While most older Asian parents are less inclined to express their feelings for their children using words, they often more than make up for it with gestures of affection.
Sometimes, these simple acts of love would catch us off guard that we are left unable to respond accordingly.
James Xiong, a netizen from Sacramento, posted on Facebook about such a precious moment he shared with his dad.
In the viral post, James recalled his father’s invitation to eat on a late night in 2015, writing: “As I started walking back into my room to finish up my homework due before midnight, my dad slightly raised his voice and said, ‘James, come over here.’ Thinking that I had done something wrong, I raised my voice with an angry tone as I replied, ‘What!’”
“As I walked back into the kitchen, my dad stood, holding a bbq fish, with two plates of rice already set out on the table. ‘Come eat with me. I barbecued a very tasty fish. Eat, eat.’”
James soon realized that he reacted poorly to his dad who simply wanted to care for him.
“Feeling dumb about my inconsiderate action, my heart paused for a second as I silently walked over to sit down next to my ecstatic dad.
“‘Try it, it is really good! I barbecued it.’
“For the longest time, it was so difficult to swallow the spoon full of rice that I held in my hand while watching my dad munch away. This feeling made my stomach sick as I sat with the nicely cooked fish, and my dad’s priceless smile across his wrinkled cheeks with his scarred hands picking through the bones of the fish.”
While overwhelmed with a sense of guilt, James noticed how his father’s sincerity took over that moment and reminded him of a time when his dad, as a much younger man, would do the same for him as a kid.
“It was hard to keep a straight face at my dad as I quickly realized how impatient and rude I have become to my dad. My foolishness was overpowered by father’s sincerity, and it was at this moment waiting in silence, I had a flashback that teleported me back through time.”
“I remembered some 11 years ago, my dad and I sat at the same table eating a fish he caught and barbecued for me, except he was much younger and stronger. As I sat there, I began to realize how long I’ve been away from my dad, physically and mentally, compared to when I was younger. With these past memories skipping through my mind, I felt a strong sense of nostalgia as I continue to watch my dad eat.”
As James was soon brought to tears after he was reminded of his father’s sacrifices and how he neglected to reciprocate most of them through the years.
“I have been so busy with school, work, and life this semester that I have forgotten all about my dad until this bittersweet meal with him. Time has done so much to my dad, but for some strange reason, he never forgets to invite his ill-manner son to the table. Trembling with an unknown rush of remorseful anxiety from within, I start to lose my composure to keep on eating. I was guilty of being ungrated and taking my dad for granted for everything he has done, gave, and taught me. It was an emotional moment of silence until my tears climbed out, and rush down my sadden face seeking an apology. Unable to hide my discomfort, I fled the scene to recover before ruining this heartwarming and long forgotten reunion with my dad. I hid in the bathroom seeking to return but I couldn’t as I sink to the ground, struck numb with an unspoken love bond that held me and my dad as father and son. I didn’t deserve this meal…”
“I am sorry papa, for love, is simple. For us, it is a plate of rice and a bbq fish.”
At the end of his post, he shared this piece of advice for other children:
“Love your parents for they cannot grow young and anew like a flower. Give them every amount of love, because they can’t stay forever hoping you’ll love them. They’re getting older in just a blink of an eye.”
The post, which touched many netizens who found it very relatable, went viral and still gets reactions and shares nearly four years since it was posted.
James told NextShark in an interview that it also went “viral” offline within the Hmong community.
“In Sacramento, the Hmong community is small, so rumors travel quick,” he shared. “All my friends were shocked because they knew he was my dad.”
“My parents didn’t find out later until they went to church and my mom was confronted by her close friend who told her that her husband is all over the internet. She told my mom to look at the post she saw on her facebook and quickly realized it was me who wrote.”
“After my dad found out, he was very surprised too. My dad was like, ‘Man, make me a Facebook account, I want to see.’ But sadly, he can’t read or write good enough in English to understand so my mom just tells him everything and translate people who commented.”
Featured image via Facebook/James Xiong