Only one week to go until Father’s Day and all the stores are already inundated with cards and gifts for Dad. I have written many Father’s Day blogs but today I am here to personally talk about my father. You want to know why? Because I changed his life as much as he has changed mine.
I have what you would call a typical, old school Chinese dad. He is much older (he was over 40 years old when he had me) so we were generations apart, even now. He spent most of the time working and entertaining guests with my mother either at home or a charity ball.
My parents left me to my own devices a lot ad my dad is not a man of many words. Whilst growing up I don’t remember my dad expressing much emotion to me. He didn’t change my diapers or bathe me, he didn’t play games with me or read to me, he didn’t help me with my homework or come to watch my ballet performances. He didn’t hug me whilst I cried and whisper words of comfort (in fact he would be the complete opposite and tell me to dry those tears and toughen up).
But my dad provided, and he provided well for my mom and I.
I don’t ever remember a moment that he wasn’t working and making money. He was in the textile industry and traveled a lot for work. He was always the bread winner and I feared him. He was strict with me and disciplined me with an iron fist. As a perk I often got to travel during my school holidays and every year brought me to a new city in a new country.
However, my best memories of him were the moments where his softness for me showed. Where words were lacking, action proved to be strong in a moment of tenderness that so fleetingly came and went. But those moments made me daddy’s girl.
My father taught me how to take my first steps. We spent summers riding our bikes together since the day he taught me how to ride a bike.
We didn’t have long conversations but we spent hours watching movies together, laughing and crying. My father patiently taught me how to swim and made swimming a father/daughter activity whenever he had a moment to take a break from his work to exercise and I would tag along. He taught me how to read Chinese from a newspaper.
He taught me how to ride a horse and all about horse racing.
He taught me all about German Shepherds and the importance of loyalty.
Most of all, he taught me how to drive. Not only how to drive on the road, but how to drive through life – with a tough skin and independent attitude where I don’t need to rely on anybody.
Today, I am who I am because of my dad. The strength we built in silence and the business ethics I carry, are with me still.
My dad is now 86 and not quite the man I remember as a child. He now tells me he loves me every single time I talk to him and asks me to visit him at home often. He may not physically be the strong and tough man I knew growing up but he fights life with every ounce of energy he has. He has battled a quintuple bypass, stomach cancer and has had 8 strokes to date. My dad is still here, trying his best, now with only words to show how much I am still daddy’ girl.
If I could, I would create an entire wall of Fotobit frames in his memory for all that he has gone through and for all that he has shown me to this day, and that would not even be enough. I love you Daddy.
Happy Father’s Day.