As a father of two years, I reflect a lot on what my parents were thinking at the time I was two years old. Especially, I think about what my father thought of. Did he think the same things as me as I do now?
Does he think about his career? Does he think about how best to raise his kids? Does he think about is he a good father? Does he think about how will he be when his kids are grown up – teenager, adults, parents?
Unfortunately, I will never know as my father was taken by the good Lord almost 15 years ago in Jan 2001. But what lives on in me his the 21 years that he was around which I believe now are the critical years for any parent and child.
Despite all the family strife and annoyances we deal with today with our parents, you tend to forget the sacrifices and attention your parents gave you while growing up. When they’ve left your life here, all you remember are those good times and maybe a few of those unforgettable bad times. But those are the moment that will shape your life forever.
A few moments always come to my mind about my dad. For one, I remember he was always around in the evenings to make sure I brushed my teeth and said good night to me. You see, my dad was a restaurant manager so had to work in the evenings so both my sister and I would wait for him to come back home before sleeping. It would usually be around 9-930pm. Sometimes we would even stay up a bit to watch the 10pm news and catch the sports news at the end before going to bed. Sometimes he would even let me watch a bit of Johnny Carson talk show before going to bed.
In the mornings he didn’t have to get to work until 1030ish-11amish for the lunch service. So he would have time in the morning to make our breakfast (eggs and ketchup and sometimes oatmeal which I didn’t like too mush) and also prepare our sack lunch. He would even take us to school if we were running late. But he didn’t like that as he preferred us to take the bus. Probably because he knew we were paying for it via taxes. I get it now!
In the afternoons he would be off so if I needed to get picked up in the afternoon at 330pm when school was out he would get me. But most days when I got older I would take the bus or stay at school for sports or music.
He would always prepare some afternoon snack for me before he head back to the restaurant. He would also prepare some dinner so that when my mom came home she didn’t have to do much other than make rice (until I got old enough to make rice and start to prepare dinner!).
On weekends, he wouldn’t have to go to work until the early afternoon and I believe in Sunday’s he didn’t work. I remember that on Saturdays we used to go to 9am church service and then have a lung afterwards. We stopped going to church for sometime so during that period we would do stuff together in the mornings whether it was working in the yard in the summertime or shovelling the snow in the winter. My dad would also be around to throw the baseball around or take me to my games early mornings before he had to go to work.
Sunday’s were typically a day of family time. We may go into the city to have dim sum or just stuck around the house and do house chores. Sounds a bit like what I do now.
As I got into high school I look back and start to remember that those years I started to do less stuff with the family. Though when there were family events like dinners or Christmas and thanksgiving we were always together. But those years it was all about fitting in, girls, finding your identity, etc. Parents were not cool but were there to supposedly give you guidance during your teen years. I have to say that those years were probably the toughest for my parents. Or maybe it was university years.
My dad was around when I arm tarted bringing girls home. So at least in that front he probably knew I would be okay in the girl department. He also was around to give me lessons in driving. He gave me lots of practical lessons in life, indirectly. Like most Asian dads, he wouldn’t necessarily have a one on one with you about stuff. The only time I can remember he did was when he found my Playboy magazine and then had a serious one on one about permissions sex and told me about my uncle who had contracted HIV. That was shocking and also a very touching moment between me and my dad. Something I never would have expected.
My dad was a sensible man. Never got angry but always was rationale when he knew I was doing something wrong or something he disapproved of. He would just use that opportunity to teach me a lesson and show disappointment.
I really think that the disappointment factor works the best as that had the biggest impact on me. And now as a parent I can see see that he might be thinking of was thinking where did I go wrong. Or did I teach him that? But I suppose at some point you lose a bit of influence in your kids and you just pray and hope that the foundation you have built supports those pillars in your kid’s life that will make him grow.
Now that my dad is physically not here to see the work that he has done with me, he can watch from the heavens. His legacy lives on within me as a father of two years. I know he is watching and I am so thankful for his guidance. I love you dad.