The difference between me and your other children.
|I remember you when I was a child.
You were there for me. Always. You were there when I took my first step. You were there when I tried to swim. And you were always the one snapping pictures of me every month since my birth.
At ten, I asked why. And you said "I wanted to see you grow, that's why".
At sixteen, when flipping through the yellowing pages of the dusty album, I asked again. You seemed hesitant. I prompted. And then came your answer: "I never had a chance with your brother and your sister".
That night, I wondered what you meant, "Never having a chance with my siblings?" What about that time when you gave my sister an expensive glass sculpture? What about that time when you gave my brother five thousand dollars and told him that it's not a loan, but a gift? Weren't those 'chances' for you to prove that you were a father to them?
And there I was wondering why I only received a hug and a kiss on the cheek on my birthday. Don't you know that I love receiving presents, Dad?
But then again, I've often forgot that without fail, you've always given me whatever I wanted and needed. It is unfair of me to demand more material gifts. But I understand now. You only see them once a year.
Earlier today, we were on a quest to find the best places to eat. On the way to get the best shish kebabs, I turned to you and asked about your past. About your experiences during the World War 2. And as we cruised along the empty road, you regaled me with stories of having to hide in the drains when bombs rained the earth. You talked to me about your grandmother, the one you loved so much. Through your stories, I realised that I know more about you than my siblings did.
Do they know that you like your coffee black and thick? And just a tiny bit of raw sugar to go with it? Do they know that you simply hate those annoying radio ads and you would always mimic them to make me laugh?
As you filled me with stories, I took a moment to stop and take a good look at you. Your skin is brown, dry and thin. That's what being seventy is all about, right? I look at your face, wizened with age. A face who's been through the best and the worst the world can offer. A face who knows the pain, the agony life can put you through. The face I came to love. The face I came to know as my father's.
I realised that I am more fortunate than my older siblings. I know you better than them. I get to cook lunches with you. I get to go to the beach on weekdays with you!
I know now what you mean by "never having a chance" with my siblings. But with me, you are different. You have been a real, hands-on father, guiding me, your teenage daughter through a journey called life.
And I love you for that, Dad.