An ode to dads on Father's Day
Drifting off into a careless sleep was one of the many gifts of a happy childhood. Visualize this- You are on your way to an overnight picnic with your family in your car, while your relatives are in the two other cars in the back.
You are barely 4-years-old, but tinier than most kids your age. You don’t know where you are headed, but you drift into a peaceful sleep because you trust the man behind the wheel.
It is almost dusk now, and you hear all the cars arrive. Parked behind one another like dominos, they’re unloading the contents of the car and carrying heavy bags into the rooms, but papa can’t be of much help to them because he has his own 4-year-old, sleeping parcel to carry.
The truth is that you could’ve walked, but pretended to be asleep just so you would be carried inside. A trick as old as time, after all, there was no place as comfortable as papa’s shoulder to drool on.
They say time and tide wait for no one, and soon, the 4-year-old turned to a 14-year-old.
But, in our eyes, Papa stayed the same simple man. The weight shifted a little as we grew taller and more difficult to carry, but he never hesitated, even if he could now lift us only a few inches off the ground.
More years went by and birthdays meant aging. I was now 24 years old, but papa, except for a few visiting grey hair, was the same man that I knew from 10 years ago. It’s like time stood still, or maybe, he was actually as evergreen as he claimed to be.
Someone once told me that it would be the easiest to write about the things that were close to our hearts, but if that were true, I would’ve jotted down a million words by now. On the contrary, I think that the most difficult things to write about are the ones that are close to your heart because of the fear of not being able to do justice to them.
As a woman, I obviously can’t explain what being a father is like, but what I can tell you is what being the daughter of a good man feels like.
If you are lucky enough, a kind father is your best friend, confidante, your biggest cheerleader in the bleachers, and financially speaking, the one person you can ‘bank’ on when you need a loan with zero interest or down payment.
Mothers are universally known to be caring and nurturing, but how come no one talks about the fathers who iron our clothes when we’re too lazy to do it ourselves, and stuff huge morsels of rice into our mouths while we're tapping away on the keys of our laptop?
This year, I wished both, Mama and Papa a happy Mother’s Day – it felt like the right thing to do.
On a personal note, call me biased, but there have been a thousand stories that I’ve listened to that have left me awe-struck and convinced that my father is the coolest man alive.
If I wore shoes and the soles came off, my father would super glue them shut again and assure me that they won’t budge - I’d run a marathon in those shoes.
I know that every one of us feels the same about their own respective fathers, and that’s probably why we were all handpicked like house-plants for all these amazing men out there; we are the house-plants that changed their lives.
All part of a bigger plan, somewhere between all the awkward silences and the moments where they do not have the right words to say, is the fact that they would be lost without us.
Maybe, they needed us to listen, just as much as we needed them to speak.
Most days, it is so awkward to tell my father that I love him, but I tell him anyways, it is essential to me that he knows, and although he doesn’t always say it back, we have found our own little ways of saying ‘I love you too’.
He once told me, “When I’m at home, there is not one day, one hour, one minute or a second that I think about work. But when I’m at work, there is not one day, one hour, one minute or a second that I’m not thinking of home." And, all I wanted to do was give him the tightest hug, but instead, I made him a hot cup of tea while he enjoyed his favourite weather, the rain.
Back in the day, I had very little understanding of what love was, but looking back, I now know that love was seeing two tired eyes in the rearview mirror, driving us to school. And today, even from miles away, love means video calling Papa to show him how fluffy the clouds are.
You might think that this article is a personalised note to my father; maybe it is, but in a much bigger sense, it is a note that you may borrow to make up for all the words that you’ve wanted to say, but couldn’t find.
If you'd like it to be, this could be your Father’s Day message to the funniest and most loving man that you know.
If you look close enough, our fathers have aged. But, the fine lines, tanned arms and droopy shoulders have got nothing on the timeless laughter, a wallet full of generosity and a heart that stopped aging at 16.
They say that time and tide wait for no one, but I’ve come to notice that they do – time and tide have stood still for Papa.