People say I’m built a lot like my dad. Although I can’t see in which part I resemble him, I always find people blurt out, “She looks just like you!” when we go out together. Throughout the years, although I still can’t find the physical similarity between my dad and me, I did find out, one by one, that we really have so many things in common.
My dad doesn’t like breakfast, but when we’re in a hotel, he always chooses to eat a bowl of piping hot porridge. So do I. We’re not good at making small talks, even worse when it involves strangers. We would just stand awkwardly and let my mom do all the talking. We have this same frown when we’re upset, which, according to my sister, is ‘unreasonably creepy’. There are many times when my family can’t understand why my dad does this or that, but somehow I always know his reasons behind the things he does.
There are a lot of things about my dad that I admire. I admire his willingness to work hard and all his efforts to provide a good life for his family. I admire his vision about the future, his ways of raising his children, and the way he explains something so complex in such simple words that a 6 year-old me could understand it completely.
I have a lot of memories with my dad. When I was a child, we usually lied in bed at night, and he would tell me stories about his childhood. He told me about all his pets. Monkeys, elephants, dogs, anything you could think of. Yes, he’s an animals junkie (something that we don’t have in common, since I’m repulsive to animals). At the age of 7, I already knew why the stars show up at night and gone when the sun goes up, or why the rainbow has all those colors, and the fact that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun so some countries have four seasons, thanks to my dad who patiently explained anything every time my curiosity arose. As the years went by, we grew apart. I was busy with my teenage life, went home only for locking myself up in my room and turning up the stereo at its loudest volume. And then I moved to Bandung, and I only get to see him once every few months, with short conversations by phone in between.
Fortunately, things got better. We grew close again. I remember that one time when I got my first broken heart, and I rushed back home in the middle of the week. Once I saw my dad, I burst into tears and hugged him so tight, something I hadn’t done in such a long time. He hugged me in silence, and that moment, somehow I felt so much better. There was something about his hug that told me it would all be okay, and he would be there. And later that night, we had a long talk about life, love, and the future.
Although I still can’t figure out how I’ll raise my children someday, I know that my dad will be the one I look up to. I want to raise my children the way my father raises his. He gives us love while showing us to be independent. He’s royal to us and sometimes spoils us with things we don’t really need, but at the same time, he teaches us to work hard to get what we want. He protects his children in a way that would make all villains draw their steps back (although, I have to admit, sometimes he can get a little bit too protective). He supports our dreams and tells us to dream bigger and bigger, and encourages us to pursue it. He teaches us to be something we want and make ways for it. And I thank God, he lets us be what we want instead of what he wants.
We rarely have time to spend together. In a couple of years, maybe I’ll get married and move even further from him. But one thing for sure, I know that no matter how far we’re apart, he’ll always be there for me whenever I need him, like when I was drowning in the lake and he pulled me out right before I suffocated, or when I had my heart broken and he hugged me in a way like he never had before.
And this is a promise to myself, someday I’ll tell stories to my children about a superhero that their mom loves so much: their grandfather.
Happy father’s day, Papa.
Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.