I was brought up in a traditional chinese family, where shows of emotion are not encouraged. There is no specific instructions on what's appropriate and what's not... we just somehow knew this unspoken norm.
As children, we don’t go around hugging grandparents, kissing siblings, or saying mushy things. I knew many families are not like us. But, for our family, keeping our emotions deep down within ourselves is what expected of.
I remember the only times my father reached out for my arm (not hand) were when he held me to cross roads. After which, my father would automatically drop my arm or I'd wriggle off.
On the day that I got married, five years ago, I surprised myself when I held my father's hand. It was the very first time I initiated a move like that. And my father's hand felt warm in mine. It just felt so right.
Years down the road, I have kids. Where traditions and norms destined father and daughter to be formal, or somewhat cold to each other, my father's relationship with my kids are totally different.
He is warm, caring, loving, and very physical with my kids. He runs, kicks balls, have meaningful conversations, and feeds my kids. He carries, hugs and kisses them. I never see my father the same way again.
I know you love me, father. Then and now. And I am blessed that you love my kids so much too. It's just that you express your feelings differently to two different generations.
Thank you, Father. Happy Birthday. May you live a long healthy and happy life.
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