(I made this note more than two years ago on Facebook. As I re-read it, I find it surprising that little to none has changed since then. Every single word remains true, and every single wish, un/fortunately, is still something I’ve been hoping to come true.
Tonight, among any other nights, I feel like sharing this to, ahem, more readers. For the sake of preserving the note in case I decide to close my Facebook account, here it is:)
what do you want to be when you grow up?
ask me this question back when i was in kindergarten up to the first few years of elementary school, then the answers are those of commonly found:
“i want to be a doctor!”
“i want to be an astronaut!”
“i want to be a policeman!”
“i want to be a president!”
“i want to be a scientist!”
okay, i lied about the last one. how can i say that, when it took my teacher hours and hours to explain the law of gravity to me?
luckily, she did not need to encounter such a painful experience again, for she never found out what i wrote on my friend’s notebook when i was 10 years old:
“i want to be a good husband and father”
as long as i can remember, i wrote the words down very quickly. i did not hesitate a bit, or took a peek of what my other friends had written before me, something i had always done before i chose any of those typical and ideal professions.
at that time, i never knew why i suddenly had the urge to write that. and it has taken me years to find out the answer, which is hardly any surprise to me:
i looked up to my mum, my dad, and their relationship.
this year marks the 35th anniversary of their marriage, a considerable feat these days, although it was once considered a common occurrence in those good old days. for me, it is a tremendous achievement, yet it is also something i am not *that* surprised to see.
my dad does not say much.
he perseveres through the hard times in his life that had already started in his childhood, yet he never shows his signs of fatigue and tiredness. always insists that he “is okay, no matter what”, i saw him struggling with his own effort to keep the family up and running, while loving my mother with all her antics.
of course they are not the wicked kind of antics.
yet, as opposed to his character traits, my mum is the vocal ones, who often gets the action done, cracks a joke or two, and when she is being opinionated about something, sometimes she loses her train of thought. to say she is a survivor is merely underrated, but to say she is strong and brave is something i will nod in agreement.
and they love each other, despite a few, way too subtle incidents that let slip once in a while.
my dad might have felt a little uncomfortable when my mum’s ex showed up and showed off him being financially successful, yet he hid the feeling very carefully.
and for a slightly more obvious turn, while being covered in jokes, my mum must have felt jealous with any of those female college students who rented our rooms who happened to look above average, fearing my father would be attracted.
they knew, i knew, but what did they do?
they sailed through the temptations, and like many parents, they acted, not pretended, as if nothing happened in front of the kids.
they may have stopped saying ‘i love you’ in romantic manners as suggested in film and music since, i don’t know, thirty years ago, maybe, but they believe on many other things:
beyond love, there’s a respect to each other.
beyond love, they honor each other, for each of them has role and presence in this unit of marriage they had decided to embark on.
beyond love, they have mutual understandings that they cannot live without each other.
beyond love, they substitute with dreamy kind of happiness with a much more real one that is based on faith and assurance.
and twenty years later, after i wrote down what i had wanted to be, i realize that i want to be the kind of husband and father my dad is, with a touch of my mum’s side, in a relationship like theirs.
of course, it takes two to tango, and a miracle to create that perfect click. so, for whoever you will be in my future, this is what i want to say:
“allow me to step in to your life, not for being the kind of guy you’ve been used to go out with, or being your ‘type’, but simply for being the guy who accepts who you are, where you come from, how you are, and how you are in your family.
call me crazy for declaring that, but i am much more interested in your future, rather than your past.
of course, it’ll be nice to have your future spent with me, but even if it is not, you know that i am still looking after you from afar, until someone else may change the course of our lives.
“allow me to offer you a steady companionship, and not the killer moves or kisses, for all i have is an assurance that i come home to you, that in the morning i look at you, and that at the odd moments of time, i call, text, pop up and say the most heartfelt ‘hi’ to you.
think of me as annoying maybe, for both my stubborn silence and bitchy words are guaranteed to equally bug you. think of me as disturbance maybe, for both my passive and active moves will end up similarly in disappointment.
i will end up bearing belly fat, while you end up being the gorgeous one. but you won’t find anyone more comfortable with however you turn out to be.
i will end up doing my dangling dalliances at some point, which you will do, too, to channel out your boredom of me, but let’s make a pact that we will come home to this same pad.
“because for what we will eventually have is respect and honor to each other.
because for what we will eventually embark on is something only two of us know. well, maybe include some others, but are you sure?
because for what we will eventually choose is made based on our sane logic, rather than glorious feeling.
“and you know what i’d like to have?
because when people ask me, “what do you want to be when you grow old?”
i’d like to answer that i want to grow old with you.”