Sometimes I write about Dad. In fact, to be honest, I do it more often these days than never before;
October 26, 2015
Tonight while I readied to take out the trash for the scheduled early morning pickup, I joked with Dad that while other people have helpers – a common presence in Malaysian households – to do house chores, everything in our family home is voluntary and free labor. Like this evening with those gift packs, I added, meaning those colorful bags filled with candies which I helped to fill for Eldest Sis’ small family-event this Saturday. “In other households, these are usually done by their maids. But here? It’s all by residents of the house!” I said with a laugh, meaning nothing beyond these words.
Without turning to look at me – as usual, because few things that come out from my mouth surprise him – he simply quietly said, “Teamwork, Jane.” As in, just think of it as working together – no one loses. I responded, “But of course!” and made my way downstairs and outside to empty the trash, though I could not help but let out a huge grin the whole time.
It’s just so like him, you know? Even in the littlest things, he’s always thinking kindly of a situation or person.
Once again, not for the first time, I thought to myself that I genuinely hope that as I grow older, my soul will emulate his. With all the sincerity in my heart, I hope I will turn into an adult, woman, who not only looks at everything in life with glass half-full perspectives, but most importantly do so towards people and their circumstances. In his heart and through his mind’s eyes, everyone is a white canvas – pure, untainted, and well-meaning. His heart is as gentle as his soul.
I pray with all my might that my heart will remain as soft as his is, when I reach the(his) grand age of 65 …because as has been said before, it takes courage to stay gentle in a hardened world. Dad’s a true champ.
October 20, 2015
Two nights ago I shared with Mum and Dad stories from my recent Amsterdam trip, including recalling hilarious commentaries made by one of two of our travel partners. By training, he’s a religious scholar who completed his studies in the Middle East …yet recalled tales from youth filled with PG19 details.
I went into specifics about some of the crazy adventures he lived to recall tales of and Dad, as usual, never once looked up from his laptop screen – no raised eyebrows or flinching; nothing. At the end of my storytelling as Mum was just about to draw her long point (because Mum is Mum ha), Dad responded with only a short statement, “Itulah. Sebaik-baik manusia pun, manusia jugakkan.” (lit. That’s it. How mighty a human being – still a human being.)
When I shared his response with Eldest Sis yesterday, I told her, “I thought it was a meaningful reply from him that said everything.” She smiled. “He has this ability, isn’t it? He doesn’t come off as judging too.” I kept quiet while I changed lanes (yes, I was driving! Brownie points) then said with a sigh, as if in afterthought, “He’s so poetic with his words sometimes.” Silly me, though I didn’t say this out loud, for sometimes wondering from where or whom did I inherit this gift with words. Bonus points if my heart beats gently like his does, with kindness and tenacity.
October 19, 2015
I told Dad about my news-from-Facebook this week, that I was very surprised to find out some girls from my high school batch were/had gotten married (I’m a late-bloomer adult, forgive my snail’s pace – still mentally computing the fact that while I’m just about to start holding a job – my first – others are already moving on to phase 2+ of adulthood) and of course, how this also meant their best girlfriends stood as bridesmaids. “Wow, these girls,” I confessed to him, “Almost unrecognizable, some of them. I had to zoom in to identify who’s who. They’ve grown up so well. They’ve all become… ladies.” I laughed, then paused for a long second. “It makes me feel odd in comparison, in a way? Here I am, still the same old; looking like this, dressed like this.” Dad, without looking up from his laptop screen, responded in the most unperturbed tone, “That’s good … isn’t that good? You’re you. You’re still you. Why would you want to change you?”
I’m… always grateful that I grew up and am raised by parents who’ve always encouraged their kids to have distinct, strong sense of selves – to so much as wish, forget aspire, to be someone else much less think it’s okay to just settle for second-rate versions of ourselves – non-negotiable, unacceptable. There are elements from our childhood and upbringing that we can only understand in hindsight through older, exposed eyes; Alhamdulillah. Because the only version that was allowed in the family home was our best, truest and most authentic selves – hey, I grew up and turned out well too.