“Where would you like to sit my son?” asks a father to his about four-year-old child.
That’s probably the kind of question the father asked his precious child while they were walking toward the river at the end of our street this afternoon while my students and I exercise. Yes, I live in the city where most places around are connected with this river called “Chaophraya River.” It is designed in a way where boat transportation is available for those who prefer to sail than be stuck in the famous Bangkok traffic. We don’t only have a river nearby but also a mini-park where people who prefer peace and solitude amidst nature can exercise or ponder upon life alone or the company of their few trusted friends or families.
Twenty-minutes or so have already passed when this father and son came. They sat by the pathway right in front of the river. It was such a beautiful sight to behold! I wanted to take a picture of them and post here but I thought I’d just write about them. I didn’t want to scare them away especially that they just live in the neighborhood. Besides, I was also enjoying the moment, watching them, and praying for the best for them. They sat side by side taking in everything around them.
Not long after that, I saw a young father carrying a baby in his arm with headphones plugged in his ears. My first reaction was, “Where’s the mom?” I thought she was just around. But I looked and saw no one resembling to the someone who would fit my imagination of a mother to the child or wife to the husband. So, my second reaction was, “Maybe he’s on the phone with her.” But he was not talking to anyone. (Not that I tried to eavesdrop or anything.) He walked towards my direction and I thought he was just passing by. But I was wrong. He went for the round and no, not only a round but rounds. He was exercising! He came here for a walk with his baby! Oh, that sight melted my heart! He could be home taking care of his baby and dreaming of exercise but no, he chose to come and exercise with his precious child.
What do I know about father’s love when our father left us early? What do I know with father’s love when he was barely around? But I have my fair share of father’s love story or stories. I know he went abroad to work for our future. I know he saved money to come home and see us every two or three years. I know he sent us money while he was away. I know he thought about us while he bought stuff for us, recorded his messages on an audio tape or wrote us birthday cards. I know he loved us. He may have lost his focus due to his own family pressure but he loved us. He may have left us but he still loved us. He enjoyed our visits. He liked our presence in the house. He liked it when we called him “dad.” He loved us. I’d like to believe that even the last moments of his life, he remembered and loved us.
But, do I love him? Or did I love him? I do, I did. He was my father. He loved me, my mom, and my siblings the way he knew how to love. He may have come short in the fatherhood department but he tried and I loved him for it and I will always carry in my heart the few memories I had with him.
Our grandfather loved us, too. He filled in the role of a father to us somehow. Yes, he was more of a grandfather but it’s still the same–father. He was such a role model. He walked the talk. Whatever it was he said in the house, we obeyed. I am so glad he took us under his wings when we needed a place to be called home. I am also glad that his wife, our dear grandmother, agreed to take us as their own. We were loved. We were loved beyond measure.
God has a thousand ways to show us how much He loves us. He’s a Father who unceasingly loves and cares for us. He gave us our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. He even brings us to places where we can witness and experience His love for us. See, He encouraged me to go exercise at the park today because He wanted to remind me that He cares for me just like the fathers with their children today. He brought me there to remind me that it’s alright to trust men, that I, too, one day will be able to trust someone for a lifetime.
My Hope & Prayer
Seeing a complete, happy family brings happiness to my soul. I salute parents who are still together as a couple, loving each other, caring and providing for their family. I admire those parents who spend quality time with their children by eating together at home, playing games, watching movies, traveling, etc. But most of all, I admire those parents who are very supportive of their education, dreams, and relationship with God. I just hope and pray that God will bless me with a complete, happy family one day, too.