Spread Your Wings And Fly

The kids and us trying to fit into the frame

I’m lying here in bed wondering if I will be deployed offshore tomorrow. My flight’s been booked but my deployment depends on whether the client’s driller can renew their offshore safety passport in time. At the same time I find myself humming an old song by Bob Carlisle called ‘Butterfly Kisses’.

My daughters Farhanah and Fazira were five and two respectively when I first heard that song. Their mother and I had just gone through separation and subsequent divorce, and I was missing my daughters terribly. And listening to this song made it worse because I did not want to miss seeing my children grow up and then leave me when they have a world of their own. And every school holiday I would get them to stay with me, and we would have a ritual whenever I tuck them in bed. Farhanah would start first by saying:

“Ayah, kiss!”

I’d give her a kiss. Then she’d go:


And we’d do the “Eskimo” kiss, which is rubbing my nose on hers. Then she’d ask for the final act of the ritual:


And we’d bat our eyelash several times onto each other’s cheek. After that we’d give each other a big hug. Only after that I would turn to little Fazira who would be waiting for her kiss, Eskimo kiss and Butterfly kiss eagerly wearing a big grin on her face.

I have no idea when did we stop this ritual…but whenever I get to, I would kiss their forehead and hug them for as long as I could.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by.
Precious butterfly.
Spread your wings and fly.

Fazira will turn 15 this year, and Farhanah will turn 18. Maybe by next month, if everything goes well, the latter will commence her tertiary studies; and if everything goes well, she’ll start working in 6 years time. Maybe, a year or two later, she’d have her own world and will have her own life. I will no longer have her, or be able to hug her as freely as I would now. Perhaps, Fazira would follow suit just three years later.

And to think it was almost two decades ago that I would lie down next to each of them, pat them to sleep, and feel their hand grip my little finger gently but firmly. They are all grown up, and one day they will leave me.

I just hope before that happens, I would get to do those kisses with them again. I just want them to know and remember how much I love them, and that I will always love them as I have been doing since the day they were born.

And I can never not feel like crying when I think of them, and listen to Bob Carlisle’s song…

In all that I’ve done wrong I know I must
have done something right to deserve a hug
every morning and butterfly kisses at night

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