NYC 2010, 2 hours with dad

Posted By on June 15, 2010

My dad had Sunday afternoon and Monday morning off of work from Atlantic City, New Jersey, the casino Mecca of the East Coast.

Sunday afternoon, my brother-in-law and his family (beloved cousins of my son) were visiting NYC, my father being so shy, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could only commit to meeting one at a time. After my in-laws left, I went to stay at my brother’s apartment, where my dad was also staying.

In the evening, we spent an hour going through English and Chinese flash cards with drawings on them.

The next morning, he brought Chinese pastries for us. I went through old pictures of him and his family. He was such a handsome young man.

I saw pictures of him when he was toasting his father on his last night in China before immigrating to America.

Pictures of him joking around with his friends.

Pictures of him with my mom, my brother and with me.

I turned to him and said I wanted to take a picture with him. I set the camera up on the stove and set the timer. Jing, my dad and I switched positions. And with my dad by my side, I laid my head on his shoulder. The first time I touched him in 7 years. I started to cry right before the picture was taken.

He turned to me and stared. “You can show those pictures to your family when I am gone.”

More hot tears streamed down my face.

Even though Jing Wen could not understand the words we were speaking, he did not act the least bit confused. How does he understand, I cannot say.

My father proceeded to pack and prepare to go. Then he turns to my son, bent down to look at him straight in the eyes and said, “I will retire in 2 years. Then I will come visit you in Oregon. Okay?”

“Okay.” Jing Wen said in a quiet voice.

My dad is a man of few words, yet the few he shares is potent. The subtle meanings of every action and inaction. I’m grateful I know how to appreciate them now, though I didn’t know how to appreciate them then.

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.


2 Responses to “NYC 2010, 2 hours with dad”

  1. Lara says:

    This is beautiful.

  2. Tatiana says:

    I just keep reading this over and over, it is so sweet and beautiful. Of course Jing Wen understood without language. Ah, those lovely moments that don’t require language…

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