Monday, June 22, 2009

All about Fathers

Gong gong watches on as little D plays

Funny how as the years go by more and more fathers appear in my life.

As a wee child, because I hardly ever got to see my grandparents, my father was the only father I really knew.

Growing up, an increasing sense that there is an awesome-ness to life that makes it bigger than our inevitable deaths finally brought me to my knees, and I accepted Jesus as my personal lord and savior.

So then, I had 2 fathers. My earthly "爸爸”and my Creator who through Jesus' death on the cross I can call my Abba Father.

In one, I saw the shadow of the other - a provider, a disciplinarian, a mentor who spurs me to achieve the best I could achieve, who by example shows me that a balanced life includes work and play. Both can make my head hang in utter shame and with their praise make my spirit soar to the heavens! But only in the case of my 爸爸, does play mean lots of tennis and waking up at 6am to hit the golf course for 9 holes!

And then, when I turned 22, suddenly my eldest brother became a father to a beautiful little girl, and I had a niece for the first time. It felt really odd watching this brother of mine turn from gawky teenager who tries sometimes to "parent" me into a working, married adult, and then he's now a Daddy himself!

Two years later, second elder brother got married and quickly became a Daddy too.

So then I officially had 4 fathers in my family.

Eventually, Mr Right came along, and I gained another dad - my father-in-law. So different from my own daddy in so many ways, but so similar in others. Both self-sacrificing in their generosity in helping us both set up home, and weather-beaten having lived through war and tough nation-building years we only read about in textbooks.

And then I became a mommy, and Mr Right suddenly found himself saddled with the responsibility of being a Dad to a screaming baby.

In the last two years, I shared his journey of making all the mistakes beginner parents make - not knowing how to read our baby's cues, disciplining a toddler the wrong way round, experiencing the explosive anger that only a Dad who cares about how a child should behave can express, and only afterwards realize how scary that can be for a little child.

And seeing the love grow between Daddy and son, the tender caresses at bedtime, the playful jostling and tickling, the joyful whoop our little one lets out when Daddy throws him in the air.

This weekend, we celebrated all of that, and I got to spend time with all my 6 Daddies. It's kind of come full circle for me, but I think little D is more blessed because he gets 3 daddies who adore him so - Daddy, Grandpa and Gong Gong.

At Charlie's in Katong, enjoying a Peranakan dinner:

The Chen tribe:

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