Dan Lai, dad to Samantha, 2, and Rebecca, 5, pens a heartfelt letter to his wife, Karen, a stay-at-home-mum.
To Karen, my beloved wife,
We first met 17 years ago and have been married for eight years with three children (two on this Earth and one who is now in heaven,). You stood by me through my “A” levels, National Service, varsity life and career-building moments. You’ve accompanied me to face all the challenges that tried to break us or bring us down.
I realise how you’ve grown from a young girl to a mum when every single day for the past six years, you sacrifice the most important thing to you ― undisturbed sleep. Nor have you ever once complained, which is simply remarkable.
I am grateful for your generous love towards me, my parents, grandma and siblings. The food you prepare and birthday cakes you bake for us fill us with deep appreciation. Thank you for your gentleness and understanding, especially when the differences in our family backgrounds and upbringing become obvious.
I see that you are tired, yet you still continue to give whatever is left of your energy to me when I return from work.
Even when we quarrel, you are always ready to listen to my views. Thank you for often taking the first step, especially when it is difficult to let go of our egoism.
We may never reach the same standards of tidiness and cleanliness. Indeed, I am tidy but not always clean, while you are usually untidy but always clean! But I am always thankful that you are willing to meet me halfway, and you’ve even trained our children in this respect.
I am privileged to be raising our children with you. Thank you for choosing to be a stay-at-home mum, so that you’ll be closely involved in Rebecca’s and Samantha’s early years ― for wanting to nourish them with the best milk and breastfeeding them on demand for more than two years each. I salute you. It’s all the more amazing, since you are often exhausted from preparing meals and doing the chores, yet you do not deprive them of this precious bonding time.
I truly appreciate you taking photos and videos of our children every day and sharing them with me. They remind me that my family is the driving force in my life and motivate me to be more efficient at work. I see that you are tired, yet you still continue to give whatever is left of your energy to me when I return from work. Despite your own difficulties, you listen to my problems and encourage me.
Remember the time when our little girl was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and had to be warded and you stayed with her? How about the time when she met with an accident while we were overseas? Your love for our baby girl was so great, yet the fact that I was not able to stay with you and you would not be able to sleep comfortably did not put any fear in you. I desired so much to take your place during these challenging times, especially during the stillbirth of our second child.
I wanted so much to take your place during these challenging times, especially during the stillbirth of our second child.
I am so grateful for your willingness to lead a simpler and more frugal lifestyle with less travel and luxuries. You have done wonderfully in raising our children, educating them (even in Chinese), as well as nourishing them physically, mentally and emotionally. Thank you for being the best protector, counsellor, teacher, chef, and “milk supplier” you can be for our girls.
I ask for your forgiveness for the times I have been difficult and demanding. I’m sorry for setting my expectations too high, spending money foolishly and complaining too much. Please forgive me when I’ve been too loud in my criticism and too silent in showing my love for you.
I genuinely appreciate all the things you have done for me and our children. It is often said that we only come to acknowledge and appreciate someone when they stop doing the things they do. I pray that this will never happen, and that I may continuously be inspired to be the spouse you deserve.
From the bottom of my heart, I love you.
Your husband, Dan.
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