roots and branches.

Yesterday a custom-made family calendar arrived in my mail, sweetly put together by Eldest Sis using family photos we’ve taken over the years. She is, admittedly, quite the sentimental bunny these days — I blame it on being heavily pregnant with her number 2 – and a small part of me wondered if mailing it over to me at this point in time is necessary; I am after all, headed home for good at the end of June.

contemplative solitude

But this morning I noticed one of the older photos.

I’m not sure if I can place who’s who of the four kids with crazy facial expressions in the photo, but at the center was unmistakably Dad. It immediately made me smile because this photo encapsulates the essence of Dad — surrounded by cutie patootie monkeys yes, but even then: a book in hand, unrivaled in focus.

Dad was always sickly, even as a child, so he learned early on that the only way to open up his worldview was through the colorful and affecting stories brought to life through written words. When I was younger, I was often confused why books like the Bible and Torah, among others, were in our house. It’s not until later that I understood that Dad, despite his personal biases and principles on various issues, understood that to fully understand another is always, to first attempt walking in their shoes – or delve into their minds. As Third Sis puts it about Mum, similarly, Dad believes the road is long and learning has no end. Like any parent, Dad is imperfect but whatever that he stands for, those nuances shape the individual I am today. Thanks Dad, not just for the compassion in your heart but also for the worlds that come alive in your mind.

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