Happy Father’s Day to all those lucky fathers out there!
It was a beautiful Sunday today, full of that crisp sunshine that summer promised me it would bring this year. Now if only it would stay that way for the rest of the season. The rain is no fun. No fun.
For myself, I’ve always held mixed feelings for this day. It comes and goes every year. I remember being four years old and incredibly attached to ‘dad’. He had also more gentle than mom. More likely to spoil me with things that mom refused my silly little pleading for. I got my obsessive collecting disorder got him. So did my brother. It’s not that we’re materialists…we just like to keep things for extended periods of times. Organized little groups of things. My stuffed animal collection still grows today.
I must’ve been six when my dad went back to Hong Kong (we immigrated here when I was two) to take care of grandma. Or so that was the reason. Even after she got better, he remained there. For years. Ten long years. He just returned last year. I can’t say what my feelings are about this. We don’t really have a relationship anymore. We used to. But in his mind, I’m still twelve. Or whatever. He missed the entire process of me growing up. And nothing will ever change that.
But take me back to when I was the four year old girl happily riding on my dad’s shoulders, taking pictures in the park with the spring air glorfiying the occasion. She looked up to him. I looked up to him. We were a happy family then.
I remember being six/seven, naive and enthusiastic about everything. Writing letters with poorly drawn doodles for dad. For his birthday. For father’s day. For Christmas. I remember stopping that summer when I was seven. After we visited Hong Kong. After my view of the world changed. After I lost my innocence.
Things happened that summer vacation that I really don’t want to talk about.
But I think it’s time I did.
My mom, my brother, and I were on the bus. My mom and I were looking out the window.
I saw it with my own eyes. In the restaurant. My dad with a woman.
At the time, I had no idea what it meant.
My mom turned away from the window when she saw it, her face troubled. I kept staring out through the glass, absorbed in the urban foreign-ness and familiarity of the city I was born in. Captivated by all the cars and bikes and people that passed by. Captivated by all the different stores and cafés and especially by the plush toys in some of the cuter stores. The cuter stores.
Other things happened on the vacation that completely warped my mindset, that eradicated any speck of innocence that had persisted in my heart prior. But that one moment still haunts me today. Still haunts my dreams.
When I was ten, dad came to visit again. He brought toys that were suitable for an audience far younger than ten and fifteen – the age that my brother was at the time. The years had slipped his mind. Communication was awkward.
I visited HK again when I was twelve. It was a simple holiday. Nothing significant.
When people ask me about my parents, I say mom.
When people ask me about my family, I mention my brother and my mom.
There’s more, of course. To what he is. To what my family is like. To what I grew up with. But I think that getting that one moment out of my memory and putting it to rest here has tired out my brain. Too many memories. Too many synaptic pulses.
Happy Father’s Day, everyone.