It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It was a long time ago when Dad went out of a job and stayed home. I can’t remember how long the period was, but like for any job seeker, it must have been hard. During that time he took on the role of homemaker and lunch took on a decidedly Teochew slant. Not that I minded, of course. I could live on salted eggs and porridge for a pretty long time.
It was also the best times I had with Daddy. I remember how he’d take me out after school and we’d go to Marina Bay with nothing but a spool of string wound around a soda can. We’d rummage through rubbish bins looking for a couple of usable sticks, plastic bags and old newspapers. Once the materials were gathered it took Dad only a few minutes before we had a working kite.
And we would escape gravity for an afternoon.
You’d be surprised at how much I learned. We’d walk past shops selling expensive kites, quietly laughing that our handmade concoction saved us quite a bit of cash. I learned that like the flying of a kite, most things in life revolve around knowing when to exert a little pull and when to let go. You’ll be surprised - letting go of the string is how you right a wayward kite.
It’s counter-intuitive, yet not.
When Mum retired a couple of months ago we were a little worried that she’d be unable to slow the frenetic pace of life she had been so used to. Then Dad took her kite-flying. Now my kids Anne and Caleb tag along. I’m so glad that they can share this wonderful side to my father. Were it not for his short unemployment, I would not have had that chance.