Today is my Dad’s birthday. He’s 61. You may think I’m late into my 20s already, given his age. But I’m only 22 this year.
When I was in primary school, I was embarrassed with his age. Judge me if you will, because I deserve every bit of condemnation and judgement. I remember when I had a class BBQ at the neighbourhood park, and my friends and I were hanging around the stone table, digging into our chicken wings and chatting. Then, from afar, I saw my dad. His hair was all grey and thinning. My friends dads were into their thirties, young, and at the peak of their lives. My dad? He was old. And I felt that it was embarrassing if my friends knew his age. I had a few friends who knew his age, and they were all: Ohhh-hooooo, and ahhhh-ahhhhh. Dont blame them for being immature, cause adults react this way too- I’ll get back to this in a while.
So, I remember sitting on the stone table, holding on to my chicken wing, and sincerely wishing that my dad wouldn’t walk this way. But as ‘luck’ would have it, he walked towards us and gently waved at me. I waved back at him and said hi. But boy, I was embarrassed. And for the next few years, I’ll try to avoid talking about my dad’s ages to my friends.
When I went into poly, everything was kinda cool. People don’t talk about families as much, and I had half forgotten that I had an ‘old’ dad. Maybe I was more secure and confident about myself, and I had big dreams that I was dying for. Perhaps I even lived in a fantasy world for a while, a world where dreams gets fulfilled and decent movies get made in Singapore.
And then, as I mature, the issue of family comes into place again. I see the importance of a family, I see how much my parents and grandparents have done for me, and I learn from them. And the little issue about my dad pops up again.
My friend shared with me how he/she found out that his/her dad has a mistress, and how hard it has been for my friend and his/her family (trying to be as ambiguous as possible here..) It basically tore the family apart. And it hurt me to hear things like this.
Then, I looked into my life, and I’m so damn grateful my dad’s not this kind. I’m not saying just cause nothing has been revealed. I’m saying because I know it’s true. I trust him, and I know so deeply how much he loves the family. It strucked me- so what if he’s old? So what if he’s 60 when I just become and adult. Yes, we have quite abit of a generation gap- he doesnt quite know what FaceBook is, and he’s comfortable using his old Nokia phone. Even my grandma has a smart phone and is more hooked onto technology than he is. But hey, he’s faithful to my mum, he never abuses us, and he always teach us how to be a good person. I have the ideal dad with me since I was born, so how could I ever be embarrassed with his age?
As I have mentioned, adults have told me that it’s not quite right to have such an old man for a dad. (from TV shows and all, and from conversations I’ve heard from others) But as my lecturer would put it, thats seeing the smaller picture. Whats most important? What are the demands from a father? He can feed the family (he actually sold his beloved house for millions just to be able to send me to the US for my further studies), he loves us and our mum, he respects my mum’s parents and loves them as his own, and he teaches us to be ladies and virtues (he once caned me for asking him to write a fake MC to my swimming teacher).
He’s hair may be all white now. He’s a little hard of hearing. My sis and I love to joke that he’s entering a second childhood in his presence just to tease him. But he has never once been the lesser of a Dad anyone could ask for. In fact, he’s perfect. He’s more than perfect.
Happy Birthday Daddy. We’re forever your little girls ❤