Friday, November 10, 2017

Kamaliah's 27th Birthday

One morning not a long time ago, as I was preparing to go to class, I heard Kamaliah say:

“Semalam abang tengok ratio lelaki:perempuan untuk predict anak kita boy/girl lagi ke??” (Were you looking at the male:female ratio to predict our baby’s gender again??).

The previous night, we were surveying on Google for the best strollers around (still contemplating between Nuna and Uppababy). Somewhere along the way Kamaliah fell asleep, and suddenly I find myself pulling up graphs for the Malaysian population’s gender ratio and the predicted age-dependency ratio. The next morning, when Kamaliah saw all these graphs on her Macbook, she immediately knew what I was up to (it was not her first time seeing those graphs).

Kamaliah will tell me that I am lame for predicting our child’s gender based on the latest ratio (107 males : 100 females), and for worrying too much that the high dependency ratio in 2050 will cause our child to be burdened by high taxes to finance healthcare for the old population (a positive argument for national health insurance).

Such a pity marrying someone who’s so much into health economics! Kamaliah learned these less useful things from me, but on the other hand, what I learned from her is so so much more. Let me name a few. Kamaliah taught me to cook good Malaysian food. One of our favorite do-together thing now is our cooking! You see, I was hopeless before, but Kamaliah persisted in teaching me and now I can cook Malaysian food…not that great as her…but edible. I also always enjoyed going to the Asian grocery with her, and her eyes will lit with excitement and she will go “Abang, abang, abang tengok ni!” for every single item she found that is made in Malaysia.

Another thing I learned from Kamaliah is to replace ‘screen time’ with ‘people time’. We spend so much more time together these days, and we had a lot of weekend adventures together. We went whale watching, strolled through Salem in the midst of Halloween season, watched our very first Broadway theatre in New York, went seafood hunting in Cape Cod, and drove through the roads to New Hampshire to admire the beauty of autumn foliage. One of best sayings we also learned from the whale-watching tour guide is that “sometimes people spend too much time looking at these whales on their phone screens that they forgot to enjoy the majestic experience of being in front of these big creatures”. Since then we put our phone down, enjoyed experiencing one of the largest animal on earth in front of our eyes, and do not care much anymore about likes and comments on social media. We’ve practiced living in the moment since then. It is so much fun when you have one person you can share all these great memories with. One like and live comment from her is all I need.

However, all of these learning could not beat the exciting lesson of being future parents! We can’t wait to welcome our baby into this world. During our last doctor’s appointment, we can already see our baby move his/her hands. It was so surreal, and literally changed my perspective on life. For the first time it feels so real that we will be having someone who is totally dependent on us, everything we decide, everything we do will affect him/her. People say that once you have children, everything you do, you will have them in mind. I guess we can start to feel that.

Happy birthday Kamaliah, my wife, my love. Thank you for being so strong, patient and supportive. I pray to Allah to always keep you within his blessings, each hour and every day, and be the light that guides you, each step along life’s way. Thank you for all the great times, and let’s look forward to growing up (and old) together as parents, insyaAllah!

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