To My Dad

18Jun12

My dad is a very unique man. He grew up in Communist Vietnam and fled the country at 18. From there, he lived in refugee camps until he finally made his way to the U.S. with only the clothes on his back and a dream in his heart. Without knowing the language, he worked odd jobs and stayed with random friends trying to make a life for himself. He doesn’t like to talk about his past very much, but as I grow older I learn new things about my dad that makes my admiration for him grow. Piece by piece I learn more about what made my dad the man he is today. The struggle and strife and determination he had for a better future. I don’t think I could have ever done what he did. Leaving his home on a whim, not even telling his family. He wasn’t sure he would ever see his family again, yet he took the chance. My dad has been here over 30 years, and he still has a very strong accent, but that never stops him from striking up a conversation with a brick wall.

My family had our struggles growing up, but my parents made it a point to never let their children know just how tough things were. My sister and I learned to enjoy what we had around us and not base happiness on materialistic wants. When we had to cut back on things, my parents never let us know the real reason or let it affect our childhood, something I couldn’t fully appreciate until now. My dad has a quirky way of teaching lessons. I have always been a very stubborn, short-tempered individual who had to do things my own way. Dad always let me and would always so subtly show me the error of my ways. Like the time I refused to buckle my seat belt because I was too cool for it and he very gently tapped the brakes and I fell to the floor. Or when I was packing for college and was determined to fit things in the car my way only to have him help me re-do it in a more efficient way. He would never tell me I was wrong and he was not a man to raise his voice, but when he did you knew something was really bad. He is the most selfless man I know and would drop everything to be there for his kids and family. I remember one time sophomore year of college, dad came down to move me out (a 5 hour drive) on a Saturday and left at 2am that Sunday because he had to be at work. He never complained of being tired or overworked, he just did what he had to do. He can fix anything given the amount of time and has done many renovations in our house over the years. He has never once asked for anything in return and when you ask him what he wants for a birthday/Fathers Day/Christmas he says “just time with the family.” Dad has been through a lot of hardship in the past 2 years and I only wish I could make it go away. For everything he has done for me, I hate not being able to return the favor. I just hope and pray that karma works its magic and things turn around again.

Thank you, Dad, for making me who I am today, I have a growing appreciation for life by seeing the way you live and I cannot wait for the day you can influence my children the way you influenced me. I can only hope to be half the parent you have been.

Happy Father’s Day!

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