I woke up at five on Sundays. This Sunday was no different. It was not because I wanted to, but my daughter wakes up around that time, every day.
At first I was really annoyed. I explained to her that I wanted to wake up late during the weekends because I have been working through the weekdays, often putting no less than 12 – 16 hours a day doing various tasks demanded by the bootstrap enterprise I’m running with my wife. But then she looked at me as if I was the one who was strange. “But I always wake up at five or six,” she said.
My daughter needs me downstairs with her, to help her prepare breakfast, and also to accompany her. She doesn’t like being alone, and is fascinated but afraid of ghosts.
Sometimes, when I was really tired, I would just say yes to whatever she said and then went back to sleep, not moving from the bed. And then she would try to get back to sleep, too. But she did not sleep. All she did was staring at the ceiling. Sometimes at me. It was really torturing for both of us.
I would grumble, trudging down the stairs, with her chirping happily beside me, throbbing pain at the back of my eyes.
After this had gone for a while—few weeks perhaps, I felt remorseful. Wasn’t this the time when great parenting moments were supposed to take place? Dad and his little daughter made a terrible looking breakfast and a mess out of the kitchen but the memory stayed for ever? Given the severity of my OCD, I’d never make a mess in the kitchen but I got the point so I tried to follow her schedule. Now it felt like I worked for my company on weekdays and my kids on the weekends—I worked all the time. But it was worth it, I had a great time. It reminded me how easy it was for me to bond with my daughter.
Another thing with my son.
He is a tough cookie, and the exact opposite of my daughter. They fight a lot of course. And I also screamed at him. A lot. Which clearly why, my son is closer to my wife. But the more I observed him, the more he reminded me of someone. Of me, of course.
He was the little me.
And I hate my little self. I was a naughty brat who played mean pranks on my friends, and an occasional bully too.
This Sunday I decided to bond with my son while my wife was away with my daughter. I decided we should watch the newer Mortal Kombat film, which was one of the core memories of my childhood. I haven’t had the chance to watch it when it was released a few years ago. Little wonder that it worked.
There was never an occasion when he sat down for more than one hour through a movie. But with Mortal Kombat he did. I was quite nervous about the “Fatality” scenes where head would jump out of the body with a bloody trail, and guts explode with innards all over the place with gooey intensity. But Apple TV did all the hard work of censoring every single bloody scene in the movie—by awkwardly cutting it. If I was watching for myself, I’d ask for a refund.
It turned out to be a good time (the time, NOT the movie). He talked about the movie till dinnertime. His favorite character was Liu Kang. I liked Liu Kang, too. But Christopher Lambert’s Raiden stands at the top of the roster. I told him this. I showed him the picture of ‘old Raiden’, and we talked about other characters too; like why Kung Lao always dies in every MK movie screaming, “LIUUUUU!!” and why there was no Kitana in the new movie (seriously?) and why my boy Jo Taslim had to die…
Anyway, basically, my son gave me a chance to be a kid again; he was the friend I wish I’ve had when I was his age.
Later, when I was outside, on the porch, enjoying the golden hour with a cup of good coffee, I heard the kids fight again; probably my son was practicing his Liu Kang moves on his sister. But it was in my wife’s good hand now. I made another cup of coffee with the little beans left. They were almost over. And so was my Sunday.
PS: About the movie; It started well and ran out of breath in the middle. The third act was just painful to watch.