This 39th birthday I truly understand the meaning of family. It is simply because I felt a sense of abandonment from my mom and brother. I heard from my mother’s sister, my aunt, that my mother and elder brother has moved, she invited her sister to her house for some kind of house warming but she didn’t inform me. Given the kind of relationship I have with my brother, I can understand why she didn’t invite me, at the very least, tell me where they’ve moved to.
That is quite a psychological reality check for me, I guess I should have seen it coming, things hadn’t been the warmest between me and my brother and mother, but I still would think of them as family. The signs are there when I visited them one Chinese New Year and me at the gate, roused my brother from his slumber, only to hear him said, ‘Brother? I don’t have a brother.’ That was when I greeted him and asked him where is mum, and I’m his brother!
So now they’ve move, and without an address the cut is complete, and absolute. Perhaps is better this way, boys, I don’t know, things are always happening in future tense that leave us with little preparation in the present. The reality is that, I felt the loneliness in a deep and profound way.
So this birthday, it was a very small family affair, just your mum, and the 2 of you, there’s really no one else left who will remember my birthday, not to mention the mere celebrating the day. When I die, if anytime sooner, my wife will have her parents and little brother to remember her birth and celebrate with her, she has the both of you, that kind of birthday song, would sound a little louder.
For me, this 39th birthday for me, looking at the 3 of you, singing the song, made me really, really wish, and I want to hold true to that wish, ‘I wish that the 3 of you, sitting before me, will be by my side for as long as I live
I’m forty one this year, and unlike your mum, I was never a big fan of celebrating birthdays.
It is not as if your mum has big birthday celebrations, but the least was she has it, every year, her family would celebrate her birthday, even the lunar one. Me? The only birthday I vividly remembers was my 12th birthday, that’s it.
While I grew older and earned my own money (I started working when I was fifteen), birthday, as I know it is a significant day, especially when it’s mine. There is something special about me, on that day, but I couldn’t figure out what. So I started taking leave from work on my birthday, not to celebrate with cakes and parties, but to spend time with myself. That was until I met your mum. She usually fuss over my birthday, not me.
Until now I still cannot understand what birthdays is all about.
Birthdays depresses me
In fact, as the years pass, I get more depressed.
Depressed that at my age, I hadn’t accomplished anything ‘big’, nor did the things my peers are doing. Yes, keep up with the Jones to get to me sometimes. Of course the consolation is, that I lived a mediocre life, free from worries, debts, major diseases, war, poverty, and all those things. I should be lucky, contented and happy!
I am not, and I can’t figure out why.
So what’s the surprise?
I don’t see the need to figure it out, so what if I do figure my life out? I’d never be able to get out of it alive! So what if I created a solution that save the world? I’ll still die?
Legacy? What’s that?
At the most selfish level, nothing I can ever do, can save me from death. Death is certain. but people are busy celebrating ‘birthday’ and not too concerned with deathday. Well, death is the ultimate storm on anyone’s parade, huh. We’d all rather looked at the happy, dandy side. Focus on the birth-day, nevermind that death is on the opposite side of the same coin.
It is at this juncture, I get stuck. Even in writing as of now. Death kills my writing…
Death kills everything I can possible think of. It is over before I can even think about the beginning. I simply don’t have the upbeat optimism good vibes to overcome death, no one can, I guess. So why even try so hard?
And yet, I cannot reconcile with the reality that I am put on earth to just convert Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide. I am made for something more, I just don’t know what. Hell, I’m such a genius.
I live for you
One thing for sure, I think I am here for the both of you boys, and your mum. Other than the three of you, there is no one else. No one else who knows that I really existed, whom I really matters in their lives. It is the three of you whom, if I for one reason, disappears, dies or get kidnapped by alien, will grieve for me, worry for me, thinks of me, and cares about me. And for I play a key important role.
I’m always grateful for your mother’s love. She has been the most incredible woman, at the same time, dumbest to follow this melancholy man. I guess that is what love is all about, she believes in me more than I believes in myself, and she takes my shit, all the time, dust herself off and continue to love me. I cannot be here if it is not for her. Sometimes, I let her celebrate my birthday, not because I am important, but it is because I am important to her. And my birthday is an important day to her, much more than it is an important day to me.
So the big Four-One is upon me, and I’m still here, doing what I am doing, everything looks the same, for me. The only thing changing is the both of you boys, growing up, while your dad is growing old. I hope us celebrating your birthdays year on year will give the both of you some meaning. This is what is blog is all about, a dad’s introverted hope that you can make better sense of your lives, and use my life and folly to make sense of yours.