Last week, my step-sis called to tell me that there was going to be a surprise 80th birthday party for my step-dad (her father). I wasn't sure if I would attend as I already had something planned. Anyway, as is my habit, I didn't say NO straightaway.
Thinking more about it, I decided that this was going to be a "MUST" attend because I love my step-dad, Peter Chang very much. He came into our lives when all of us were already grown up and he took his time to win us over. Dad, as I have called him since so long ago, has always been my confidant. I can ask him and tell him anything. He would always have the right advice and suggestions for everything. I have spent hundreds of weekends walking, shopping, talking and eating with him. He would faithfully wait while I browsed through clothes, shoes, bags, books or whatever. We would go check out exhibitions and events together. Once or twice, he was my date for an official function.
The funniest story I have of us is the time when we were having lunch in a restaurant. Someone I knew from my school days was also there with his wife and family. He looked at me, I looked at him and suddenly we recognised each other. He walked over to our table and I introduced him to my Dad. He looked at Peter, who is of Chinese descent, then at me and chuckled, "Oh boy, he sure has changed!". I burst out laughing. Often, I forget that Dad is my step-dad when I make introductions. He is so much of a father to me.
Dad before cutting his cake!
For this reason, I am glad that I didn't give in to the temptation of being my usual anti-social self. Duty is a very personal thing and I did feel duty-bound to be part of his birthday celebration.
He will turn 80 on 13 February 2012. I understand that he will be the first of his siblings to reach this age. It is truly and honour to have him in our family. I am so grateful that he is a part of my life.
After the party, he told me that the surprise celebration was the most memorable night in his entire life.
Credit goes to his three wonderful children, Susan, Ann and Gerarde for getting almost all of the family together and organising such a lovely dinner. Here is a picture of everyone taken after last night's dinner, all looking radiant and happy. The "Birthday Boy and Guest of Honour" in that moment, with a look of complete and utter satisfaction.
The beautiful family members