It was 9pm on December 1, 1996 when I received a call from my wife. “My water broke and I am on my way to the hospital,” she said. My heart started racing. The moment of truth had arrived – I was about to become a true adult. The only problem was that my wife was in Taipei and I was in Beijing. I hurried to book the first flight out of Beijing in the morning to Hong Kong and then onwards to Taiwan. “Please try to wait for my arrival,” I begged. I feared spending the rest of my life regretting that I was not present when my daughter arrived.
The next morning, all flights took off on schedule. When I landed in Hong Kong, I learned from my brother-in-law that my wife had delivered a healthy baby girl. By 2.30pm on December 2, I was racing from Taoyuan Airport to Zhongshan Hospital. I could not wait to see my wife and new child. Upon arriving at the hospital, I ran to the nursery window. Among the 20 or so infants in baby baskets, there she was, wrapped in a pink blanket. She stood out slightly because she seemed to be the only mixed-blood child in the group. I smiled and waved – a nurse raised the baby so I could see her.
And then I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me, buddy, but that’s my child,” said an American guy behind me. Embarrassed, I responded, “Oops, very cute,” and proceeded to scan the names printed on the other baby baskets. Near the end of the row was my daughter, Jacquelin, a healthy baby with a full head of hair, strong lungs and of course, cute as a bug. I then proceeded to see how my wife was doing. There and then, at the age of 34, I began the next chapter of my life: parent.
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