I struggled to find a photo of just my father and myself. Most of the albums are back at my parents’ home but I couldn’t find many pictures of the two of us in my digital stash either. That says a lot about my father, who has mostly been behind the lens. The man behind the scenes. You get the picture (no pun intended).
Growing up, my Papa travelled a lot for work. But whenever he was in town, he played the dual roles of a clown and a terrorist. He mostly joked around with us, and did fun things like videotaping our voyages as teachers, pretending to be our student, even catapulting rubber bands at us while shouting ‘COCKROACH!!!!’, and laughing hysterically as we screamed our heads off. But he was also the ultimate disciplinarian. When Mama couldn’t contain us, Papa did.
Somewhere along the way, Papa became more of an influence than just a clown or terrorist, even though he was not always around. I LOVE baking. I LOVE photography. I LOVE drawing. And boy, am I a perfectionist! I may not be fully competent at the above, but I take after my father in these aspects. He has never overtly pushed me to develop an interest in the same activities or taught me to pay attention to details but he led by example and somehow, I caught on. He may have often been behind the scenes but his presence was surely felt.
Today, I am a mother and I struggle a lot, to be honest. Each day brings a new challenge and there are the WTH-moments, but I am thankful for my parents who have helped me keep calm and carry on. They have helped me raise my daughter, and they share my joy in watching her grow up. Yes, you read it right, THEY. It’s not just Mama, but Papa too, now that he has more time on his hands and can be more involved with his grandchildren. While Papa is still quite averse to changing poopy diapers and wiping away vomit, he has gone out of his way to support my newfound role as a parent. He takes us to the paediatrician, entertains my daughter so I can catch up on sleep, dispenses advice on marriage, parenthood and life, and he does so much more.
I am immensely thankful and infinitely blessed. And I think Faith is very fortunate to have an Ah Gong like him.
A rare photo of us taken in London back in 2011
While Papa and I may not have many photos taken together, now that I am the designated lensman in the family…I am happy to capture the moments now. The moments of him cradling his grandchildren, him and my loving mother, him and his doting children. The moments that he didn’t have the luxury of having when he was the sole breadwinner.
To the man behind the scenes, thank you for cheering me on as I play the different roles of my life. I think it’s time you step out of the shadows, take a bow and enjoy the applause that you so deserve, for I am who I am and where I am today because of you. Happy Father’s Day.