How Time Flies – Tan Chuan Jin

14 years ago, I remember dozing on a sofa in the early morning and I was shaken by a nurse, “it is time!”

I stumbled into the delivery room and was quite disoriented with all the machines and gadgets around, or so I seemed to recall. It was quick. There was no time for epidural for my wife. She huffed and puffed and before you know it, there she was. All pink and quiet before a cry emanated from her little frame…announcing her arrival in our world.

It was a special moment. She was our first born.

As I look at her pictures over the years, you wonder how all that time just flew by…and she is now a young lady in her teens. Or as my ten-year old son will always hiss, with his face all contorted, “TEENAGER!”, as if it was the most deadly disease in the world 🙂

As you flip through the episodes and stories in your mind, you invariably want to reach out and catch them and hold them tight. Even as you despair at some gaps, you swoon and smile knowingly at the many silly heart-warming moments that populate your stream of consciousness. Long may it remain there as fresh as the day it happened.

I have always been very taken by a poem I studied in school. Although I have come to realise that the reality turned out quite differently for Sally, it remains a meaningful piece about what we wish for in our children.

Happy Birthday to my little girl!

Born Yesterday

for Sally Amis

Tightly-folded bud,

I have wished you something

None of the others would:

Not the usual stuff

About being beautiful,

Or running off a spring

Of innocence and love –

They will all wish you that,

And should it prove possible,

Well, you’re a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn’t, then

May you be ordinary;

Have, like other women,

An average of talents:

Not ugly, not good-looking,

Nothing uncustomary

To pull you off your balance,

That, unworkable itself,

Stops all the rest from working.

In fact, may you be dull –

If that is what a skilled,

Vigilant, flexible,

Unemphasised, enthralled

Catching of happiness is called.

~ Philip Larkin

    How Time Flies


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