6th Sep 2020
This father’s day, I learnt something immeasurable (or unquantifiable) from my children. It is their unconditional love!
I grew up in a setup where open display of appreciation and love were uncommon. Though I am thankful to have (touch wood) understanding set of parents, they have their own shortcomings courtesy of their upbringing and the generational shifts. I am glad that they have raised and supported me in my life choices and haven’t been overbearing. They were the protective types — a common trait amongst Asian parents.
When I grew up in the 80s and 90s, I never thought of greeting my parents on a father’s or mother’s day. We probably never heard of such days and our schools didn’t cultivate activities honouring and remembering Parents. For a country that is conservative in not permitting open display of love or in a culture where an open display of love is frowned upon in public places, such emotions are kept suppressed and internalised.
Even when I travel annually to meet my Parents and extended family members/ friends, there is an overwhelming feeling to hide explicit display of affection and gratitude to many that have influenced, challenged and supported me. As is common in many cultures, men don’t cry and need to internalise their happiness or grief. This could lead to communication issues in marriages when a spouse could misinterpret such non expression of emotion through cards/gifts as lack of interest or love.
On this father’s day as I returned home from the usual Sunday routine of playing badminton with local colleagues, my son and daughter had placed their well planned card and simple gifts on my work desk. I knew it was father’s day but didn’t realize my son had taken the opportunity to sneak in stealthily to place those items to express their love and appreciation.
I have honestly never been the kind of father I really intended to be. Of late, I have been very angry and impatient with my children due to turbulent marital relationship and added stress of living in a competitive place like Sydney (big city woes) further compounded by a semi-paralysed Pandemic stricken life. Things that you once took for granted are no longer the same and what you considered as boring routines are in fact you end up longing for.
As I slowly opened their card and gifts left on my work desk, I could sense something move on the window side. It was my son who was carefully observing my reaction and hid himself as I noticed and waved at him from inside the room. I was simply blown over by my children’s thoughtfulness. They weren’t expensive gifts. It showed how much they look upon us as examples and how much Parents should offer in terms of their emotional support and consistency. I felt very ashamed inside on my own behaviour of being very rude to my son whenever he did disobeyed me or was very upset. Children reflect their Parents’ behaviour and I should have known this. He had the heart to forgive and a magnanimity that I lacked.
I was completely blown away by their love!
I would like to share with you pictures of their expression of love and it means a lot to me.
There was a thoughtful description of what activities that I like, do, and tell my daughter — as a part of her kindergarten class exercise. It was simply thrilling to see how observant these kids are!
To all the father’s out there — wish you a memorable Father’s day! Though my marital relationship isn’t great, I have to thank my spouse (their mother) for imparting some thoughtful qualities in my children. As mentioned earlier, my father isn’t a great communicator. I can attribute some thoughtful qualities on my side largely to my mother who made it a point to wish others’ on their anniversaries.
I was fortunate to have my father by my side during this father’s day — which made it all the more special. He was totally moved by his grandchildren’s gesture and felt bad that he never truly expressed an appreciation or token of love for his father (i.e. my grandfather).