Friday, June 14, 2013

Ode To My Dad

I never really thought of my dad as a real individual until very recently. I know it sounds weird but I guess one thinks of one's parents as different entities in a way. I never really paid attention to his personality or to what he liked/disliked. Sure, I knew things about him but I always took that knowledge for granted and it was only when he passed away that I began to remember random facts that gave me many a light bulb moment. For example, I didn't link my love for chocolate to his until last year when one day, while sitting drinking tea, I realized how he always brought back chocolate when grabbing a newspaper from the local corner shop or when filling up the car at the petrol station. Even when he became diabetic, he continued to find ways to eat chocolate and made sure that his fridge was always stacked with sugar-free goodies (which I raided when all else failed and not a single chocolate-resembling edible was in sight).

Even though he seemed like a very unemotional person on the outside, from the inside, my father appreciated art and music and loved animals - and I mean loved them! He wanted dogs, birds and chickens in our garden (much to my mom's chagrin) and his eyes would light up when he spoke of his childhood pets.

I also never appreciated what an involved dad he was. Now, with kids of my own and my mommy antenna always in tune, I can see what a great father he truly was - not only do I remember him always being around, he took us out to the park, for doughnuts & milk on the way back from the car wash and my favourite of them all, trips to London to his office.

Oddly enough, my dad was also the face of encouragement in the family - while my mom was ever strict about getting good grades and was naturally the one who did our homework with us, my dad was the one who always said, "Don't think about the people who did better than you, look at the ones who you did better than" and yet he was so, so proud when we brought back good results. 

When he died, what struck me the most about my dad's personality was his kindness - people came up to me at his funeral, many of whom I didn't know, to say how my dad had helped them in different ways - finding a job, giving advice and financial support that ranged from loans to reimbursing his office security guard's lunches because he didn't make that much money. What melted my heart was when people said how much my dad loved his daughters.

This July will be the 5th year my father hasn't been around and it has been a long, difficult period of time to say the least. I miss his advice, his laughter, just his presence, at every waking second. And yet I remember him with a smile and hope that my kids will inherit their grandfather's kindness and his positive attitude. I leave you a quote from poet Anne Sexton:

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was" 

~ S~

No comments:

Post a Comment