with himself honestly that had pushed us further and further away. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me for ‘earning’ this kind of treatment from my own partner. That side of so-called ‘family’, including him, blamed me for almost everything which made me feel that I was nothing but a failure.

After we walked back into the house, I grabbed a bath towel and sat down on the staircase, with Beam still burying her tearful face in my arms. Gently, I wrapped the towel around her small body and cuddled her the way I did when she was a baby.

Well… here we are, again, just you and me, Tro Tro. Be strong. Baba’s visiting next March. It shall not be long…

Doe-eyed Beam…