I didn't even know it was a public holiday but the 1st of June came around and I woke up from working the weekend, and saw the kids and the wife still in the house after 9am.
"Today is public holiday meh?"
"Ya, Vesak Day," replied the wife. "Are you taking the kids out?"
Despite my head still throbbing from spending the weekend in the sun at work, I managed to mumble a coherent reply, something along the lines of "Um, yeah, I'll think of something."
After breakfast and pottering around the house doing fatherly duties (like erasing a 2006 iMac for recycling and installing a new iPad Mini 3 for wife), I gathered the troops and headed for the Botanic Gardens.
It was crazy hot that afternoon. I don't know what possessed me to think of going outdoors in that heat, but I thought the kids would benefit from some tree and grass time.
We didn't pack any food or drink, just a mat and our kick scooters. Note to self, get a bigger mat.
Soon, I was lying on the grass, while Isaac was scootering around the gardens, Joy was picking up twigs and leaves, and my wife was with Faith on a walk with our new helper, Auntie Marian. And for some odd reason, the weather got cooler. Often the simplest moments in life are the happiest.
The son also tried to teach his mother how to ride a kick scooter. The wife had no problems moving, it was slowing down that she was trying to grasp.
Joy came running towards me later, very excited by a place she discovered with my wife. It was an area with old two-seater swings, the kind that rich people had in their gardens in the old days.
And Faith really enjoyed sitting on that swing. For a brief few minutes, she sat on the swing with her siblings and mother, with a big fat smile on her face, her sensory issues lost in the motion. Her younger brother put a protective arm around her occasionally.
As I looked at her smile, I remembered the time we lost her three years ago in 2012, at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. It happened exactly on this day, the 1st of June. I mark it on my calendar and every year, I make it a point to say a little prayer of thanks on the day itself. I reminded the two younger ones too, that it was the third anniversary of the day we lost and found their autistic sister.
I am sure Auntie Cecilia is smiling at us from heaven, looking at the three kids she was a second mother to, especially at the big smiling girl she looked after since she was three weeks old. Fourteen years can fly by so quickly.
Like a girl on a swing.