Maemunah, Maimuna, Jumilah

Three persons as a start? Of course not. The three names indicate one particular person. The woman who delivered me into this galaxy.

Let me start with the herstory of the name.

My mom was born in May 1954 or 1955. As Indonesian, I am sure this is not just my mom’s case. There are so many stories like what my mom has about baby boomers who were born in that era. Unregistered or falsely registered, until at some point they need the birth certificate or ID card, then the confusion started.

In her case, it was in the early 70’s when Beatles and Soneta Grup were hitting the road as the most popular bands, a very beautiful young lady named Jumilah was looking for a job. She’s just turning 16. Of course it’s really hard to find one in her age without proper education. So, her friend told her to change her identity to be somebody completely new and make it a year or two older, in order to get the job. And.. voila! To make the story short, the Jumilah person was suddenly disappeared from the orbit, and replaced by Maimonah or Maimuna (still confused of which one is more valid) who was born a year earlier.

And, guess what? She got the job! That’s just how it works.

So I remember it’s been a confusion for me as little girl to find out that our big family member called my mom with “La” as the abbreviation of Jumilah, while her friends from work called her “Mun” from Maimuna. And I just realized that my sister use the word “Moon” for our mother in her contact number. She’s nothing like a moon at all. She’s not circling around a planet full of selfish living creatures. She is a star. She has her own source of light.

What’s so special about her, so that she got the chance to be in the 1st list of this category? Not just because she is my mother, but also because she’s a very strong character.


Ah, look at the mirror. It’s in the blood, no?

As the 1st child of 7 siblings of an army member, she has no choice. My grandfather who I’ve never had a chance to meet in person moved a lot when he served the country. My grandmother who then got pregnant again and again like every year or two was too busy to take care of the kids and the house by herself. So my mom were often had to take the responsibility as the decision maker in the house. In the age of 13, she’s starting to make money by selling fried bananas all the way through the barracks. She was brave enough to say no to the married proposal from an old man when she was 14 or 15. Thank God she did.

I cannot imagine a teenager like her, has to fight against her own mother to say no and to be able to prove that she can help the family without marrying the old man. No one was on her side. Marriage considered as the solution to get away from the poverty at that time. And sadly it still is for some people in my country. And she was the only one who is brave enough to NOT buy the idea.

And she was right.

Extremely smart

Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t have any degree. She didn’t even finish her elementary school. But she managed to get the job in one of the major fabric company in Salatiga, she also manage to build her own restaurant back in 80s in Lampung, and raised her 4 well educated manner sweet kids. I’m bragging about that, I know. I’m not that well manner nor sweet, haha. But my mom has the biggest role for her kids’ education is something we cannot deny.


She’s not a good manager, but she is a total survivor. Even in the lowest point or our family situation, she always finds a way to survive. When the restaurant was closing down due to mismanagement, we survived. When my dad had strokes and heart attack couples of times, she’s turning into the 24/7 dedicated carer for him, and she did it with smile.


She is the most beautiful woman in the world. I remember when I was a little girl, she asked me to accompany her in a dance rehearsal and I was like, wow… she’s a real bambi. It was Tari Kijang (Dancing of the Deer). She’s so pretty. Can I ever be as pretty as her when I was in her age, that’s my question at that time. She was on her 20th, by the way.

I tried to copy whatever she did in the past, but it didn’t work well. I cannot dance, I cannot sing, I don’t cook, and I am never be as pretty as her. She will always be the most beautiful woman for me.


She is so fun to be with. She told me stories and sang in the middle of the stories, with Maduranese traditional song. The tittle of the story is Toron Pepek. I remember the story very well.

She talks to anything that makes her scared instead of screaming out loud and run, e.g. mouse, cats, unseen thingy, and other things like frying pans, knives, stoves, vegetables. I remember my dad thought that she’s with somebody else in the kitchen in the middle of the night, and he silently trying to listen to what they’re talking about. And this is what he heard: “Ah, if you don’t want to show yourself, fine. I will find you like it or not, anyway.” That’s with the knives or frying pans. Or, “Bad bad bad bad… I gave you food. You supposed to know that. But this one is not yours. This supposed to be for my grandkids. Show some respect to me.” You know exactly to whom she spoke, right? Yes, mouse or cat.

Easy to be loved

When I grow older and think that what I feel to my mom is very subjective, I finally can prove it wrong. My friends like my mom. They told her secret things like, when their 1st pubic hair grew… euh, their secret secret secret love stories, their family problems and many other secret things. And now I can see it even clearer. My nephews are always running and jump into my mom and hold her and kiss her like they’ve been parted for 10 years. They are 3 and 5 years old, by the way. Al kissed my mom’s face nonstop for his 1st hour arrived at his granny’s home. El started to do the same thing lately. And my mom gets along with her in law very well.

She is the only person who gets the privilege as the must pick up the phone in any condition for me. She is my ring #1. And I call her, Ibuk.

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Dian adalah penulis Perempuan yang Menangis kepada Bulan Hitam dan 8 novel serta kumpulan cerita lainnya. Peraih grant Residensi Penulis Indonesia 2019 dan She Creates Change Green Camp 2020 ini lahir tahun 1976, belajar komunikasi di Universitas Diponegoro dan STIK Semarang, lalu lanjut belajar perlindungan anak di Kriminologi UI. Dia adalah anak ke-2 dari 4 bersaudara, ibu dari Vanya Annisa Shizuka dan beberapa anak lain. Saat ini Dian menghabiskan banyak waktunya menjadi penulis lepas dan konsultan untuk isu perlindungan anak dan kekerasan berbasis gender.

  1. First off all, let me thank you that you decided to post this in English. tbh i started to copy it, to put it into Google translate, then realized that i could read behasa. Fluently. I did it, i finally did it …….. But no, I realized it was in English 🙂

    I have never met your mother, but hope to be granted that chance at least once. She looks like a lovely lady, remembers me a bit like my own mother. And my greatest wish is that anyone reading it, will also think in the same way about her/his mother.

    We are talking here at the most beautifull and ultimate form of love. Unconditional love. Maybe the only love stronger then the love for a child to its parents could be the love the parent feels for the child (could be …). It’s the kind of love I hope non related human beings will be able to feel for eachother somewhere in the far away future.

    I just last week told my oldest daughter (she being an insecure young adult, as most young adult’s are) that I will love her whatever she does (this is btw not the same as me agreeing on everything she does, like true parents there is time for praise and a time for discipline), and that this love will stay there for how long I live, and after I die, I will keep loving my children from their heart.

    And in saying that, I want to thank all caring parents in the world for being great parents, and to all the loving children in the world (that is on average, I don’t think any child will be lovely at all times, but that’s in their job description of being a child) for bringing us parents joy, happiness and the feeling of being a proud parent.

    Sir Hattrick

  2. Mas Hattrick,
    Did you realize that your comment is almost as long as my post?
    Can I suggest you to have your own blog? I can give you free mentoring for a week or two, but then the mentoring charge will be applied normally at the following week?
    Oh, my marketing brain started to work again, thank God.

    Talking about mom-kids bonding, I am so lucky I was born woman. So that I have the experience to feel and to be a mother. I am close to my dad as well, will write about him anytime soon, but many of my friends having difficulties to hang out well with their dads. I believe you’re not of the dads, Mas Hattrick.
    My theory is… there is a job division between mom and dad since day one (it was Adam-Eve time), and they did it with a dice contain of only 2 words. Angel and Devil. And Adam lost. So, every Eve will always be angels for their kids for the rest of the herstory. The end.
    What a theory. Haha..

  3. I am going for the Father – Daughter / Mother – Son theory. So adam won in a competition the daughters favor and Mom’s the Son’s favor. (so that’s shorter)

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