Tuesday, November 28, 2006


There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~ John Gregory Brown, "Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery"

My dearest E.,

I'm going to tell you about your father, because he'd probably be too modest or too shy to tell you. He's simply one of the most delightful and lovable people you'll ever meet in your lifetime, and I kid you not- when you grow up someday, you will forge a very special bond with your father, exclusive to the both of you, and I will look on with pride from outside the circle, with understanding and love. And I speak from experience, because your grandfather (my father) and I have this special bond, too: and indeed, it is so very special that it transcends all emotions of humanity, all things in this world. It's a love that's so big your universe fills up with it and it never goes away. I'd like to think that you and I will form our own special mother-daughter bond- but that's another story. Today I want to tell you about your father.

Your father grew up in a broken home. His parents divorced when he was very young, and his mother, through some crazed, demented phase she was going through, literally left him and his two brothers, your Uncles James and Jerry, at an aunt's home, and simply vanished. She remains unfound today, although she did make contact a few times throughout the course of the past decade and a half. For many years, your father and his brothers endured hardships but never complained. They were taken care of by kind family members (your paternal grandfather had his share of problems and was unable to raise them himself), but with each year, they shuttled back and forth through their various relatives' homes, finding no stable sense of security, no place to call home, no mother's or father's love to guide their way. They made few friends, and because of the constant need to move about their various relatives' dwellings, their friendships rarely withstood the test of time. All they had were each other, and till today, little E., you will see how much they value, love and care for each other. The brotherhood was all they had then. And notwithstanding the hardship and sometimes, poverty, they've all become wonderful, wonderful men: loving people with financial and career stability, good-hearted soldiers of God, good fathers and husbands. (Your Uncle Jerry is unmarried to date). I referred more to Uncle James and your father.

Your father is a truly unique person. I don't know if there ever existed such thing as love at first sight. But when I met him for the first time years ago, I already fell in love with him. He was so kind, funny and gentle. He made me laugh all the time. He was frank and uninhibited. And he was as handsome as a picture!-and still is, of course. We became friends first, your father and I, and grew fond of each other as time passed on. And of course, eventually, he also fell in love with me, and we got married. And look where we are now!- we have you, my dearest.

You know, E., I am still so in love with your father. Even till this very day, he doesn't fail to make me laugh, brighten up a gloomy day and ignite our love for each other. He still makes my heart beat faster and makes me feel all the feelings a woman does when she is in love (You will, in time, come to know what I mean...).

And when we discovered that I carried you, our precious fruit, in the belly of my womb, your father began caring for you with a love so intense, it was beautiful. He would gently rub my belly every night, massage my aching swollen feet lovingly and speak to you about all sorts of things, while playing your favourite Mozart CD. He treated both you and I like queens, little E.! He is a wonderful husband and a wonderful father.

Sometimes, when you may feel irritated at him, or when you feel that he doesn't want to let you go and spread your wings, and discover things in life for yourself, have a heart and think of how much he loves you. Think and picture in your mind all the wonderful things he has done for you. Your father and I, till this very day, sometimes cry, hugging each other close as we stand by your crib and watch you sleeping: because you have filled our lives with so much joy and love, it's painful. Sometimes, we watch the video taken of you when you were born, and we shed tears again.

Your father is a special person, sweet pea. Even though you may not hear his voice speaking to you the way I do through this blog, (he's not the writing type, your dad), you will somehow always hear his voice resonating at the back of your mind, loving yet cautious, wanting to set free the little butterfly that is you, but at the same time, wishing you would remain in your cocoon and depend on us for love, food, comfort, warmth and security.

I suppose I wanted to tell you that all these things I am saying to you, all these lessons I have learnt in life and am trying to impart to you, these are things your father would've said too. A father is really a little girl's best friend, a teenager's hero, a young lady's idol and a woman's ideal of her perfect husband. You will know what I mean someday.

Because my father is a hero, too... Just like your father.


If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep. ~Dale Carnegie

My dearest E.,

Dale Carnegie's quote is so apt. Being deprived of sleep is bad enough. Your body and mind are tired, but for whatever reasons, you are kept awake and you need to attend to more important things than sleep. It was like that for me the first few months after you arrived- but I wouldn't change it for the world, sweet pea! Waking up in the middle of the night to nurse/change/feed you was the most amazing experience for me. Also fueled by the realization that you needed (and still need) me, my one desire during those moments was to provide for you and comfort you in your most vulnerable state. Now you sleep quite well almost throughout the night after your last feed, and although I welcome the resting hours I am given now, I do miss those times we spent together at night (or in the wee hours of the morning).

Sunday night/Monday morning found me unable to go to sleep. You fell asleep not long after your last night feed, and your father was watching football downstairs. I paced through "The Street Lawyer" by John Grisham, a book I had read at least 20 times and clearly showed it: with dog-eared, yellowed pages and higgledy binding. My body was yearning for rest, sweet pea. We had had a long day, especially playing with you, and I was exhausted. But my mind wandered, like an animal set free into the wilderness and long after I had finished reading my book, I was still lying in bed, comforter pulled up to my chest, staring at the ceiling. Your father came upstairs and fell asleep almost immediately upon his head touching the pillow. Still, sleep eluded me.

You moved in your sleep, shifting for a more comfortable position perhaps. Sometimes, you let out a tiny whimper. Or your little foot would find its way between the crib slats. I woke up each time to look at you, using the illuminant from my mobile phone as light. For a long while, I sat in front of your crib, resting my chin against the bed slats, just watching you. Your chest quietly heaving up and down, your tiny fingers gripping the corner of your blanket, your toes wiggling every now and then. Peaceful and quiet. You sleep the slumber of an angel. I counted my blessings again, and thanked the Lord that you were mine.

You know, E., when you can't sleep, you think. And I thought a lot that night. Of my work in the office. Of your grandparents. Of your father. Of you, most of all. As I sat there beside your crib, for over an hour, thoughts just kept washing over me, most of them memories of your early days. These thoughts were so vivid and crystal-clear and happy, that I found a tear rolling down my cheek. It was very dream-like. And like in dreams, that tear appeared to glisten as it quietly plopped on my hand- and the illumination of that tear opened up ever more doors to memories.

I finally blew you a kiss and went downstairs, unlocking our main door and ventured outside. I sat out there in our small, tiled "garden" for a long while, contemplating the silence of the night, occasionally shattered by the cry of a neighbourhood cat, or the distance rumbling of a car engine. The night was beautiful and quiet, the sky was high, dark and perfectly clear, completely cloudless, dotted with more stars than I could count. One star blinked constantly, and I took that to be some sort of satellite. Three stars, however, formed a perfect line. I wondered if that was supposed to mean something. I kept looking up, counting the bright stars, wondering what the world beyond ours was like.

Perhaps Heaven. I don't know. But that night, I fancied all the people I had loved and lost watching down on me. Most of all, I fancied my grandmother (my father's mother- she passed away the year your father and I got married) looking down on me. I could almost feel the light touch of her old frail hand on my head, the warm dry skin of her cheek pressed against mine, and I would breathe in the sweet pleasant smell of her scented powder. And I wished fervently that she could have stayed in our world a little longer, if only to see you. She would be so proud of you, my little one. She would've loved you as much as I do.

The sky was so lovely and endless, my little E. That wide expanse across our world. Who knows what lay beyond? I felt comforted, thinking about my grandmother that night. And someday, little E., when you're grown and sitting out in the garden watching the sky one lonely night and when I have been called into the world of spirits, always remember that I love you, and that I am only a heartbeat away. As long as the stars shine down from the heavens, I shall watch and guard over you, like the skies watch and guard over our world.