The apple of his eye
Personal situations

The apple of his eye

The love between a father and his daughter is legendary. Throughout history, this has always been the case. Or has it? In some traditional families, a father still seems to have the most pride for his first-born son. The first born in our family was, indeed, a boy. He has passed on too. Then there’s another man who is still going strong. Irreconcilable differences too personal to mention here and not even understood by me, have seen to us not seeing much of him and his adopted family. I’m next, and then there’s the youngest son who is now living with my mother.

But from a young age, my father was very fond of me. This did not detract from his love for his boys. Them being all men and all, I suppose he dealt with them differently. But, father and I shared a special bond. It was he who instilled in me a love for literature and art which also influenced my career choice. Not to be outdone, my mother was never far off. Our best moments were shared in the kitchen. So this is where I learned my culinary skills and derived the passion for cooking for my family from.

But by the time I was heading into adulthood, two big-boned women in the kitchen became a crowd. Don’t ask me why this happens, but female tempers would often flare over the most trivial things. Beneath all of that, I suppose, were the frustrations of growing up and the fears of heading into another unknown age. I think it’s fair to say that if we don’t know how to handle ourselves well, the fear of the unknown can bring about the worst in people. And often, when people hurt each other it is not meant at all.

It can take years to heal. Fortunately, it would only be a matter of days before mother and I were sulkily engaging with one another again. Being the level-headed and peaceful man he was, you could say my father was the great reconciler. That was one thing that drove him to sadness. He did not enjoy feelings of resentment and would go as far as he could to bring about peace in our household. There was a bonus for me in all of this. To help keep the peace for a while, my father would sometimes take me out for the day.

Sometimes, I wondered to myself whether I would deliberately backchat my mom just so that my father could step in and save the day for me. Now, I was nowhere near being a spoilt child. And perhaps sometimes human nature is like that. It often exploits the kindness shown by others who genuinely want to help. There’s also irony in our current family situation. Now that the old man has left us, we are more far apart than ever before. I cannot explain why because I bear no-one ill will.

One reason that has been put forward is very unfortunate because I know it’s just not true. The youngest one is not to blame, but the other older surviving brother blames my mother for our father’s death. My argument is this. Who is to know what really happens between couples? Yes, we all have our problems, and problems have to be worked out. And, yes, it is more difficult for some couples to work them out. Many take what they thought was the easy way out by seeking out a divorce settlement.

Those who have been through that process can tell others just how painful that can be. Anyway, the amount of times I’ve heard my mother tell me how much she adored my father is endless. And the amount of times I’ve heard my father tell me how much he loved my mother, well, I’ve lost count. But no poor woman such as my mother can ever be expected to know what secrets of despair my father could never let go of. No-one can say why he took his life in the end.

There weren’t any money problems to speak of. Compared to others, my mother and father were doing quite well. And by the time he was gone, he had pretty much seen to it that she was well taken care of. She sold the old house and bought a beautiful new home, big enough for her and my brother, just a few blocks away from us. Plain to see how much my father loved my mother. He left everything he had to her. He believed that the rest of us could take good care of ourselves, so left that aspect to my mother for when she feels the need to revise the will and family estate.

Perhaps that’s where part of the problem lies. It always comes down to money. This is very unfortunate too. Because just moments ago, I had told you that we all have more than enough to take care of our own lives and our families. I’m happy to say too that I trust that my husband has followed the wise example of my father by providing for us for when that day comes. His condition is different, of course, but fortunately, he has the will to outlast the rest of us.