Last week, I was chatting with a colleague when she mentioned that she was going to be tied up on Sunday. I teased her about it, what could make her so busy on a Sunday?
It’s Father’s Day, she said. Don’t you need to celebrate too?
As a matter of fact, I don’t.
It’s been 23 years since I lost my father to a stroke. Most of the time, I don’t feel anything, we had lost him when I was little. Many Father’s Day(s) have come and gone without my noticing. But strangely enough, I felt it acutely this year.
My Mom tried her best to be both a father and a mother to us, she was literally my whole world when I was growing up. But looking back now, I think my life definitely lacked shape and colour without my father, and I hold what precious little memories I have of him to heart.
Like those times when I would lie on top on him like he was my armchair as we watch TV, him slumped on the sofa with his legs propped up on the coffee table. Or when he dried my hair after a shower and rubbed it so hard that I yelled out in pain and thought, Eh, he’s no Mommy. Or when he made fried rice for lunch and I politely took a few bites because it didn’t taste as good as Mommy’s food.
After all these years, I have come to realise that while Mom makes your world go round, it’s Papa who lights it up. You go to Mommy for everyday needs – when you are hungry, when you cut your finger while attempting to aslice up a watermelon, when you are sick and about to throw up, when you fall down and your knee is in shreds.
But Papa, oh, how magical are the moments you spend with him. Only Papa can make you feel special when he picks you up from school. When you see him and his little car parked in a parking lot across the road from your school, you’re so happy that you yell Hey Papa! You run to the little car and sit in the passenger seat, like a princess. And then he zips from one end of the carpark to the other…and you’ve reached home.
Nevermind that the ride was all of 30 seconds. It’s cool because Papa picked you up from school!
I’ve never thought much about missing my Papa. But suddenly, I do. Miss him, I mean. I’ve never been a Daddy’s girl and I never will be, and he wasn’t around to walk me down the aisle. I had to grow up a lot faster than my peers and be a lot more independent. It’s made me who I am today but truthfully, it sucked a whole lot when I was younger.
To all fathers, fathers-to-be and those hoping to be a father one day, I hope you had a great day on Sunday.