Allen was about three years old. He had just gotten home from preschool and his grandmother had set before him some biscuits and some milk. He ate them while he watched his younger brother Joey crawl around the room. After having explored every bit of the flooring, Joey goo-ed his way to sleep and their grandmother put Joey in his cradle.
Allen was bored. It would be a couple of hours until his parents returned from work and he had nothing to do. He lazily started walking around the house and soon found himself on the terrace. Allen’s mother loved plants and had converted their terrace into a mini garden. There were shrubs and flower-budding plants lining all four walls of the terrace.
The mild sea-breeze that brushed his small stature and the low warmth of the setting sun felt good, so, Allen decided to linger around a while longer. He watched the sun slowly disappear behind the horizon, as he played with the leaves of one of the croton plants.
All of a sudden, Allen found his tongue and lips begin to prick and itch. Panic struck him as he realized that he had, unconsciously, been biting on the stalk of the plant, that he had been playing with. He screamed and ran downstairs to his grandmother. He was only a little boy and nothing Allen said seemed to make any sense to her – she tried giving him water and some sweets, but nothing helped.
Allen was still screaming and in tears when his parents got home. They knew Allen was in pain, but could not understand what was really troubling him. Allen helplessly screamed and screamed, not knowing the right words to express his discomfort.
Finally, his dad calmed him down a little and gently asked, ‘Tell me everything you did since the time you returned home from school.’
Allen told him everything. ‘Show me the plant,’ said his dad, as he carried little Allen to the terrace. After Allen had pointed out the plant, the father lowered Allen to the ground, bent down and bit its stalk.
His tongue and lips began to prick and itch, but now he knew what his son was going through. He carried Allen to the doctor, who was able to treat them both.
A father’s selfless love does not change, be it in 1969, in 2020, or a million years from now.
PS – This is a true story. The little boy in the story is my dad, who loves me just the same as his father had loved him and his siblings.
Happy Fathers' day to all the amazing dad's out there!