Once Upon a Child, The Earliest memories form…
He wakes up in the early morning, up bright and early, the sun has not risen yet and his parents are nowhere to be found.
In the dark, he climbs out of his crib.
He turns around. The door to the room is left open; the light was left on in the hallway. It flickers ominously.
The two-year-old turns around to look out the window; the street outside is filled with darkness. He had a bad feeling, what was it?
Nervousness? Anxiety? He was too little to understand what those feelings are.
One side filled with darkness and potential danger. The outside.
Another side, a beckoning, but flickering light…
What happened to his parents? Where were they? He stands in the middle of the room, alone, inside an empty house?
Fear, curiosity, anxiety are not emotions he can process yet. He stumbles toward the door, towards the light…
Right outside his room, underneath the light, a flight of stairs called him…
*He’s on the second floor*
He stared at the stairs questioningly… with the curiosity of a newborn kitten.
The carpet on the stairs was of pink color. But what were these black prints that are on them…? They were not there when he climbed up the stairs earlier in the day.
Author’s Note (AN): Obviously, they were footprints, but he’s still too young to recognize that.
He bent over and placed his left palm over the footprint, like a detective imagining the chain of events that occurs in a home invasion that leads to a double homicide.
He stands up and stares at his tiny hands, no bigger than the size of a tangerine, they are dark and soiled with dirt from his yard outside?
He turns around and stares at his crib. The place of warmth, comfort, and safety.
Then, he turns around and stares at the mysterious footprints that come from downstairs. Curiosity burned inside him. What were these mysterious prints that came from downstairs?
Before he even realized it himself, he turned around and on his knees, reached his stubby little leg on the first step, and then slid his bottom onto the step. Repeatedly, he made this attempt until he arrived on the bottom floor.
AN: Do you remember how you or your child first learned to use stairs? How did you/they do it? Leave a comment below.
His wide eyes wandered around the interior of the bottom floor. He was looking for mom? Or dad? They were nowhere to be found. On this floor, he was alone as well.
He turned around instantly! His heart racing at the imagination of what could be there… in this house with him!
Nothing was there.
He looked down on the ground.
Footprints. These were FRESH.
He didn’t know how to process fear yet, but uncontrollably, he felt a lump in his throat.
Where’s mom? Where’s dad? They were nowhere to be found. He was alone.
The cold loneliness of the bottom floor surrounded him…
Tears started to well up in his eyes.
The first encounter with the unknown. There was something in this house with him.
… And he was vulnerable!
He surveyed the living room and he saw the TV. Instantly, his worries faded away, like the memories of an old veteran of a war fought in the far and distant past.
AN: It was called a TV back then, they didn’t have flat screens. They only had CRTs.
AN: Pretty rad, isn’t it? If you remember turning one of these on, let me know in the comments below! Share this article with a friend who remembers using these TVs!
Once Upon a Child, They Never Remember…
When did you learn to use a TV?
AN: Have you ever asked yourself that question? As you stare at your child using a TV correctly for the first time?
The boy ran over to the TV and pressed the power button to turn on the TV. He starts flipping through the channels on the TV with ease, like an ace pilot flying a fighter jet with ease in a dogfight against enemy aircraft.
BARNEY. The Purple Dinosaur. Exactly, what he wanted!
Anyone else grew up watching him?
The boy watched his favorite show with intense focus.
“I love you, you love me, we’re a great big family” sang Barney.
AN: Do you remember your favorite childhood TV show and what you liked about it? Let me know in the comments below!
The boy’s attention was so focused as he sang and danced along with Barney.
He didn’t even notice…
No, he did not notice at all…
What was he supposed to notice…?
There were footprints all around the house.
A cold pair of eyes bored into the boy from behind. These eyes looked around the house, to make sure they were alone. The boy and them.
The cold eyes had no love at that moment. All it had was anger and … bloodlust.
They walked up silently behind the boy. He was too preoccupied to notice the predator behind them.
He is only two years old.
The TV suddenly turned off.
He turned around and chills ran down his spine.
He jolted. They lunged.
His eyes were filled with terror, his throat closed with fear. He couldn’t make a single sound.
He squeezed his eyes shut. His mind screamed for mom and dad for help!
He was flipped upside down like butchers do when they hang their animals to gut them.
With eyes filled with malice and intent, they went in to end it.
Once Upon a Child, A Scream That Filled the Room…
The boy opens his eyes and adjusted his focus.
It was MOM.
And she was furious!
AN: Tickling is the worst punishment for a child, if you think they like it, then you’re a maniac.
She sat him down and yelled at him. He has no idea why she was so mad.
She took his feet and showed it to him.
They were pitch black.
It must have been because he was playing outside earlier and right after he came back in, he went to bed.
He looked around the house.
AN: Dear reader, when was the first time your parents gave you a scare? That made you think “Oh sh*t!” Let me know in the comments below.
The Afternoon Thoughts of a New Father
He wakes up in the morning.
It’s 8:00 AM. The sun is up and it is another day of work.
He’s a blue-collar worker with a newborn baby. It was decided that his wife is going to be a stay at home mom for a while. The job for a stay at home mom is probably for the best, as he is not good at changing diapers, they cannot afford a babysitter, and she’d rather spend the day with their newborn.
As the head of the household, it was his job to take care of his own family.
Life is tough in this new country. He and his wife are immigrants from Hong Kong. English is still quite tough for them because they had to work as soon as they landed here.
There wasn’t time to learn and excel in English. They did their best with the night classes that taught them English when they arrived in this new country. However, their surroundings were still in their native Cantonese. There weren’t places for them to practice the language they so desperately needed to master. This is one of the many challenges they faced as immigrants.
AN: Do you have a similar story of your own or your parents? Share it in the comments!
He meanders his way over to the restroom and does his routine:
Brush his teeth, wash his face, and take a piss.
Chinese people don’t typically shower in the morning as they believe that they will get dirty over the day, so they might as well just shower in the evening before bed.
He gets dressed.
He saunters downstairs and notices his wife flustered and his son with swollen eyes. He’s been crying.
Footprints all over the carpet.
The kid must have dragged the dirt in, he thought correctly.
He catches his wife’s attention, they acknowledge each other, but he must get going or he’ll be late for work.
His wife will take care of the mess left on the carpet.
“I guess this is what having a child is like,” he thought to himself.
They were both very new at this.
He nods at his wife and leaves for work.
AN: I strongly believe this is how life is for Asian families, displays of affection are non-existent, or it was non-existent during my upbringing. I’m not sure if it was embarrassing or just culture as I was born and raised in Canada. But, it is starkly different from how I see my white friends’ parents interact. It is completely different. But, I’m not against or on either side after I’ve learned about love languages and cultural perspectives. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
At that time, he was an apprentice. He worked as a gardener for a man who ran his own gardening business. In Chinese terms, the man was his sifu. He was apprenticing for him. He planned to be able to break away and start his own gardening business after a couple more years. Maybe, get a place closer to his family.
Right now, they lived in Richmond, Canada. A city located in British Columbia. It was seemingly where all the Chinese immigrants relocated to after arriving in Canada. The problem was that it was very far from his family, who were about a thirty to forty-minute drive away in Vancouver. He wanted to move a little bit closer at least. Right now, their townhouse is too far away.
The house I stay at from 1-3 years old. We got it for $272,000 back in 1993.
They lived with his mother when the boy was born and they lived there for a year. But, as usual, his mother never seemed to like the daughter-in-law. There was constant tension and his wife was fed up, so they had to move out.
AN: Do your parents have problems with their in-laws? Are you living with your mother-in-law or daughter or son-in-law? How is that? Let me know in the comments below.
It’s midday; he’s been at work for a couple of hours now. They’ve completed work for two houses already.
They’re taking a break from the midday heat.
He’s asking himself, “Am I being a good father?”
He doubts himself, “I don’t know if I’m doing this father thing right…”
The thought festers in him throughout the day.
Insecurities creep into the crevices of his soul. The cracks that we all share from the good and the bad that life throws at us.
He, himself, grew up with an absent father who was never at home much. He didn’t grow up with the ideal role model to aspire to be like.
How can he succeed as a role model for his son? When there was no example for him when he grew up…
AN: How do you think the presence or absence of a father shapes the life and perspective of a child? Let me know in the comments below.
Once Upon a Child – Finding Inspiration in the Fading Light of Dusk
As the day draws to a close, he returns home, tired and drained.
It wasn’t a 9-5 office job, it was a job that you did until it got done.
Once upon a child, he had dreams. Now, as a man, as a father, those dreams must be set aside.
For the responsibility, he bears as the head of the household.
As he stumbles to his front door, weary, he looks up at the window of his son’s room.
… And finds a pair of gleaming, brown eyes, staring back at him with wonder.
“I guess he’s forgotten about his morning ordeal already.” He thought to himself.
His son does this every day. He can’t tell time, but he never failed in welcoming him home with those eyes and pumpkin-like face.
Amongst the self-doubt that he feels, the negative questions he asks himself throughout the day, it is this peculiar event that motivates him. That gives him confidence and a sense of purpose.
Once upon a child, he had dreams. But those dreams didn’t vanish, they just became something different. It became a purpose.
To support his new family.
At the end of the day, with those tiny little eyes bearing on him, he thought to himself, “I might not be the best father, I might not know if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I might not have had a great role model (or any at all), but I know I can TRY and be the best dad I CAN BE.”
Approaching the front door, he twists the door handle, walks in and shuts the door behind him.
Everything about his and his family’s world is right where they should be.
Except for the footprints. He’s glad they’re gone.
Final AN: I’m not a father yet. Hopefully, one day. It is our biological purpose to pass on our genes after all. But, if you are a father or you’re not, and you feel insecure about your current situation. Just know that the universe is working WITH YOU and not AGAINST YOU. Unlike my father, who did not have the Internet during his time and had to figure it out himself, you do not have to do that. Leverage the Internet to connect with individuals who can help you improve. Who can elevate you? There is a lesson in your current situation and until you learn that lesson, it will continue to be your situation. So, learn to read between the lines, and you’ll find your answer.
FINAL FINAL AN: Family is important. Protect it always. Here’s my final sale to you (or my first sale). To survive, in modern society, you need money. You can’t argue against that. Make sure you have a rainy day fund (or emergency fund) for when the world is against you and for your family to survive. As I’m writing this story during the coronavirus epidemic, a lot of people wished they had an emergency fund. Learn how to build one or improve on one with my free book Leverage.
This story was inspired by the article, “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans”