Julia:  Isn’t it funny, how little things can really irritate?  Like sitting down on the sofa with a good book, and the bulb in the reading light bursts.  Or, when you’ve nurtured a seedling and it’s just beginning to look as if it might survive, when a squirrel decides to nab it.  Or a precious lamp broken because someone carelessly whirled round with a broom in their hand!

Then there are the bigger things that get under my skin; a staff member who makes a mistake, but instead of telling me, tries to correct it and makes the situation a million times worse!  Or the dry cleaners who inadvertently shrink my favourite silk evening pants.  Or the workmen who promise to finish in two weeks, but two months later are saying, “It’ll be ready for Christmas”.

But so many of these irritations are what create our own personal history.  Unexpectedly bumping into friends and knowing I had to tell them that the bird they left in our care, flew away when the bottom of its cage fell out.  Sweating in the noontime heat of India for an “almond” coloured car, only to remember 20 minutes later I’d been told “pistachio” – and that that car had been parked outside waiting for us all the time!  Or opening my mouth ready to complain, only to hear, “I’m so sorry, I know just how you feel.”  The wind is whipped right out of my sails.  That’s all I needed – an apology and some sympathy.  As adults, it nice to remember how our mothers gave us a hug, or wiped away a tear, saying that everything was going to be all right.

Little irritations?  Just give me a big hug and tell me, “It’s all better now.”

Hoi Yee: Even today, my mother complains about my hot temper.  My husband responds by saying that a fiery temper is good for running a business and for running a household! 

When I was thirteen years old, I remember when I missed the tour bus and the next one was not for another hour.  Oh, I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the bathroom!  I just didn’t want to use those horrible toilets on buses.  I was huffy and puffy stamping around the road side with not even a bench to sit on.  I counted the cars making a statistics table for my math assignment – probably the first time I was ahead of the deadline for a school assignment! 

After I finished a long shift at my waitressing job, I left my hard earned tips in the locker room.  I was enraged when I rushed back in to find the money had been stolen.  I was only seventeen then, and each dollar that I earned after that was worth double the actual value.  I don’t think I have ever lost a dime since.

I used to lose my patience, and wanted to shout louder than our son when he screamed, and screamed, and screamed!  I got angry when my jeans still would not fit over my hips six months after giving birth.  I was hopping mad when I got attitude from a sales lady who was not polite to me.

I don’t get mad on purpose.  Anger makes me feel vulnerable, actually.  Now, when our son screams, I know that he’ll tire himself out soon; when my clothes don’t fit me anymore, I happily donate them.  As for the less-than-courteous sales lady, I enjoy on-line shopping immensely! 

I still have to keep some of that hot-tempered me because I am the daughter that my mother raised and I am the woman that my husband married.