Lim: Love shows

Melanie T. Lim

YOU know the saying when love is there, it shows? Well, if you don’t know how to read between the lines, my father’s love is hard to find.

He is not the kind of father who will praise you for every little thing you do right. He is the kind who will berate you for every bit you do wrong. And he will never make you forget it—for the rest of your life.

Many parents bend over backwards to make their children feel special. My father might have spent his entire life making us understand that we are NOT special and thus we should not expect special treatment in this world.

He lived through war so he raised his children to go to battle every day. He raised us with the mindset that life is not easy, just or fair. And that we cannot expect any help so we have to learn to think on our own, fend for ourselves and fight our own battles.

On second thoughts, he did, at some point in my young life, make me feel special. I recall him saying he would buy me an island and make me a princess. Oh well, that fairy tale was short-lived.

I soon found out that I had to wage war and conquer this island to claim my throne. I lived, loved and learned. You can inherit a throne but you have to be worthy of the kingdom. Love is unconditional. But respect is earned.

With my father, no one is a sacred cow. No one is ever too intelligent or too important to get down on her knees to scrub floors. Even in his 80s, it was a common sight to see my father with a broom in hand, sweeping our driveway.

We grew up knowing how to work not only with our minds but also with our hands. To this day, I have great respect for people who do housework well because I still do it and I know what it takes to do it well.

People ask if my father is aware of the pandemic. Of course! He is 95 but he is still on top of the news. He still worries about the future. He still admonishes us to work hard and to never let up so we can provide for the many, many years ahead because we could live to be 100.

I want to laugh but I dare not. He is a soothsayer, after all. I will, instead, just work hard, as he asks.

It is true what they say, you grow up the day you realize and accept your heroes have feet of clay.

As a little girl, I worshipped my father. But I later realized he was neither a hero nor an idol. Just a flawed human being like any other. For a long time, I was angry. But perhaps with myself for failing to see that while one can worship infallible idols, one can only love ordinary mortals.

Thank you for loving us, Pa, despite all our flaws, faults and failings. Every day you are with us is a gift. A miracle. A blessing.

You know the saying when love is there, it shows? My father doesn’t say it or show it. But if you choose to see with your heart, not with your eyes, his love shows.