Sunday, November 18, 2007
Measure of a Man
When I was a child, he was like Santa Claus to me. Every time my birthday comes near, he would prop me on his lap and gently ask me what my heart desired. From garden swings, tricycles and toys to my first walkman, chopper bicycles and holidays abroad. Although he was the only family member that I know who was affluent, I never felt a need or a want for anything. He made sure that I had a little taste or experience of luxury and opulence. After my parents' divorce, he took it upon himself to be there for my brothers and I. We were never his responsibility. And there are some quarters who would add that we are not his heir. Yet, his loving concern and care for us is so astounding. I wonder sometimes what goes on his mind, what he is thinking of when he looks at me.
He believed in my intelligence way before it showed on my academic achievement records. He thought nothing of coughing up the bucks to sponsor my studies in private colleges when I failed to meet the requirements of the more established universities. Even after I flunked my first A Levels, he didn't give up hope. He pulled all the contacts and cables that he had and sent me to Swansea for a second try at A Levels. He even sent me on a 'gap year' holiday in Europe because he believes that the best university to learn from is the university of Life!
He believed I was going to fulfill his dreams for me to become a lawyer, following his footsteps. He was devastated when I dropped out of my law studies. Yet, he swelled with pride when I financed my own education in Counseling Psychology at a local university. It took a while for him to understand that I can never be him. I can only be me. As disappointing I may have been for him, he continued to love and support me. And now, he proudly introduces me to his friends as his granddaughter who is a counseling psychologist. He truly motivates me to go as far as I can.
I've seen him rise from the ashes of failures. I've seen him work hard to see his own dreams come true. He lives passionately and he does this with dignity, integrity and self-respect. Where others, myself included, fail to see any reason for him to care and love for me; he does. He sees me as who I really am. I can never make him proud of me. Why? Because he already is. He was proud of me long before I found my self-worth.
He may be a stubborn man to some. I choose to see it as his determination. He is loving in his ways, sincere in his actions and inspiring in his achievements. These are all the reasons why I truly believe that my grandfather is right up there, with Dr. King and Mr. Poitier.
May Allah bless you always, Wan. I love you.