Tuesday, 13 October 2009

..grandfathers were once fathers, too..

..when this old coot first became a father, way back in 1975, the joy was euphoric..tending to the firstborn was a shared responsibility..many a nights this oldster woke up to make milk..once, whilst still half-asleep, I had poured hot water onto the milk tin, thoroughly missing the milk-bottle..

..burping the baby was an art in itself, as also getting the temperature of the milk just right..

..but being a father carried with it a lot of responsibilities, I was later to find out, and later to learn..for children grew, sometimes faster than a father can keep up pace with..

..even though bestowed with an almost unlimited power, to make rules and regulations, power alone was not enough to endear..it was then that I discovered in as much as the judicial system of a country must be fair, but also seen to be fair, justice, and meting out justice, in the home is more complicated, especially when dealing with siblings rivalry..a situation aggravated with a mother-in-law lurking in the background somewhere..its to easy to forget that she was adjusting to grandmotherhood as I was to fatherhood..

..but I coped, trying to strike a balance between being too strict and being too relax..not really having a role-model, as I was a posthumous child, I tried reading on the intricacies of parenthood..good for broad outlines, but details, no..so it was more of a learning on the job, the physical and the psychological sides of it..it was trial by error all the way..

..used to the wiles of a woman, this coot is not familiar with the wiles of children..their quicksilver mind, their super-ability to read adults situations, and their endearing and manipulative ways..but, as I said, I coped..and I hoped I had not been too bad a father..

..there are, of course, a few lessons learned along the way..mostly a series of nevers ..paramount amongst them is never to lose your temper with your children..never, full stop...anger removes your sense of judgment..children do not understand uncontrolled anger in fathers..it demeans the status of a father in their eyes..and anger makes you whack your child..which brings me to the second lesson learned...

..never whack your children..it leaves scars, if not physical, then psychological, more often both..a child's memory is long, as a father's regret is just as lingering..

..you know the oft-mentioned Malay adage about crabs teaching its young to walk straight?..true..very true..how was I to stop my sons from smoking, when papito himself reeks with stale smoke..? pollute the bathroom..pollute the hallways and the whole house, including the cars..? and I used to wonder why they grimaced everytime I offered my cheek to be kissed..huh..(Imagine the love that makes a woman put up with this foul-breath man)..

..but now that I am a grandfather life is more in cruise-controlled mode..I tried to keep my peace..I don't poke and I don't pry..I just enjoy and savour the innocence of my grandchildren..but sometimes, I wished they would refer to me...:)


loosecannon said...

Your self-deprecating humour is a lesson to all of us readers of your blog, I'm sure. Be it through trial and error or modelled after someone, what's important is that we love them, we care for them, we nurture them and in return we hope they become a contributor to the collective good. Your postings serve as a lesson for us all, Pak Mat. Keep writing and I hope to see you in Bachok maybe in December, if you are free!

Uncle Lee said...

Hello PakMat, beautiful posting. I love it, very heartwarming....spoken like a true grandfather.
Are those kids all yours?
If yours, ha ha, I guess TV sometimes not good programs, huh? *Wink*.

I fully agree with what you mentioned re kids growing up etc.
Love your, "this old coot", ha ha.
By the way PakMat, besides babysitting your grandkids, apa you buat whole day?
You must blog about that.

And Pakmat, you buat saya ketaw re nenek lurking around, arhaaaa ha ha.
Love your lively sense of humour.
Incidentally, you will be getting a surprise today....
we are morning now, you malam.
So selamat malam, PakMat, Lee.

pakmat said...

..aw, lc..now you make this old man segan..a rendevous in December..? nice..with the rain, the gale and maybe, with luck, a lil bit of flood..:) (can't recall of any sporting events except perhaps the monsoon cup in Trengganu...)will have the pie ready..if I have better luck with the apples at the supermarket!

uncle lee..yes..they are all my children..tv in Kelantan not only sometimes bad programmes, but sometimes kaput..including bekalan api letrik.. on hindsight, of course I could have stopped at 2..but looking at them now..no..they deserved their time on this planet earth..as you would've put it..to kiss the flower that passes and remember the memory that last..

what I do all day?..hmm..what does a fully retired midmanagement government servant do in his retirement??..apart from minding the cucu's?..and balancing whatever left of his meagre pencen??:)at this point of my life, it's just the little things, Lee.. blog, bake, help the missus with her small shop, etc..but everything in small portions..just leading a quiet life, Lee..as a retiree..

rizal hashim said...

My life is richer by reading pak mat and uncle lee...one day must go for seafood...on Uncle Lee's account!

Anonymous said...

well..PakMat...as your eldest daughter born 37 years ago on 24 May 1972.....I like it too..