Sunday, November 4, 2007

Daddy's Birthday

Dad called me yesterday, which was unusual because my folks rarely called me up. I remember calling them every weekend when I lived in the States, just wanting to hear their voices and know how they were doing. So on picking up the phone, I said to dad, "wow wow, what a surprise that you called." He said he did because he hadn't heard from me for a while. Now you have to know that my parents have five kids-me being the oldest and always the one who wandered miles away from them. When their grandchildren were born, they were too happy and occupied to check on me, and I did not
mind(well maybe a little)because I used to live in a place that was day and night apart from where they were. But for dad to call on a regular Sunday..I was suspicious..what was going on?

It turned out that it was Dad's birthday yesterday. And I forgot about it. This morning I was driving around running for errands, and all of a sudden I remembered that. Darn, I swore to myself, and felt so bad about forgetting it. No wonder dad called. He must have been receiving happy birthday wishes from my siblings and the grand kids all day long, except for from me. "What should I do?" I thought to myself. In our culture, it is okay to celebrate a birthday early, but never late. Never. So I was debating whether or not I should send dad a belated birthday wish. And there is one thing, I do not quite feel like driving home because I have to be back at work in the morning. I just don't like to drive, and purposefully try to avoid it when the gas price keeps climbing up.

So I tried calling my sister Carol, who might still be home from visiting for the weekend. I wanted to see if she had driven home and if I could catch a ride back here tomorrow. She did not answer the phone. So I called my mother instead. Mom has Monday tea ceremony classes in a town that is close to me. I thought she probably wouldn't mind coming over here to pick me up on the way home tonight. But it turns out that mom is doing her volunteer work today in a different city. Still, I am glad that I called because I found out today is actually Dad's birthday on the Lunar Calender. Well, lucky me. Then it is not too late to celebrate if I can make it home by today. So I rushed to a nearby bakery to order a cake and went to the bank to cash money for the gift. I usually give Dad aftershaves for his birthday. I just think someone should be a constant supplier for that because he doesn't shop for himself. In fact, I tried to present a different type of lotion or cologne for his birthday or Father's Day each year. An alternative is to offer a red envelope which can be seen as a standard good luck charm in this culture. It can't go wrong with money!

I am just glad that I did not miss the big day and I want to celebrate it with my folks. I am happy that I am here, living in the same country to see them whenever I want, and I want them to know that by driving back home to spend a night with them, I show my respect and love for them. So here it is, the red envelope. It says, "daddy, wishing you a happy birthday, good health and all that you've ever wanted."