Father's day was last Sunday. there was a splash of catchy titled stories in the papers. a few nice statuses on Facebook. But otherwise, life was pretty much as usual. except for my dad who knew the date well in advance, marked it on his mental calendar, and set about baking a cake, and even cut and served it for all of us on Sunday morning. before he could take the first bite.
And nobody even thought about it as something out of the blue.
Guess that's one thing about my dad. ever since he quit his job in his early 40s (he was going to be transferred to another city, but felt it was more important that he be around while we grew up), he's been half a mom to us too. mom, on the other hand, was the bread winner, working long hours and sleeping weekends, rationing out the allowances while dad nudged her in to giving us a little extra.
Dad is the one who always knew what I like to eat and what I don't, what time I slept each night and when should I be allowed to sleep late, what time my first lecture is on each day of the week, where I'm going, with whom I'm hanging out with, how many bunking warnings I've got from college, everything.
And then dad also did the typical dad stuff, like helping us take apart and "repair" everything from the bicycle to the walkman to the doorbell. handed us down his meccano, brought us lego, encouraged us to drop batteries into concentrated hydrochloric acid to see what happens, nudged us to go fishing for food for our pet tortoise, and one day, gave me a screwdriver and said it's time to check out what's inside our computer.
dad was the one who taught me that "if you pay enough attention to what you take apart, you can always put it back together", "don't ask what, ask why", and who answered every single question, sometimes with answers that weren't textbook, to say the least (remember the batteries and concentrated hydrochloric acid? That was in response to what happens to different metals in acid!)
As I grew up and grew independent, dad has been the first to let go. encouraged me to have my first drink (i didn't need further encouragement :P), go on my bike trips, everything. He sees my credit card statements, phone bills, knows when I've been drinking, and when I've been bluffing. But he's kept silent through it all. his worst reprimand has been "please don't do it again" (and I don't even remember the last time he said that!), and his strongest no has been "go ask mom".
And that's my dad. simple, unassuming, more world wise than my mom, although he prefers to keep silent unless asked. the man who has loved till it hurt, and then more. the man who has trusted (and still keeps trusting) human nature despite the most vile betrayals.
The man who gave up his career for his kids, although he insists he didn't give up anything.
It should be no surprise then, that I want to be exactly like my dad. because despite some of his obvious shortcomings, he is pretty much the best human I have ever known and been loved by.
I just wish he'd believe me if I told him so.