Sunday, 15 March 2015

Dad, Mum, Me

Sometimes we forget that as we grow, our parents grow old too.

It all starts when you realise that your dad stops giving you piggy-backs. You asked, "papa why won't you piggyback me?"

"Honey, you've grown so big so fast!" 

So you think Yes! I'm growing so big so fast!, you get ready for your first high school prom, you get your first drink, you get a driving license, you get your first drink-and-drive experience, you enter university, you meet the love of your life, you get married, and 10 years later, you realise that your dad is also growing so old so fast...

Do you remember the time when your dad smiles and you find one new line on his forehead? Do you remember the time when your mum starts getting desperate to buy the new anti-aging cosmetics? Do you remember the time when your dad can't stay up for the football matches at 2am anymore? Do you remember the time when your mum can't stand back up after squatting down to plant the flowers?

I remember. 

The first time I realise that my dad was growing old was when I was 12. My dad asked me to dye his hair for him because he grew some white hair recently.

He sat in front of the TV while I dyed his hair standing up. I remember that he wanted to tune into sports channel while I wanted National Geography. But because he's the dad and he wanna watch golf so I didn't say that I wanted to watch NG channel.

The hairdye session went fairly uneventful.

It wasn't until the next session when I realise that while I was busy growing my breasts and buying bras, my dad is growing old too.

During the 2nd hairdye session, which was probably half a year later, I noticed that dad had a lot more white hair near his temple, near his neck, and everywhere else on his scalp. Immediately, a stream of sourness down my throat. It wasn't a feeling of sadness. It was a mixture of the realisation that age is catching up, the feeling of why-cant-I-make-this-better, and the sense of why I haven't done my best for him.

Coming from a traditional Chinese family, I never learn how to express my love and concern. So despite feeling a little sad, I kept quiet.

Years passed by and each time I dye his hair, there'd be thinner hair at the crown of his head, more and more gray hair. Until recently, I try to keep myself away from papa on every weekend night so I won't get asked to help dye his hair and I can avoid the close sight of his thinning hair.

Even my mum who claims to have life-long black hair, starts showing some white strands 2 years ago.

Another thing that keeps me reminded that papa is growing old is the sound of him coming upstairs every night.

My dad has something weird with his right knee joint. So every time he walks against gravity, his knee is always making some "pop" sounds.

When I was young, every time I heard the pop pop sounds getting louder outside, I would know that he was coming upstairs. I would quickly hide in my blanket and pretend like I'm sleeping so I wouldn't get scolded. Or sometimes I would immediately get out of my bed to ask my dad tell me some bed time stories.

My dad is a super weird knowledgeable geek. While others' parents tell their kids about Snow White and Tarzan, my bedtime stories would be the history of Opium War and the inspiration and physic measurements of Twin Tower architecture. Or European's bulding concept. Or WWII on Japanese attacking Pearl Harbour. All of which have formed my curious personality and my hunger to travel and explore the world, which is good. But whenever I recall this I feel like punching my dad ahahahahah I mean wtf papa, I was 8 years old lololol wtf why can't you tell me about the flying Peter Pan?

The knee "pop, pop" sound used to be a rapid, regular wave of beats and rhythm when I was a child. As I grow old, I began sleeping at first at 11pm, then 12pm, then 1 or 2 am as the years go by. So when my dad walked upstairs, I would be somewhere else instead of waiting to get to bed.

Lately, I have been sleeping early again. So I began sitting by my bed while listening to my dad's knee pop sounds. Every night, I expect a rapid, regular stream of pop sounds outside my bedroom. But every night, the pop sounds seem to get slower, sometimes they even stop for about 10 seconds, before beginning to pop again.

I know papa can't walk up the stairs as quick as he used to anymore.

Which keeps me wondering... Papa, how many more years can I hear your popping knee sounds from outside my room?

How many more years?

It's been years since my birthday wish, CNY wish, wishes at temples are to pray for healthy and happy years ahead for my papa and mama. But all I do is to keep them happy, and watch the years fly by, and watch what time has done to their face and wrinkles.

Tell me again, how to be a doctor, when all I will be capable of, is just prolonging death?

No comments:

Post a Comment