Steph's Friend

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Because My Daughter Needed A Hug

It was a Monday and Calvin was busy working in his office. He was busy preparing the slides for his company's presentation. The job was given to his colleague Adam but since Adam had to take leave for "personal matters", Calvin had no choice but to juggle between his job and Adam's. Adam left abruptly, leaving Calvin 2 days to sift through all the data and come up with pie charts and graphs for the presentation. It wasn't easy, but that's life.

The first day after Adam left, Calvin was left with a whole new set of data and figures to study and understand. It took him the whole day.

The second day came. This means that Calvin was left with only one day left to prepare everything. Although he understood the gist of the figures and data, the graphs and trends that management wanted was still not done.

During lunch time, Calvin's boss, Bart, talked to him.

Bart: I know it's difficult on you.
Calvin: Yeah it definitely is...I mean juggling with my department's work and Adam's work...sheesh...it ain't easy.
Bart: I know...but your promotion depends on this. Management is looking at you now on how you handle this situation.
Calvin: Really?
Bart: Yes...you are not supposed to know this but...
Calvin: I know. Thanks.

After work that day, Calvin went back home. His wife Sue was home looking after their 5 year old daughter, Elle, who was sick.

Sue: How's your day?
Calvin: Stressed...Adam left suddenly and I have to finish his work.
Sue: That's hard. Here...have some soup that I prepared for you.
Calvin: Thanks. How's Elle?
Sue: She's now in her room asleep. The fever is still there. Thankfully it went down from last night.
Calvin: Thanks for taking care of the family.
Sue: It's my job as your wife and Elle's mum.
Calvin: No wonder I married you.
Sue: Haha...

Calvin took a bath and went back to his laptop. He worked till late in the night. After making some calculation, he realized that he had to burn the midnight oil all the way to next morning.

While he was preparing the slides, he heard a voice.

??: I am tired...

Calvin turned around and saw Elle awake from her sleep.

Elle: ...but I can't sleep.
Calvin: Dad's tired too but I have some work to do.
Elle: But it's past work time already.

To Elle, dad's work last from 9am to 5pm, but in the real world, work can be 24-7.

Calvin: Why don't you try to sleep?
Elle: I can't sleep.
Calvin: ...

Calvin was definitely stressed. He had to take care of Elle and his slides.

Elle: Dad, can you hug me? I also want to hear your stories.

Now, he had to make a decision. He knew that telling stories meant less time for the slides.

Calvin: ...
Elle: Why don't you read to me some stories?
Calvin: Haha...okay. Give me a few minutes.

Calvin went to his laptop and finished some stuff. He looked at the wall clock and it was 2.18am. He shut down his laptop and went over to the living room where Elle was waiting smiling with a storybook. He admired her tolerance. Despite the fever, she could still smile. Maybe that's why she asked for a hug...a hug...a form of encouragement to help her go through her fever.

Calvin went over to where Elle was and gave her a hug. He kissed her forehead.

Calvin: Come...why don't you sit here while daddy read this book to you.
Elle: Okay.

Elle sat on his thigh and Calvin held the book in front of them. Calvin began to read the book.

After reading for awhile, Calvin noticed that Elle was sleepy.

Elle: Daddy...I am tired...can you accompany me while I sleep?

Calvin thought about his slides and his daughter...

Calvin: ...

After thinking for awhile, Calvin carried Elle on his shoulders and walked towards her room. He placed Elle on her bed and sat beside her on a chair.

Elle: Daddy... please hold my hand...

Calvin held her hand and touched her forehead. The fever was still there.

Calvin: Elle...are you okay?
Elle: Yes I am...cos daddy is holding my hand.

Calvin was touched. Sometimes children see things that adults don't see.

Elle: Oh yeah...daddy...do sleep early...I don't want you to fall sick too...if not I would have to read stories to you and hold your hand while you sleep.
Calvin: ...

As time passed by, Elle fell asleep. Calvin saw his little angel there lying on the bed. He touched her forehead. It was still hot, but somehow, Elle was smiling. Calvin looked at the clock and saw that it was 4.51am. Before he knew it...he fell asleep on the chair...

The next morning, he woke up and saw that he was late for work. He quickly rushed to work, hoping that everyone would forget about the presentation slides.

When he reached his office, Bart was there.

Bart: So how's your slide?
Calvin: It's...
Bart: ...
Calvin: It's still unfinished.
Bart: You do know that the deadline is today right?
Calvin: Yes.
Bart: And also, you do know that your promotion depends on it right?
Calvin: Yes.
Bart: Well then...I don't know what else to say...I am disappointed.
Calvin: ...

The day started bad. Management wanted to see Calvin for an explanation. So Calvin went to the Management's office.

Management: Would you care to explain why the slides are not finished?
Calvin: ...
Management: Tell me when is the deadline.
Calvin: It's today.
Management: You do know that the presentation with our foreign business partners is key to our expansion don't you?
Calvin: Yes I do.
Management: So tell me why isn't it done yet?
Calvin: Because...
Management: Because?
Calvin: Because my daughter needed a hug.
Management: ...

After a few seconds of silence...

Management: You can go back to your office now. I have nothing to ask from you.

Calvin went back to his office, unsure about whether his job will still be there. The day was tough for Calvin.

After work was over, Calvin went back home.

Elle: Daddy! Elle's fine now.
Sue: It looks like Elle's fine now.
Calvin: That's good.
Sue: What's wrong? Did something happen at work?

And so, Calvin shared what happened in the office with Sue over dinner while the family ate together.

After dinner, Calvin went to take a bath. After that, he sat in the living room unsure of whether he will still be able to keep his job. Then suddenly he felt someone hugging him. He turned around and saw Elle hugging him. Sue was standing there smiling at him.

Sue: Elle told me what happened...how you read her stories and accompanied her.
Elle: Don't be sad...I am here to hug you now. Let's read a story together.

Calvin smiled.

Sue: Well...it looks like fun. I'll join in too.
Elle: Let's read together for Daddy to hear!
Sue: Haha...
Calvin: Thanks...I don't know what to say.
Sue: No wonder I married you. You chose your family over work.
Elle: That's not what the storybook says! Let's try reading again.
Calvin and Sue: Haha...

And that was the story of how a man prioritized his family over work. This story is for all father's out there. Happy Father's Day.

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