Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

© by Gerald So |

If I bought my father a tie or gadget for Father's Day, he'd smile and say hollowly, "Just what I needed." Then he'd put it away until truly needed.

I can only imagine my father's childhood wasn't particular happy. While his mother favored him and then his younger brother over two older and one younger sisters, his father didn't spare the rod.

Later in life, his older sisters settled in California, his younger brother in Australia, only his younger sister staying in the Philippines. Twenty years ago, my uncle visited from Australia, and I finally met and happily bonded with his three daughters and one son.

One of his daughters, now a lawyer, visited briefly yesterday and revealed that she had phoned my father asking whether she should pursue medicine at university. My father, pediatric surgeon, advised her not to become a doctor because she wouldn't get to spend time with her family.

It's true my father worked while other dads coached or played ball with their sons, but I never felt deprived, in part because I often woke up when my father received early-morning calls and sat with him while he had coffee and an orange before heading out. Since his death in 2001, Father's Day has been a muted celebration for me, best spent quietly remembering our time together.

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