Happy Birthday Dad.
... he who turns 49 on this very year.
"Just pass it to me. I will fix it for you" was what my dad said to me when he saw me struggling to connect the parts to my mini Tamiya Car. There I was drenched in sweat, figuring which part goes where and my dad, almost without any effort at all, took over and fixed my Tamiya Car with ease. He makes it look so easy, I'm actually ashamed of myself. "Anything else you want me to do?" I told him I needed to buy some other parts from the shop opposite the street near our house. It was quite late at night but he got dressed in an instant and brought me to the shop to get the parts that I was missing and my frown turned into a smile.
Tamiya Cars were really the biggest thing back then in the early 2000s. Knowing that, my dad bought me an entire race track so that I can play my toy car at home. The race track was huge, so huge it took up almost my entire room. But I was happy because that was actually the best birthday present he had ever got for me.. ever.
Without fail, he'd bring me to various places in our hometown area to play my car (cos there were race tracks everywhere.. outside provision shops) probably because he didn't want me going there alone. Unfortunately for me, that was the last sweet memory I had.. spending quality time with him.
My dad and I share a very complicated relationship. We don't talk much to each other anymore. In fact, we hardly talk at all. Save for our good looks, that was the only thing we had in common. I get envious every single time I see my friend interacting so well with their dad. Makes me wonder, why isn't my relationship with my dad like that?
He was never there for any of my achievements since primary school. I took part in a Relay Race and landed 3rd place but he wasn't there to share my joy. When I collected my PSLE & O Level results, he wasn't there either. I understand. He's just too busy with his job, which takes up too much of his time.
I realised that every single time he's present at a key milestone in my life, I only had nothing but bad memories of it. When I first got enrolled into Bedok Green Secondary School, he shouted at me in public at the school canteen for not knowing how to tie my shoe laces. Until now, I find it ridiculous how he never got the patience to teach me. I slowly figured it out on my own in the end despite taking the shortcut and just tucking the strings inside the shoe.
When I got enlisted into NS, he had nothing good to say to me. All I remember was that he told me, "You're gonna die" Well, not literally. Thanks for the support dad!
And on my first book-in to camp, he said a lot of hurtful words to me, which was seriously very degrading to me and not needed at all. It seemed as if he had been bottling up all of those feelings for a very long time and he just exploded there. He regretted after that because he tried to give me a hug and made an apology to me (for the first time ever) and said he only said what he said because he cared for me. Being hurt by his words and actions, I just shrugged him off and I said, "Go away. I do not want to talk to you." And on that very day, I booked in to camp with tears in my eyes. It was embarrassing. Everyone was looking at me, but I just couldn't control it, as much as I had wanted to.
My dad wasn't there to share his NS experience with me. But there he was sharing his experience with my other cousins when that should have been me. My dad wasn't there for me when I needed someone to stand up for me when my aunt was spewing lies after lies about me. Instead, he took her side, forced me to apologize to her and once we reached home, I received a good beating from him. I just wished he'd asked me, what happened in the first place. But he didn't. The whole world was pretty much against me at that point of time. No one stood up for me. And I just took everything in despite it not being the truth.
When others asked my dad about my favorite sport, he told them I'm not that much of an athletic person. You think I asked for any of this? My dad never brought me out to play soccer or hardly any sports at all. My dad wasn't that much of an influence to me.. at all so why was he making it seem like everything I do is entirely my fault?
Sometimes, all I ever needed from my dad was something that no amount of money can buy. And that something is his precious words of encouragement, which may mean nothing to others but might just mean a lot to me.I just needed someone to tell me, "Congrats on your results!" instead of "Why (insert cousin's name) did better than you?" in reference to my O Level results, which was one digit away from being a single digit. (I thought that was good enough. But not good enough for him, I guess.)
Or even, "Don't worry about NS, you'll be fine. Take every day as it comes." instead of "Just let him be la. He never go exercise. He will just die in NS." But I'm glad I had my uncle in Sydney calling me to talk about his experience and what to expect.
Even until now, when I left for Brunei, while we were at the airport departure gate, I wanted to see if he'd say anything.. a goodbye at least. But he didn't. He said nothing to me for the whole week before I left. It seemed like he didn't care about me at all. Maybe I'm just expecting too much. Or maybe he did cared about me but he didn't know how to put it into words. Relationships are broken most of the time because of words being left unsaid.
I try my very best to be that perfect son to him. I know I'm different from most guys out there. But I try, no matter how harsh he was and still is to me, I listen, do his bidding and respect him. His words always have their way of affecting me. When he commented that the house was messy, I pick up a broom, despite the time, and start sweeping the floor till it's dust free. When he said I'm always eating, I just stopped eating.
Despite all of this, my dad should know that I'm proud of him for being a Prison Officer. And I can only imagine what it's like for him looking at the photos he brought back home after every event or when he gets promoted to a higher rank. He never talked to any of us about his job, but I wished he did.
We may feel awkward talking to each other but that never stopped him from being a father to me. He actually does care for me, I just have to open my eyes wider to see it. And this side of him does exist.. and only shows rarely in certain cases when I'm sick.. or when I lost my phone, in which I was expecting him to shout at me but he didn't. He just bought me a new one, straight after work.
That's my dad for you. It may seem that I do not care or bother about him at all.. but in fact, I do. I don't know what our family would do without him because though he may not be there at key milestones in my life, he was there for me most of the time when I was so much younger, fixing my bicycle whenever it broke down or replacing the tyre whenever it gets flat, fixing the television, computer and the list goes on and on. He may know how to fix almost everything.. but I just wished he knew how to fix and mend this broken relationship between him and me.
Happy Birthday Dad. Thank you for everything you've done for me all this while since young. And don't worry, I won't dump you into the old folks' home when you're older and.. irritating cos that's the right thing to do.. after all you've done for me.
Labels: Daily Musings