Your Company Can Probably Replace You (With Someone Better) But Your Kids Will Never Find A Dad Who Loves Them More

Your Company Can Probably Replace You (With Someone Better) But Your Kids Will Never Find A Dad Who Loves Them More

The past week has been a rough one, both physically and emotionally. Being in Singapore, it’s pretty guessable that work is one of the reasons why.

Running your own startup has its own pros and cons. One of the cons is that it’s just naturally harder to separate between work stress and personal stress. And personal stress has its way of getting into family matters. You get tired, you get cranky, you start losing focus and you just snap at home.

In Singapore, working adults pride ourselves on being able to work hard and to be productive for our company. Whether it’s to impress our boss, co-workers or just our family and friends, being able to achieve in the workplace is seen as a major sign of success in life – somewhat similar to getting good grades for exams.

What happen though to spending time at home, raising your kids and being there for them when they need you? Is being a successful dad less important? Surely not.

Are We Killing Ourselves For A Company Who Will Just Replace Us Within A Day If We Are Gone? 

People leave companies all the time. Whether it’s due to poor performance, a working relationship with the boss go wrong, career advancement or retirement, every company would deal with losing with good talent. A company doesn’t just decide to stop functioning because it loses a good employee or even it’s CEO.

In fact, they try to replace you (and I) with someone better. And very often, they succeed in doing so, regardless of how important you and I think we are to the company.

Our Kids Can’t Replace Us…Even If They Want To

While many of us dad may pride ourselves on being able to bring home the dough, we need to ask ourselves one additional question. How “successful” are we faring in our role as a dad today?

We spend 9, 10 maybe even 12 hours a day in the office. But even as the CEO, I am under no delusion that my company will continue to function well if I am no longer around to work with them tomorrow, for whatever reasons.

You know who is going to really miss me though? My family.

My parents will be devastated. At their senior age today, the realisation that they will spend their golden years without one of their son beside them is going to heartbreaking. They will need to move on and continuing living their lives well, knowing that they still have children and grandchildren who are in their lives.

My wife will need to move on. Unfortunately, there is no option to opt out of lives whenever bad things happen and the responsibilities of the kids will fall upon her. It will be tough but she will need to do her best for the decades to come. The next 20 years (at least) will be very difficult.

For for my girls, 2 year 9 months and 10 months respectively, they are going to grow up without a dad. At the start, they may not notice it. After a while when they are older, they will start to realise it. They may think it’s okay because they will never really know what it’s like to have a dad who loves them, because they never experienced it in the first place, and that’s the sad, painful part.

IfSib, I love you. Always remember that ūüôā

Money, talent, skills, opportunities or even good health is something that we can’t always promise we can give to our kids. One thing can definitely give them, if we want to, is our love. For many of us, spending time with our girls, loving them and just being with them is something that is within our control.

Come home early whenever you can. Spend time with them. Read and laugh with them. Pray with them. Because our kids can’t replace us.

If I Could Spend One More Day With Anyone, It Will Be You

It’s been a while since either of us wrote a post. Though we have been busy, this blog is very much still around.

Compared to my day job (I run a pretty popular website), the traffic from this blog is wayyy lower.  However, The Little Nathaniel do get a handful of unique visitors each week. And whenever I see some traffic on the site, my heart goes out to you, whoever it is who is reading.

I am really sorry if you lost a child recently.

Maybe one day, we will meet. I hope and pray that you (and your spouse) will find the courage to move forward in your lives in the hope that one day, you will find your joy even though the days may appear unforgivingly dark right now.

Though my wife and I have been through a personal tragedy ourselves which few words can describe, I dare not say we know how you feel.

There is a popular question that people love asking.

“If you could spend a day (or have a meal) with anyone, past or present, who will it be.”

Recently, I thought about this question and here’s my answer.

#1 Little Nate will be top on my list. 

I don’t know what we will do. He will probably spends his entire day drinking milk, pooping, peeing and sleeping. I will do about 7-8 diapers change and just look, hug and kiss him during the time.

It does feel unfair. Spending less than 5 minutes in total with a child who was already gone by the time we saw and carried him. Two kisses. A few words. A prayer. That’s all.

I still remember the smile on his mother’s face when he was delivered. In spite of her sadness, seeing him was enough for her to break into a smile, even if it was just a short while.

It was a quiet operating theatre. The nurse told me “he’s a boy” and that the time was “4:35pm”. Just these two statements.

We miss you darling.

# 2 Natalie (Sib) Is Next

Next on my list is our 18-month old daughter. If I could spend a day alone with anyone right now, it will be her. And yes, we are going to have some daddy/daughter time this weekend!

I don’t know if any dad actually describe their relationship with their daughter this way but having Natalie around is just like falling in love…all over again!

You feel young, energetic, happy and everyone else is just looking at the two of you (with envy sometimes) having the time of our lives. What do we do? We talk baby gibberish words with one another, and find, do and laugh at the silliest, lamest and dumbest thing that either of us can think of.

If you want to share your story with me, you reach me at timothy.hozixin@gmail.com

We also have a small, closed Facebook group. If you wish to join, drop me an email and I will add you into it. 

Our (Your) Special Day

Our (Your) Special Day

Today, Daddy and Mommy talked about you. We are reminded that you are, and always will be, a part of our family. We remember the 39 weeks that you were with us, and the two cherished moments that we had with you – After you were delivered and before you had to be cremated.

Even though these fleeting moments were less than five minutes in total, they are memories that have long been seared into our hearts, and will remain so for a long time, perhaps as long as we lived.

After your passing, neither of us could get close to babies without having the painful memory that we lost you. Thankfully, we were blessed to have your baby sister slightly more than a year later. Though she is still young and doesn’t yet know, she has been the renewal that we needed in our lives. For a long time, we were in a dark, difficult place. Families and friends encouraged us, work (and Netflix) kept us occupied, but your baby sister was the spark that reignited our lives.

Today, we brought her to the place where we once buried your bones. Of course, it’s only symbolic now because 1) you are no longer in our world and I hope that you are having a blast up there in Heaven, and that it’s as good as advertised and 2) the bones have been back at home for the past year.

As usual, we brought flowers. Your baby sister helped choose it and the salesperson even asked her if she was buying it for someone special. She was!

Of course, we brought her along to drop off the flowers.

Mommy and I joked this morning that your baby sister is more pampered than most  because of you. She is showered with all the unconditional love that the people around her could possibly give.

In the future, your baby sister will grow up and understand why. She will treasure the care that people have shown her.

Still, all of these will never make up for the fact that given a choice, she will trade all of these away, just for the chance to be able to grow up with you, her older brother, by her side. However, this isn’t her choice, or ours, to make.

We love you and we miss you.

– Daddy, Mommy and Sib

Your Baby Sister Is 8 Months Old (And You Would Absolutely Love Her)

Your Baby Sister Is 8 Months Old (And You Would Absolutely Love Her)

Our baby daughter is now almost 8 months old!

Time flies. The last time we wrote, it was the day before little Natalie was due. It’s been almost 8 months since.

Natalie has been the most amazing little baby that Dee and I could ever have hoped for. She is soooooo cute (I know everyone says that about their own baby), getting all the attention wherever she goes, and really getting along with almost everyone, including other babies and toddlers. She is great to be with, play with, live with and to talk to.

A part of us always wished that Nate and Nat could have known each other. Seeing how Nat plays with other babies, there is no doubt in our minds that the two of them would have enjoyed each other company. Nate would love her, and his little sister would love him.

Dee and I always remind ourselves that Natalie have a “kor kor”, just that he is no longer around by the time she came. We talk about how Natalie appears to have the ¬†characteristics of what it takes to be a “good little sister” – just by the way she enjoys observing others.

To Nate, Daddy wants you to know that we are doing really well. Your little sister has been a bundle of joy beyond our wildest imagination. We thank God for each day that we get to spend with her.¬†She is so adorable that both of us misses her, even after just half a day apart. We wish you were here, because you would have loved her every bit as much as we do. She’s that adorable!¬†

Natalie (aka Sib) on her first month birthday!

To both Nate and Nat, we will always love and treasure the time that we spend with both of you. Though both of you didn’t get the chance to meet one another, at least not on this side of our world, we are and always will be a family together. Daddy, Mommy, Little Nate and Little Nat.

 

A Rainbow Baby – Dad’s Thoughts

A Rainbow Baby – Dad’s Thoughts

Dee recently share an article about rainbow baby. A rainbow baby refers to a baby born after the loss of a child. It could be a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant/child loss.

I am not sure how the term came about. One possibility I suspect is that it’s make in reference to God’s covenant with Noah after the flood, when a rainbow appeared as a promise that a flood will no longer destroy the earth again.

A rainbow symbolises hope. Hope that the future is going to be better than the past. Rainbows typically appear after storms have passed.

Living In The Present

 

Having lost a child at late pregnancy makes the next pregnancy tougher. You are  afraid to plan too much in advance. We try not to think too much about the future. None of the financial planning about how much this will cost us, what to do on her 1st month birthday, who is going to take care of her in the next few months.

People have asked us these practical questions, we don’t really have answers (yet).

We much rather live in the present than to worry about the future. If anything, the previous pregnancy taught us never to take anything in the future for granted.  Everyday, we talk to our baby daughter in the womb. Every kick is a timely reminder of the amazing gift that God has blessed us with.

Dee has been an amazing Mom the past 9 months. Being awaken¬†in the middle of the night by little sib’s kicks is something we will treasure. Dee will wake me up and in my groggy state, i will put my palms on her for a short while, feel sib’s kick, smile and get back to sleep. It’s been an amazing few months¬†seeing sib grow from the faint nudges to the big kicks.

As much as I like being awaken by the kicks, I am gladly looking forward being woken up by the cries in the future.

It’s Moving Forward, It’s Never Deja Vu

A week ago, Dee asked me if I have any feeling of deja vu. My response was easy. No – no deja vu for us.

Of course, circumstances can appear similar.¬†14 months ago, we too were awaiting baby Nathan to join us, but that didn’t happen.

This is a different pregnancy. It’s different because it’s a different child. It’s different because no matter what happens, Nathan will always be in our heart. Having baby sib won’t change the¬†pain of losing Nathan, but it would, however, remind us that we can move forward in the chapters of our lives with hopes in our hearts – hope that tomorrow will be good.

It’s not deja vu because couples¬†move forward, not back.

Praying For The Future

I reminded myself that as much as tomorrow may seem like a “big day”, it’s actually not for me at all, but for my two girls.

For Dee, it’s her second delivery in less than 14 months. In fact, she has been pregnant for the past 22 months, with the exception of a 4 to 5 months gap. It’s been tough, physically, mentally and of course emotionally for her.

For sib, it’s obviously a big day for her. I have no idea how babies think/feel/react but I can imagine how life in our world would be drastically different from whatever it is that they are used to in the womb, at least for the few first weeks.

As a Dad, I remind myself the only thing I can do in the days, weeks and months ahead is to be there for her, to care for her in the best possible way I can, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

To my dearest sib, when you are old enough to read for yourself. I want you to know that Daddy & Mommy loves you, a lot. We love you while you are in the womb, and we will continue loving you with all we have when you are with us, for as long we are around. You are¬†an amazing gift that God have given us and it’s our prayer that you will be with us for the rest of our lives on this earth.¬†

Never Once (Matt Redman) 
Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

One Year On…

One Year On…

Today is a special day for Dee & I. It’s the first year anniversary for our child, Nathaniel.

We knew this day will eventually come. During the weeks leading up to it, I wondered to myself¬†if this should be Nathan’s first birthday (since he was technically born on 2 Feb 2016) or his death anniversary (since he was pronounced a stillborn child on the same day). Eventually, we decided to just settle down on this being his first anniversary.

Though work has been busy for us lately,  we decided to deliberately slow down today. We took off from work so that we could spend a little more time with one another.

One year ago, our lives were shaken when we found out Nathan wasn’t going to join us in this world, and that his¬†journey with us has ended. It was a¬†loss that wasn’t just our own, but also those of our parents, our family, our relatives and friends.

Nathan’s passing taught me and Dee¬†that nothing in this world is permanent. And that sometimes, life will throw difficult curve balls that we have no answers to.

2016 was a year of two half for us. After losing Nathan in Feb, we found out in August (9 Aug in fact!) that Dee was pregnant with baby “Sib.” At times, 2016 felt like such a difficult year that we almost forgot to count our blessings, and that is God giving us another baby in our lives.

Picking Up The Pieces…

About 10 months ago, we buried Nathan’s bones¬†somewhere special. We didn’t want to hold on to it¬†for too long then because we felt it was right for us to¬†let go…even if it’s¬†temporary.

We packed his bones into this little box.

nathansgift

Today, we decide to revisit the place where we buried his bones. We told ourselves that if we do visually see¬†the box, or what’s left of it, then we will bring it back home…Otherwise, we will just leave it at where it’s buried.

And we did…bring it home, and we left some flowers there instead ūüôā

image4

Obviously what we did is not what most people would do, or even should do…there are proper places where remains can be kept. But our rational was that since he never got a birth or death certificate anyway, there was no reason for¬†him in having anything permanent.

So we did what we wanted to do to cope with our loss and recovery. I guess the point behind this is that each loss is personal.

The most important thing about this isn’t actually about what we did. Rather, it was that we did as a family, Dee and I – super happy as well that sib could join us as an (unwilling) accomplice this time around!

Losses Can Be Very Painful, But Moving On Is Possible

The past year have taught us that while some losses are agonisingly painful, we can still move on to another chapter of our lives.

The greatest fear for us moving on is being afraid that the shared experiences that we¬†previously had with Nathan would be lost. That the memories of him will slowly fade away in our lives. But that’s not a good reason to cling on.

We move on not because we have to, but because we want to.

I know that Nathan will always be an important¬†part of our lives. The next chapter of our lives has already started, but that doesn’t mean the previous chapter we had with him is over, or irrelevant. The impact he has brought us will shape our thoughts and how we are as person, and also the parents we will be.

And that’s the kind of impact a loved one can bring to anyone, even little babies like Nathan.

I recently re-read the book, “A Grace Disguised” by Jerry Sittser. Here’s a quote which caught my attention from the book.

“Choice is therefore the key. We can run from the darkness, or we can enter into the darkness and face the pain of loss. We can indulge ourselves in self-pity, or we can empathise with others and embrace their pain as our own. We can run away from sorrow and drown it in addictions, or we can learn to live with sorrow. We can nurse wounds of having been cheated in life, or we can be grateful and joyful, even though there seems to be little reasons for it.”¬†

For those of you who are wondering how Dee and I have been, We just want you to know that we are doing fine.

img_5379

 

 

Dear Nathan, There Is So Much I Want To Tell You

Dear Nathan, There Is So Much I Want To Tell You

My dear Nathan,

It’s been¬†17 months since you joined our family, and about 8 months since you left us – at least until we meet each other again. There have been¬†so many things that have happened, so many things that we¬†want to tell you.

Mommy found a new job after her maternity leave. She is now working with Daddy! We have so much work to do each day, but are thankful that Daddy and Mommy are able to see each other so often. It really helped us recover, being able to spend so much time with one another to keep ourselves occupied.

4 months ago, we¬†found out that Mommy is pregnant again!¬†We call your sibling, “Sib” –¬†Unlike how you were growing up, Sib kinda crave for attention. In fact,¬†at just 2 months, people were already giving up their seats on the train for Mommy and Sib. Mommy told me that only happened for¬†you and her when you were about 4-5¬†months old. Daddy also had some friends secretly asking him if Mommy was pregnant. That’s how it is like with Sib. Always wanting to be acknowledged.

Recently, we¬†also found out that Sib is a girl! Your Mommy kinda suspected it for some time. Yes, that also means she is your baby sister! She¬†is the¬†first girl in Daddy’s side of the¬†family, following your 3 other boy cousins who are still in the UK, and of course, you.

Daddy is sad because he knows that you and Sib won’t be able to see¬†each other. However,¬†when your little sister is old enough, Daddy will tell her all about you. The precious times we spent with you. Your favourite movies, IP Man (1/2/3), our time together at Bali, how big grew to be in Mommy’s womb¬†and the stretch marks that you left her¬†with, the c-section scar that she now has to remind us of you, your beautiful¬†eyes from Daddy and kissable lips from Mommy, the mole, right above¬†your lips, and of course, the day you left us and the funeral service we had for you.

In our eyes, you are the most beautiful baby boy we could have ever dream of having. Daddy and Mommy will always remember you as our perfect brave little baby boy.

Daddy will take good care of Mommy and Sib.¬†Daddy wishes you could be here, to see her when she joins us. But Daddy knows that God has a different plan for all of us –¬†Me, you, Mommy and Sib.

Nathaniel and Sib – We love the both of you very much, and always will.

With Love, Daddy and Mommy.