This is for all the fathers out there who stood by the silent commandments of parenthood. This is for all the dads who unconditionally love their child and their family no matter the circumstance. This is for my special dad who works incredibly hard so I can sit here today and breathe, smile, and write.
Remember the time when I thought I knew it all? The skies, the galaxies, the moral lessons, math, history…you stood by and patiently took in my annoying know-it-all tendencies and childlike arrogance and gave me a look that never failed to silence me. Never failed to teach me the beauty of silence and the wonders of just opening my ears and listening to what really, truly happens around me.
Remember when I used to pout and groan and mutter when I never received what I wanted? You taught me discipline. You taught me the actual meaning of respect.
Remember when you lifted me up to the essences in the Khmer temple and taught me how to bow and bend before the gold Buddha? Before the everlasting God. Remember how right after you would take me to an American place later so I can munch blissfully on their food? You showed me the world I come from and how it’s significant to never forget one’s past. You taught me how it’s important to incorporate the culture that surrounds you as well and become a swirl of colors and understanding.
Remember when you danced in front of me and sang those Khmer songs on karaoke? The colors, the costumes, and the lights. They taught me how to dance internally. To smile.
Remember when you always checked out books for me in the library and turned them in because I was too short to reach the return box? Patience was a seed that grew. Love for knowledge came next.
Remember when you held my hand and laughed at my frightened face as we ice-skated the first time? There I was taught bravery and how having the right people can straighten your legs and make your back strong.
Remember when you opened up and told me those stories of your horrific past? They humbled me like no other and haunted me into a world of ‘ifs’. They made me wonder and pray for the starving children and poverty-stricken villages around the world. They made me into a worldly person who dreams about doing greatness for the poor villages across the globe. They made me write.
Remember when you took me to my appointments? Little did you know that I was soon enraptured by the medical world. Remember every single time you expressed your curiosity for the workings of science? Little did you know that it shaped me to be the girl I am today – striving and shooting for my medical dreams.
Remember when you spoke to me in the beautiful language of Khmer? I always smiled and took in the richness of each word.
Remember the few times I actually woke up super early and had breakfast with you? The conversations never failed to leave me in a pensive mood.
“Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” You taught me to be ambitious and to be the best I can be, and no matter what, there’s always something greater out there than I think there is. To never give up. To never let anything get in my way.
Laughs. Big Eyes. Christmas Gifts. Coffee. Starbucks Gift Cards. Ties. Dress Shirts. Camcorders. Cameras. Cell Phones. Making Asian food on a BBQ. Ice Skates. Science Channel. DNA.
All these remind me of you.
Fathers around the world. This love. It’s unspeakable. Indescribable. Unconditional. Untouchable.
Your child may not be able to express creatively or even simply that they love you. That they appreciate you.
…But know they do. We all do.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. [[Papa.]]
Current Song: The Listening by Lights
I do not own any of the photography.
I’m not sure why I never commented on this one. But I love it so much. I just re-read it for some reason. The richness and beauty made me tear up just a little.
I know your Papa enjoyed his Father’s Day because of his thoughtful daughter who is now tall enough to reach the return box at the library.
Stephanie / Gabi