“My father passed away when I was 3, my elder sister was 5 and our brother was just 3 months old. My mother remarried and had two more children. With five children at home now, I felt like maybe life would have been easier with my biological father. I thought my stepfather was biased towards his own children and felt sad. Now I am a mother of three and finally understand – No parent is ever perfect. I, too, have certain shortcomings. In retrospect, I see that was all it was for him too. He worked as a trekking cook and would have to trek for days and weeks, in adverse weather conditions. At the end of all that, he came home to a noisy house full of children. He was always tired and I took this to mean he didn’t love us the same. But the truth is that he could have left us and chosen a better life but he didn’t. He stuck by us and helped raise us. He was never as heartless as I mistook him to be. I was too young and perhaps, still grieving my father’s death, to understand it then but I wish I had appreciated him more.

He always wanted the best for us. I remember how shattered he was when I left school. Luckily, I continued my education and could make him happy. I bagged a government job, which became his pride. My life as a civil servant was easy too but I felt like I couldn’t do enough for the man who had raised me. So I eventually resigned. This, yet again, came as a shock to him. He wasn’t exactly thrilled when I came to Australia but I know that I can do more for him this way. I am grateful to the government for investing in me and will definitely serve the nation in other ways. For now, this is what I need to do. To my stepfather; you could have possibly achieved so much if you did not have to raise us. But I am grateful that you chose to. You will always have a special place in our hearts.

After my mother passed away, he remarried. We are still in touch and he considers us family. This man took our childhood and youth to be his responsibility and now I take his aging years as mine. I promise to serve him and take care of him the best I can.”


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