FYI, Hui means glorious.
My dad and I are introverts. We don’t have to talk about the important things, we both already kind of know what the other is thinking. It’s so innate that we don’t need to talk about it. So we spend a lot of time together in mutual, comfortable silence. When he does address something, it’s either profound or has a significant impact. Yup, very thought out and powerful without brute force. I’m too impulsive sometimes to be that profound and thought out (hence I dub myself as the Extroverted Introvert) and I stumble on my words because I do not think quickly when put on the spot. I hate being the center of attention also so that doesn’t help either.
I’ve been working with Dad for almost 7 years, living and breathing Traffic Engineering 24/7. As he stated in his speech at my wedding, we’d work really hard then occasionally go goof off at South Coast Plaza or at the Mercedes dealer. When Borders was still in business, we’d hop into his white convertible (his “I’ve earned it” car), grab some frozen yogurt on a cone from Golden Spoon and go to the bookstore. We’d take an afternoon walk around the hills in the neighborhood, harass the barking dogs, admire the flowering star jasmine, and reflect over God’s perfection when He made the star pine because it grows so perfectly symmetrical (Dad planted both the star jasmine and star pine at his “Once Upon a Time” house before I was born). Friday evenings, we’d finish dinner early and head to South Coast Plaza for a leisurely stroll of people watching and window shopping. Sometimes we’d find something to buy, or else he would frown and say there’s nothing that suits his taste. Lately (since I was only at the office during weekday business hours because he always tried to kick me out at 5pm so I could go home to my husband), we’d stop by the fish store to see if there were any new goldfish for his aquarium. I think the last time we went to South Coast Plaza together, his foot was still hurting and I was 7 or 8 months pregnant so we were both slowly waddling along. That must have been a sight to see. .
I miss spending time with Dad, even though I’ve probably spent more time with him than is healthy for a 20-something. But, I was his little shadow ever since I could remember. When I was 4, we would go down to the Orange Mall to walk around, check out the toy store for any new He-Man or Teddy Ruxpin toys and books, then go home. Later on, it was going to get frozen yogurt at Penguin’s, and then to the bookstore for the next 25 years. I followed him around the yard, hosing off the backyard, tending to the garden, and maintaining his koi ponds. All of the aunts and uncles used to say (and probably still say) they wished they had a Hui Hui (my family likes to double the first name as a nickname for me, my niece, and Hui.1).
The separation anxiety started when bellydance classes got moved from 6pm to 4pm. That meant less time Sunday afternoons to walk around the mall if we hadn’t done so already. That was the first pang of unnecessary guilt. Then it was spending more time with Jesse (duh) than spending with him. Then I got married and moved out. Now it’s I’m taking care of Hui.1 and working from the apartment most of the time. I think the upside of all of this is that he’s beyond overjoyed with Hui.1 and once he starts walking and eating snacks like crackers, he can follow Dad around like I used to. When I come over, he rushes over, takes the baby, and runs off, saying there’s some work sitting on my chair while he has serious discussions with Hui.1 (you’re so young and I’m so old) or they go off to visit with the fish and birds or go “harass Grandma”. His words, not mine.
I’ll tell you a secret…
Jesse and I hadn’t picked out a name yet, but Dad called while I was in the hospital and went on and on about how proud he was that we had picked the Chinese name he recommended. He explained Ming was his dad’s name. I was drugged up on morphine and utterly exhausted so I went along with it. After more high praise (a very, very rare occurrence), we hung up and I immediately asked Jesse if he was okay with the name and he had no one objections. So yeah… That’s how we decided on Hui.1′s first name.
The middle name was the easy part because he was a boy and he got Dad and my name by default. Again, Jesse didn’t mind. In Chinese culture, the boys have the same first name and different middle name. As the first boy in my family (I tease my dad Hui.1 is the first boy in 43 years, hehehe), I knew I had to give him that middle name. Besides, after a lifetime of trying to get people to properly pronounce my name, I strongly dislike saying it. Sure, I’ll name my jewelry business that but not my kid? Hahaha, the irony. If there’s another boy, I may have to give him Jesse as his middle name since Jesse doesn’t want to give him the fate of having a girl’s name (he blames Toy Story). But we’ll see. The girls all have the same middle name and different first name. At least I already know if we have any girls, their middle name will be my mom’s which is Ying.
Bottom line? I made my dad a little buddy.
Oh, and I’m going to the house/office on Tuesday. And this is the wedding picture I had framed for Mom and Dad… this is a Dad and I moment for sure.
Okay, I’ll stop with this one, but before Dad handed me off to Jesse, he told him to take good care of his baby. He said forgot to make him raise his right hand.