My dearest Dana,
I’m not sure when you’re gonna be reading this. Whichever time it will be, it would be in God’s perfect timing. You’re turning 6 this year and getting quite inquisitive about the world around you. Just the other day you wanted to chart a family tree. Before we go too far flung into the foliage of the family tree, I thought that it’s apt that we talk about the ‘root’ – Daddy and Mommy’s love for each other.
Each day at home you would’ve walked past many things but there are 3 that I would like you to specially remember. They all belong to Mommy : her ring, her shoes and her handbag.
When you are older, you will know that these three things are quite important to all women. And hence they are too to your Mommy. In fact, each day when Daddy comes home and sees these things, I’m always reminded of what a blessed man I am. You see… your Mommy, like any woman, naturally would love to have a bigger and newer jewellery, shoes and bags to match her clothes, the occasions and, yes, her moods. But… no. The jewellery that she wears today are the very ones that I gave her as part of our wedding dowry 15 years ago (what is that word? Well…you don’t need to know but your future husband will need to!).
Her shoes – the black pair that she wears to work daily has a brand that we can’t even remember and bought from a place that we have even forgotten. Her handbag, well… the only ‘branded’ item on her (that rhymes with the word ‘shade’) was bought from a factory outlet during our trip to Seattle for Aunty April’s wedding (and even that was because Daddy forced her to). Can you imagine Mommy meeting all these senior management partners and academic professors, carrying a heavily used bag that has started to peel? And yes, even that was because the bag before had weathered enough bus rides and long walks to and from work and since been retired.
Your Mommy and Daddy didn’t come from well-to-do homes. Mommy, in particular, had to pay her own way through her own education and she did well enough to earn a scholarship for her degree. Even for our wedding – we virtually paid for everything on our own. Those experiences taught your Mommy to prioritize, to be resilient and to be contented. Ask her anytime and any moment, would she love to have a bigger ring, a newer wardrobe, more shoes and more branded handbags but no, she wouldn’t. Yet, she would not bat an eyelid if she knows of a person in need or a sees a gift that would be able to bless her family, friends and her loved ones. You see, for your Mommy, her real pride is not in the sparkle of a diamond ring but in the sparkle of our eyes through her sacrificial giving; her pride is not in the shoes she wear but the places we travel together and most importantly, the journeys of life that we undertake as a family. Her pride lies not in the handbags that she carry but the hands that she hold, the hearts that she touch and the words of appreciation that reach back to thank her.
Your Daddy and Mommy are different in many ways and, by now I think you would have noticed it. But in essence, I thank God that we have the same heartbeat and share the same goals in life. I thank God that it is the tenacity of your Mommy that has helped make me a better man. For me personally, I owe it to your Mommy who stood by me when I left a lucrative accounting career and went into the civil service to pursue my ‘calling’. I owe it to your Mommy for working hard to ease the financial load so that we can provide you with a more comfortable life – to go on trips to see the world, to attend concerts and musicals and all the special experiences which will hone your potential. I owe it to your Mommy for having to sometimes knock some sense into me to see beyond the immediate and often, to trust God’s will in the storms of life.
The world believes in the ring, the shoes and the handbag. But I thank God that your Mommy is a woman who knows that the value of her esteem is not measured by any tangible possessions but by God’s redeeming love, life’s invaluable experiences and relationships we nurture and hold dear. This is what it means when Mommy and Daddy say we love each other. Through this love, we hope you will know how much we love you too and hopefully and prayerfully, you will also experience the same kind of love, if not a richer one, one day.
To my darling wife Angie –
my biggest fan, my most ardent critic…my pillar, my love, my wife.
Here’s a personal serenade of one of your favourite tunes…
‘Seasons may change, winter to spring
But I love you until the end of time
Come what may… Come what may
I will love you until my dying day ‘ (From ‘Come What May’, Moulin Rouge)
Loving you forever and always,
|Us atop a cliff in Taiwan, Dec 2013|