Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A different kind of Father's Day

For those who don't know, the 3rd Sunday of June is not Father's Day in Thailand. Thais celebrate their fathers together with the birthday of the recently-deceased King Rama IX on the 5th of December (I guess it's appropriate that they did not change the day despite his passing).

As a result, we often celebrate Father's/Mother's Day twice a year here, following both the international and Thai occasions, because being a parent engulfs the lives of my wife and I completely every single day. I actually look forward to Father's Day most of the time, because it seems like a celebration of the one job I feel I might excel the most at (I do not know others who have watched me up close will agree or not). I find it a reason to do something nice for myself, to give myself a pat on my own back.

This year feels different. Circumstances that led up to this day have been quite sobering. It is more like a reminder that I cannot and should not take being a father for granted. It is a blessing and yet a huge responsibility.

It has been a tough year. Work has consumed me more than ever in Thailand. I am one year into what people consider the best 10 years of a man's life. Coincidentally, I feel a window opening up to push my company to brand new heights, albeit a small one that will not be there for long. It's now or never. I have a team in my office waiting for inspiration everyday from one they see as their leader. I have a supportive boss who I cannot disappoint. I have understanding family members in Singapore and Malaysia who I have neglected. Friends - let's not even go there.

Things have not been plain-sailing (but can they ever be?). Nothing has gone to plan this year. Stuff that have actually yielded decent results were achieved in the most laboured roundabout ways, others are still not right despite monstrous efforts to do so. Things that have gone wrong always seem to have been my fault somehow or another, whether at home or out.

Back to being a father. I wasn't supposed to even be in Bangkok to celebrate Father's Day this year, but I am. A lot of poor decisions initiated by yours truly caused this, and I have nowhere to hide. I have been abruptly-reminded that we cannot take something like fatherhood for granted. Sometimes we are too used to the daily routine that defines us, that we forget what it takes to play our roles well. It takes a lot of disappointments, sacrifice and decisiveness to be the leader of the house. It's just as well that I am here, because this is a time my family needs me the most. This Father's Day is not the time for celebration but a moment for the father to show up.

And then, there's this:

My girl made this from school. XOXO

And a brilliant walk at the magnificent Suan Luang R.9 Park

I finally enjoyed a couple of nights of really, really good uninterrupted sleep.

My wife is making me breakfast as I am typing this. The fragrance is irresistible. Can't wait to tuck in.

Life is good.

Happy Father's Day.

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