My dear kids,
I believe that when God created fathers, he conveniently made them deficient in a number of special abilities which are only found in mothers. For instance, fathers are unable to take the continual presence of kids for more than 2 hours at a stretch.
So, imagine the horror of horrors when I went on a 10-day break from work recently on account of the Chinese New Year and had to endure your presence 24/7. It was enough to drive any dad insane.
By the end of the week, I remarked to your mum that the only verbal conversation that I have with you guys usually starts with this phrase:
“(Insert name of child)!, please put your (insert offending object*) away!!!!”
*the offending object may be anything from books left on the kitchen table/toilet floor/my lounge chair over the last 2 weeks/living room sofa/the swing outside; pieces of Lego toys (left in all those areas mentioned including the tiny spaces between/behind/under the sofa); 3 days of uncollected dog-poo; mountains of folded laundry; socks/bags/shoes/jackets/water-bottles conveniently left all over the living room floor; unwashed plates and cups left on the kitchen table to everything else that are not in their proper place.
Consequently, some days were downright crappy as I moped around in the foulest of moods while you guys tried to keep a safe distance in the small space we call home.
Not easy and not pleasant.
There were days I go to bed feeling angry and sorry for myself thinking a better dad would have made the day much better for his kids – you know, yell less, smile a bit more, engage and interact – stuff that Hollywood-ideal-dads are supposed to do as portrayed in the movies. In the movies, the house would be spic-and-span, the dishes auto wash themselves, toys are miraculously kept away automatically, laundry fly themselves from the clothes line to the cupboard all folded and smelling like summer rose, the dog never ever poops and bathes itself, mums and dads are forever smiling, kissing and hugging and need not worry over mounting bills and an expanding waistlines and sagging appendages and kids are euphorically happy with their electronic gadgets and the latest in fashion wear. Oh, and in the movies, dads also fend off the bad guys and handle a bazooka with ease – saving the world while keeping the family happy.
But I’m no Hollywood dad and I’d quite likely shoot myself with a bazooka.
There were days that I worry I would not wake up in the morning, having breathed my last some time in the wee hours of the morning and fearing that all you kids will remember me by are the negative nagging I dish out like an old broken record day in and day out. I dread passing on without hugging and kissing you guys enough and telling you that you matter instead of constantly yelling over things that don’t really matter.
I do not want to be remembered that way.
So, kids, can you help me be a better dad to you by doing the bits that need doing? That way, I won’t have to yell at you and we would be a lot happier.
But really, at the end of the day, even if you refuse to do those bits I expect of you, know this:
That despite all the yelling and nagging, I love you guys to bits and I’d like to be remembered that way.
And then, one day, when you find yourself yelling at your own kids, do think back and remember your ol’ naggy dad fondly.