ONE of the reasons I watch American Idol is I like to see the reactions of family and friends of those who auditioned. I am fascinated as to how friends and family react when they see their relative or friend get accepted or rejected.
When they get rejected their friends come over and embrace and cry and console the dreamer. In most cases when a singer is accepted, he or she waves the ticket and much to the delight of friends and family they scream and hug and dance and celebrate.
Normally when the wannabee is accepted friends and family swarm all over the ecstatic contestant. That is the common sight. It is heartwarming and touching and special.
But last week I saw something different.
There was this rather big man with glasses who got accepted to the next round. As he stepped out the door there was no commotion or screaming and yelling. There was no crowd of frenzied family and friends.
Instead there was just this one person, a rather small woman in fact.
As he emerged from the room, he had the "Golden Ticket" and he waved it. He was rather intense when he saw Ryan Seacrest and he closed his eyes in celebration. He was quiet.
But what struck me was the reaction of the woman. She did not rush up to him, did not yell or scream, did not embrace him. Rather she stepped back. She just watched him in her silent smile. She let him enjoy the moment. And after a few moments, he turned around and that was the only time she stepped forward to embrace him. That to me spoke of so many things. That to me said a lot of things without being uttered. That to me reminded me of my wife. And of my family.
Among the five of us it is me who is in the words of Raphael, the "emo" or the emotional one. I cannot help being emo because I am just like that. I wear my heart on my sleeve and with me, what you see is what you get. I do not like to pretend.
If I like you I will go out of my way for you and if I do not like you, you will know it. I would rather be true to you than pretend to like you and then backstab you. With me, you know where you stand. So in our family I am the only one who cries openly and easily. In short if any of our children joined American Idol and they got accepted I will be the one jumping and shouting and embracing while Chona and the rest will just keep quiet and watch their father make a fool of himself.
But Chona has always been like that with the embarrassing me. Chona has always been my quiet strength. Chona does not talk so much, I do. Chona quietly stands by me, trusting me enough to do what is right. And I appreciate that with her. I have learned that lesson from her.
Many years ago I would rattle off like some crazed fool telling her what she already knows, acting condescending, acting as I knew it all.
But to her credit, she survived me. And that would be the word for it, survived. I have learned my lesson. Chona has always been my strength and my guide. She is the one person I completely trust.
Chona has taught me to become a better father also. When my children need to tell me something they course it through Chona. In the major decisions that they have to make, I have to control myself so as not to go overboard as I was prone to do before because I was such an over protective parent. I still am in many ways but I try to control it.
There are times when I want to scold my kids about certain things and I sometimes do but in most cases I have learned to let them trust them enough to know that they have learned what we have taught them.
And my children have, thankfully learned from her also. They are like her in so many ways. They remain cool and quiet and reserved. They seldom say what it is in their minds but when they do I am surprised at the depth of their words. Good thing they learned from Chona. And in our family, we are clear with everything.
We are fiercely loyal and true to each other. Of course we do not always succeed but that is the way we do things most of the time. So when there is a problem we find ourselves closeted in the room, discussing it.
When there is an important announcement and we have to do it through text or email, the first word that is printed is, Family.... When we need each other we are there for each other without the fuss and the screaming and the yelling.
Unless of course I do it my way and then there will be screaming and jumping and embracing. And I can do all that because I know my family.