On 21 Feb 2014, I went from being the dad of one, to being the dad of two.
WELL DONE, ME! (Nine months ago, that is.)
The real credit goes to V, who did all of the work in getting our little boy out into this world. Thanks to J and IL for helping on the day of delivery, and to all our friends and family for the well wishes, congratulations and encouragement. The delivery wasn’t a one push event like a certain friend of mine. It took 17 pushes (in true Celtic tradition y’all – 17 pushes for 17 banners!) and epidural was used, but V got through it with a minimum of fuss this time. She was even coherent enough to exclaim, “I can see the head!” in the middle of contractions no less. I thought it was a pretty funny moment.
One thing that will linger in my memories on the childbirth: the pungent smell of blood in the delivery suite. It smelt like I was at the butcher’s but worse. Way worse.
Every child is different, and we keep reminding ourselves. The seemingly familiar journey of caring for a newborn begins once again. Same, yet different. One thing for sure, life is never going to be dull with two kids around!
p.s. a lot of people noticed little Keilen’s name is an amalgam of mine and V’s, but no one ever realised Elly’s name is a combination too, albeit in reverse.
This was about two weeks ago, when I sent a little something to cheer a friend up.
My dear friend… Thank you for the beautiful roses! So sweet of you to send them :) Miss the good old times. Sorry I’ve been busy… But thank you for always saying hello so that I’m reminded to take a break. Big hug!
And this other message I got the day before, was unexpected. In a good way. Seeing this in the morning really brought a smile to my face.
I’m so glad I’ve always had u along the way… Through all the stumbles and falls. Just suddenly grateful and thankful for having u around! Forever my SOS!
I’m really glad to have been able to make a difference in their lives. It really is true, that thing about how your life’s impact is felt by the number of people whom you made a difference to. And of course, I’ll keep doing silly little things and be there for them, simply because it feels like the right thing to do.
A lot of people speak of a woman’s wedding day as the the time when she looked her best. It could be true, but I’m inclined to disagree.
In all honesty, my wife wasn’t at her best on our wedding day. She was tired from staying up the night before. Getting an early start with all the make up, hair and so on was a grind. Add the fact that she was dressed in a wedding gown, trying to tahan the chills of that morning and looking forward to GTFO (if I might put it crudely), didn’t do any wonders for her disposition. Nevertheless, she looked fine in the photographs, and that’s all that matters when memories fade eh?
To me, V was always at her most beautiful during the later phase of pregnancy. The radiance of impending motherhood puts an indescribable hue onto her countenance.
Well of course, there is that Neanderthal feeling of satisfaction I get (“THAT THUNG GROWING INSIDE HER? I HAD A PART OF IT! RAWWRRR GRUNT OOMPH *THUMPS CHEST*) on a job well done, but that’s not it.
I love the feel of her growing belly, feeling the skin move with new life beneath. Those might not be Upton-esque curves, but there is just that indefinable glow that seems to shine forth. The way she gently pats her swollen belly, as if reassuring the little boy within, holds a sense of calm about it.
I’m not going to lie about the bad parts of it (throwing up, inability to sleep through the night, waddling with all that extra weight), but the thought that she’s willing to bear it all for the sake of bringing a new life –our new life– into this world, makes her that much more beautiful in my eyes.
So the little one is due in less than a month, and we’re all waiting. Just for now though, I’d like to dedicate this day to the woman who’s shared the past eight years of her life with me, and years to come.
Happy Valentine’s Day V. I’m not the best writer out there, but this is all I’ve can come up with. Love you, and thank you for being with me all this time.
2013, unlike 2012 has been more of a slower year. Still changes, just a little slower-paced. Here’s the good old recap:
- Venture: Started The Pick and Roll. What began as a spitballing idea on Facebook between Steve, Jim and I, and an email conversation between Terry and myself, eventually coalesced into a full-blown effort into developing an Australian-oriented basketball site, which is currently steamrolling its way into Aussie coverage for European leagues, college and high school basketball, as well as the good old NBA staple. Thank you all for being there and chipping in, and deepest thanks to all the writers for your ceaseless contributions, especially stalwarts like Terry, Damian, Steve, Tommy, Dean, Michael T, the two Josh’s, Darrel and more, who have been gunning and keeping the site active. Very blessed to have you guys on board.
- Celtics Down Under: Moving ahead to a tough season, glad to see everyone positive. Been great to have all of you guys around: Tommy, Justin, Dave, Michael, Hayley, Kaine, May etc. Go #AussieCeltics! Looking forward to our first ever gathering next month too.
- Concert: Caught the Kings of Convenience in Melbourne, wonderful night.
- Went to the US again, this time with V. Great to be back in New York and Boston. First time travelling around California!
- Also went back to SG for three weeks, caught up with a ton of friends, something I’m really grateful for.
- Entered the TD Garden under a media pass and stepped into the Celtics locker room, up close with players like Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass et al, and to have been at the next table from people like Tommy Heinsohn, Mike Gorman and Danny Ainge who were talking about college prospects? Fantastic night. (Also entered the MSG under a media pass, which was amazing in its own way, but not as fantastic as being on my home team ground!)
- Basketball: Picking balling at places like Monash Caulfield, Carlton Baths and MSAC. Organised Sunday training sessions at Carlton Baths for a while, which eventually petered out due to a lack of commitment. Also played in a couple of MSAC leagues as a filler, something that looks to continue this year.
- Family: Second kid on the way! It took a little longer than when we tried for Elly, but the good old gonads did their work and our little boy will be out in a month or so.
- Work: After a fruitless series of extensive interviews with another ISP and a black hole experience with every other online job application, finally got something up thanks to Jasmine. Got back into work, this time as a one-man IT support role in a call center. Not the easiest when you know that everything lies on your shoulders, but a job is a job. Bitching doesn’t get work done, get cracking instead. Have to say, the people here are great.
- Wedding: Attended Joseph’s wedding here in Melbourne, enjoyed it despite having a pounding headache and a shit time with hay fever.
- Friends: Very lucky to have caught up with primary school mates I haven’t seen in years, like Huiqing, Yuzhong, Zihui, Kenny and Jinwei.
Onwards to another exciting year, which I’m sure will involve more surprises.
One of the things I miss most about Singapore, is being able to cycle around the neighbourhood, feeling the cool breeze and enjoying the peace of the night.
On my way home just now, taking a detour to take in more of the neighbourhood sounded like a good idea, and before I knew it, I was back at my old block. So many memories. Of learning to cycle at the void deck. Playing catching after taekwondo class at the nearby block. Pushing through the bushes underneath the overhead bridge, and imagining it to be a secret base of ours. Snacks from the Indian mama shop right behind. The countless times of cycling around the place, every turn and slope was deeply ingrained; I was operating on instincts.
I smiled when I got to this cycling path that used to be a really steep slope (but has been revamped into a gentle one now), because a certain daredevil (or brainless idiot, depending on how you look at it) at the invincible age of 11, decided it would be an absolutely brilliant feat to cycle down that precarious slope at top speed – without hands. Needless to say, I ended up losing control and sprawled in a heap on the floor, fortunately getting out easy with only a scraped knee.
This was home for almost fifteen years, and I still miss it.
Onwards, to the place that held so many cherished memories amidst mindless drudgery: Ngee Ann Secondary School. It’s funny how a building can evoke an aching, almost painful yearning in the heart for days that are long past. The basketball court that I spent countless hours at, rain or shine. Walking down the same old path to school five, six days a week. Frantic copying of homework before morning assembly. Magic: The Gathering sessions in the canteen. Spraining my wrist on the same damn court because I tripped on the edge of the court (idiot.)
Remembering the days back then. Swimming training was three days a week, Red Cross took Saturdays away. Between those two ECAs, school and homework, the days just whizzed by. The best part was probably the Swim Camps, when all of us had so much fun. The endless blackjack sessions. The morning training. The insomnia. The barbeque sessions. The Emil Chau songs. The night walk to Changi Airport. The performances. The nights when we would sneak out of school and grab a bite (and Jolly Shandy) at Tampines Mart.
To this day, I still kick myself for some of the juvenile, tactless and supremely stupid things from back then, but the fondness of fun times outweigh the dumb moments of course. If only, there was some way I could revisit some of those days.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a nostalgic who reminiscences about past days too much. There are just too many memories for me here to ever move away from the place. I’m pretty sure if I’d continued to stay in Singapore, I would’ve eventually just gotten a place right here, rather than follow the inevitable trend of moving to Sengkang/Punggol, as many of my generation have done. Then again, we’ll never know, since it hasn’t happened. It sounds like an fascinating alternate reality though.
While many people would label me as a planner, it is interesting to note that my personality actually swings in the other direction. Over the years, I’ve led my life largely on faith and trusted my instincts, going by what I felt was right, much more than pragmatic decision-making like weighing the scales, noting the facts and numbers and coming up with a practical decision.
For example, what kind of flaming idiot would actually quit his job, get a loan, leave the comforts of a wonderfully familiar environment behind and fly to Australia, having only the “plan” (if you could even call it that) to finish a final university semester and then literally wing it and find some way to stay on, simply because it “felt like the right time” to do so? Utterly un-Singaporean-like, if I might say so.
Or for that matter, quitting a stable full-time job to be a domestic dad for nine months? I’m glad V has been supportive on (most of) my decisions, although you could imagine the kind of grousing that went on in her head.
Looking back now, I’m really glad everything worked out, but had I actually paused to contemplate the enormity of that decision to move to Australia back then, it would have probably made next to zero sense. Could it possibly have stopped me in my tracks though? Nah.
Fortune favours the bold, and I like to think it looks kindly on lucky fools like me as well. There’s good, and there’s lucky; I’d pick lucky over good any day. I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that destiny has its plan for me, and that I am walking in the forest of life, sauntering along a path that has been waiting for me all along, and is revealing itself to me, a few steps at a time. All I have to do, is to trust myself and pick the right trail when the crossroads come along.
Keep walking, keep trusting. Happy New Year’s Eve, 2013.