Today, I want to wish my dad a happy birthday. It's easy to remember the date of my dad's birthday because it's October third. But when he told me this as a kid, it sounded like October "turd". Now, you'll always remember my dad's birthday as well ;)
Growing up, I remember feeling like every other kid I knew, was living that perfect movie like family life. You know, where that dad would be playing catch with his kids in the yard? Where the dad would be cheering his kids on as they were playing soccer? I didn't really experience too much of that. My dad never had the time, and was usually working odd hours.
I remember feeling angry about the whole experience growing up. I was upset that my dad wasn't there participating like other dad's, and also for being super strict and never letting me do too much. However, as I grew older, I understood why, and I just want to thank him for everything.
It took me awhile, but I had to put myself in my dad's shoes. My dad grew up without a mother, as she died when he was pretty young. He grew up in Vietnam during the war, and had to learn to survive. As he courageously was able to escape Vietnam after the war as one of the many Vietnamese boat people, he ended up in America and had to learn how to survive once again.
Imagine coming to a completely new country, without knowing the language at all. What about the culture and customs of that new country? And even the food? This was all new to him. I actually made a video once, where my dad hilariously recalls his first American meal, "Salagna". You can watch it below.
While my dad didn't get to play catch with me, and other things, he showed me his love by doing only the things he knew, which was to provide for me and the rest of the family. He didn't have time to pursue an education, but worked hard at his job. He rarely let me go out with friends, as that was his way of keeping me safe, and making sure that I was focusing on school. He wanted to make sure I worked hard in school, get a college education, and also a great job. A great job not to only be able to provide myself, but to be able to fulfill his advice to me, which was "No Money, No Hunny." (I hope you said that in your head with my dad's broken accent)
And one of the biggest lessons he taught me with his strict discipline was respect. Respect for your elders and respect for anyone who has helped you along the way. And for this, I want to thank my dad. I love you, Ba!
I hope this post will make you think of the sacrifices that our parents have made for us. Give them a call, and let them know how much you appreciate them.