Letter to My 2-year old Son
Time passes fast, really fast. I remember very vividly the day you were born. I had to wait outside the theatre from 6am to half past 7 in the morning, just to wait for the gynae to call me in to witness your birth. There I was—dressed in the blue operating attire with a pair of rubber sandals I was told I had to wear in order to be able to enter the theatre—waiting in the lounge checking out for signs of anyone looking for me. Thou dressed, I felt naked under the thin clothes and baggy pants. The TV in the lounge was showing Channel U’s commercials, and the repeats of the same few commercials were making me lose my patience.
As the time ticked away, I couldn’t help but turned around checking the lift. I was getting restless; I needed to know if Doc Adrian was coming anytime soon. The nice gentleman who pushed your mom into the theatre walked past me several times, and each time, he never failed to smile at me, assuring me that things would be okay. Fathers around me waiting were being called in one by one except me. I was getting worried. I started telling myself that Doc Adrian had forgotten about our arrangements. He must have forgotten to put it in the books. We had an agreement—your mom would go for local anesthesia so that I could be there for your arrival. He must have had an oversight. He was a famous doctor, and he had a huge base of patients. This agreement had been breached. Wait, I heard babies’ cries coming from the walkway. It must be you; I had missed your coming.
“Wendy?” A nurse used the name of your mom as a question for another gentleman besides me. I heard that; I didn’t respond because she wasn’t asking me. There could be another Wendy inside for all we know.
The gentleman shook his head, and pointed at me, directing the lady nurse to me. He must be a psychic to know who is my wife. Wait; there were only the two of us there.
I turned my body towards the nurse and gave her a “are you looking for me” expression. The lady walked over to me and asked, “Are you the husband of Wendy?”
I nodded my head.
“You may follow me inside now.” She said as she turned to walk out of the lounge. I, anxiously but not showing it, followed her through the long and dark corridor that was filled with cries of newborns.
The walkway was long. We passed many theatres but just couldn’t seem to reach the one that you and mom were in. A sudden turn of the nurse’s body indicated to me that we have reached the door. I followed her in, and shortly after a short zigzagging, I saw your mom lying on a bed that right in the centre of the room.
I walked over to your mom, straight to where her face was. I admit: I was more of finding out if it was really my wife and less of going to my wife. Your mom looked up at me and smiled. Although weak over the epidural shot, her beautiful smile assured me that she was okay. This is how great your mother is.
“Why was it so long?” I asked.
“The doctor just came.” She said.
“It’s cold in here.” I crossed my arms, trying to keep myself warm.
“Sir, please hold on a while, your baby is on his way.” The voice of a male came from my right side. I turned; It was Doc Adrian speaking to me.
“Okay.” I said, nodding as I was shivering. I turned back to look at your mom, only to hear the same voice again.
“Sir, please get your camera ready and come over to my side.” The doctor said.
My heart skipped. It was as if a sudden increase in blood pressure took place in me right after the doctor spoke to me. I whipped out my digital camera, clumsily and slowly, started to walk over. Before I could take my step, the doctor’s assistant tilted his body towards your mom and starting pushing the upper part of your mom’s tummy. I walked over, and very slowly, looked over to the opening where you would be coming out. I didn’t want to see any cut-up flesh.
“Sir, please take a look. Your baby is coming out legs first.” The doctor said as he pulled out your feet. You had a breech birth, in case you don’t know.
“Yah, I see that.” I said, focusing on your feet and not the flesh of your mom’s tummy.
The doctor pulled your feet towards him, and in very swift and fast moves, pulled you out of mom’s body. Something must have happened when he pulled, because I saw him twisting your body before pulling you out completely. Of course I was worried, but I had to trust him in his job.
The doctor held you by your legs and back, put you on the small table besides him. As you cried with phlegm in your throat due to the abrupt awakening from your sleep, the doctor sucked out the water from your lungs with his equipments and cut off your umbilical cord in less than 10 seconds in all. Hence, you were born into this world.
You came out in this world with your arms stretched out while you were crying. I heard you, son, I did. I knew you were insecure, and you wanted something to hold on to so that you would feel safe. Auntie nurse would handle you with care—daddy wass watching her. I was sure she would be gentle to you, just like how she was to the other babies before you.
Fast-forward 2 years; you have grown to become the pride of your mom and me. We watched your progress—from laughing at our silly “niao-chia!” to calling out for us and addressing us “Papa” and “Mama”. We watched you from loving “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” to singing “Ah Boys To Men”. We saw how you ignored your soft toys for the toy guns and rifles. We saw how you fell and picked yourself up, yet calling out for us because you—like all other kids—need assurances from us. We have also seen how you traded the tough, soldier side of you for another fun, cute “Despicable Me” side of Joyston. We—your mother and I—saw how you grew and changed. Everyday is an exciting new day for us, because you never failed to surprise us with the little things you’ve learned.
Many times, I have asked your beautiful mother, “Would you have chosen not to conceive him, if you had to go back in time?” And the answer from your mother would always—without hesitation—“Of course not!”
Every night when you are asleep, I will watch you toss around the bed and occupying it without sparing a thought for us. Frankly, sleeping with you is not easy. It entails us having to manage our sleep while we squeeze to the sides so that we will not roll on top of you. We have to make space for you to “H” the bed, you know? Every night, I will watch you while you are sleeping soundly, and even though you might not know it, I will kiss you on your forehead and stroke your hair while watching you. Whenever I watch you sleep, I know that I am right to insist on you staying with us instead of bunking over at your grandma’s place for the weekdays. I don’t want to miss a day of your progress. The bus journeys to and fro Grandma’s house can be tedious, but I know that these tough moments will be worthwhile.
I am sure.
This morning, on our way to Grandma’s place, you had a bad fall. I should say it was the worst fall you’ve had since the day you were born. You, as always, surprised me by balancing your fall in order to minimise your injury to only your right knee. You could have fallen face down and flat down when you tripped, but you managed, just like how you always did. Right before the fall, you were reciting the dialogues of the movie “Despicable Me” to me in your own baby language while we were on the bus. No one could comprehend what you were saying. I know, to everyone else, you were just making baby noises. To me, they were something else. Your actions, your tones, and your expressions told me exactly which part of the movie you were imitating. I hugged you tight and kissed you on your cheeks, while you laughed out loudly in the bus knowing why I did so.
Your mom always say that it is her wish that you will grow up to be like me—文武双全(Competent theoretically and practically). As much as I don’t agree in this beautiful description of me (I don’t think I’m that good), it is also my wish that you will grow up and become a big man who is going to take on the world.
Your fall scared me. I threw away your minion bag that I was carrying in my hands and rushed to pick you up from the rough floor. You were startled; you were scared. You stayed in that half-kneeling position while you screamed for me. I rushed over to you immediately.
“It’s okay, Papa’s here.” I said to you as I carried you up. You were not listening; you carried on with your cries.
“Everything’s fine now, don’t worry. Don’t be afraid.” I patted your back with you in my arms, carefully trying not to touch you where it hurt. Your right knee was bleeding; I knew this was going to be a serious fall. You have had many falls for the 2 years of your life, and today was the first time I saw you bled.
You continued crying, no matter how I tried pacifying and assuring you. I stopped eventually, because I knew you would stop after a while. Winners don’t feel pain forever, and I know you are one. In less than a minute, you stopped. You wiped your tears off your eyes and face, and you looked at me. You pointed at the floor. I knew what you were trying to tell me—you just had a bad fall. I stroked your hair and said, “That floor is naughty. I’ll beat the naughty floor later. But you have to be careful next time.”
You nodded your head and rubbed your eyes, wiping off your tears. With you in my arms, I walked towards the lift to your grandma’s house. All the while being very careful in not touching your abrasion on your right knee.
We reached the doorstep with me telling Grandma that you just had a fall. A bad one. Grandma was shocked, of course. She got Grandaunt to bring you to wash your wound, while she stayed on to question me on why you fell.
“He was running; he tripped.” I said.
“Poor thing. He must be in pain.” Grandma said to me, heartache showing through her eyes.
“Yes, he was in pain; he cried badly.” I said to Grandma. “But this fall is going to make him grow up.”
Grandma showed me her disapproval. She did not seem to agree that I was okay with you falling and injuring yourself.
Son, a fall can hurt you, and it can make you bleed. But a fall can also make you grow. From today, after this fall, you will learn to run steadily, rather than not running anymore. You will learn to watch out for irregularities on the ground, instead of fearing the ground. You will learn how to feel your shoes better with your feet instead of condemning the shoes that are perfectly fitting and fine, because of the fall.
Instead of fearing and avoiding out of fear, you will learn.
I am sure.
The day you were born, your cries stopped once you had cried enough. That took less than five seconds. I knew that was because you were born a tough baby.
Son, in the many years ahead, you will fall many times. You will be hurt, but you shall not be afraid. Because you will bleed, but you will also recover.
You will get dirty, but you shall clean up and go again. You might feel uncomfortable, or even frustrated over the dirt, but cleaning will start everything all over again.
You will cry. Remember, crying is not a sign of weakness, but sign of courage. Courage of you being able to face your fears rather than running away from them. And you shall wipe your tears off and continue to face the world as you stand tall and strong.
I know you will, because, you are, a winner.
Dad and mom hope, and we believe, that you will be strong. You shall not fail us in our expectations of you.
We know you won’t.
Loving you always,
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.