Dear Hamlet

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I want you to know you have a wonderful father, whom I affectionately call your Papa Bear. He has been a little of a Papa Bear to me, so I know. It’s a legacy passed down from your grandfather, and though I’ve never met him, probably your great-grandfather as well. All the Choo boys, in my opinion, make such fine husbands and fathers and it’s your Daddy I love the most. It is my hope that you will grow up to be every bit like him — a God-fearing man any godly woman will be pleased to marry. But since this is about your Dad, and not you, we can talk about that another day.

Your father has led this family with much courage. Though he grew up with reverent respect for his father, and a strong disinclination to say “no” to his parents, he did so when one time, my obstinate sense of aesthetics meant I recoiled with horror at the thought of giving their secondhand deep red couch with steel legs a place in our home. Or when we tried to establish boundaries with something as simple as eating at home daily, rather than conveniently drop in at his parent’s place for dinner because they are always generously open to us. It is not easy figuring out how to “leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife” — your father has loved me sacrificially and I’m very thankful for his headship in the small things.

While pregnant with you I became your father’s colleague — yes, we work together, literally side by side. It’s fun! He’s never begrudged me the extra money spent when I need to buy breakfast or tea simply because I didn’t feel like eating what’s at home, or more often than not, because there was nothing at all! Whenever I needed a break from work, he would walk with me to the washroom or to 7-11 to grab a bag of gummies. He even accedes to my requests to fetch things from around the office which I could easily do myself if I were not so pregnant. All these he does, even though he has a never-ending pile of work to complete. The coolest thing is, he helps everyone else in the office too whenever they have a problem that needs fixing. Your father is the most diligent and kindest worker I ever know.

We don’t really know how our finances will work out with you and God-willing, your brothers and sisters. Your father will not make one dishonest sale or pressure one more client just to hustle away more money for ourselves. Some people thinks that’s stupid in this world; I find that reassuring. I know that God is pleased. And whoever fears God and lives life according to his ways need not fear the trials in this life. I used to be really selfish with my money and I still worry about not having enough all the time. Now that I’ve learned from and with your father to be generous toward others, I hardly worry about it at all.

The Bible says that God will provide for the cheerful giver so that he can be even more generous. Last December I had the crazy idea to put off a camera purchase that I’ve been planning for ages so that we can give $600 to support a pastor’s family and your father agreed. Our friend, the pastor, thanked us and said: “God is glorified because of your generosity!” God gets the glory, we get the joy.

Now you will grow up and find out that your father is not perfect. I see no need to hide that from you now. I have found him imperfect too but those faults are too trivial to mention now, really, although they have irritated and even hurt me, more likely due to my slowness to forgive and quickness to anger than anything else. Your father has found it possible to grow as a husband and a father only because of Jesus Christ. In our first year of marriage, we fought outrageously. We agonized over sex and conceiving; we wept and moaned, together and alone; we held each other hostage with our own fears and insecurities… until the Gospel breaks in each time to point us back to Jesus.

The freedom that Jesus gives us is incredible. He freed us from the terrible fate of falling into God’s wrath – God is angry with us because we have not taken him, our Creator, seriously. God is angry with us because we have not treated each other rightly. When he died the death that we deserve for this rebellion against God, he gave us the freedom to come to God wholly accepted. He freed us to obey God rather than obey ourselves and our sinful desires. God sent Jesus to die for us, and they sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us so that we may trust in Jesus.

I will never forget when your father admitted his own selfishness, a hidden motive which I didn’t even see, in an incident. That, to me, was only possible because when God forgives you your sin, you are not afraid to admit your failures to your wife as well. When we struggled with fear of infertility too, and tried comforting myself with the “freedom to lead a life without children”, the gospel pointed out that my real freedom lies in following Jesus whether or not I have children. All other freedom is false and unsatisfying.

The fears do not end with bearing children; in fact they increase, but this is not the time to dwell on them. Let me continue to tell you about your father. He rubs my tummy with stretch mark cream every night and practices the Lamaze method with me before we sleep. He makes me laugh when he grumbles about being a slave, or pretends to, but I know he loves me. I let him know I really enjoy his tummy rubs and some nights, he sings to you too. You will love his voice and his music on the guitar, I will make sure he plays for you! We have a family tradition of GBH (Great Big Hugs) — feel free to ask your Dad for one anytime. He’s never refused me once. I’m known to wait outside the bathroom while he’s taking his morning shower to spring one on him when he’s done.

I hope you know your father a little better now. You will have lots more to discover when you are born. We all don’t deserve each other, but God gave us our family to love and to have, so we hope you would enjoy the ride with us. And by God’s grace, we will show you the world through God’s eyes and you will learn to love God.

Your mummy,
Serene

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