Also known as the “underrated” parent. Commonly referred to as the breadwinner for the family, that guy in the suit and tie, the workaholic. Raising their sons on sports and cars, raising their daughters on tenderness and buying them cars for their Sweet Sixteens.
Granted, those aspects are traditional ones, and still remain solidly rooted in our world, particularly Western society’s, today. Little has changed. However, I read in Spiegel, one of Germany’s news magazines, not too long ago on the prospective rise of stay-at-home dads in Germany, particularly those who work in firms. According to the subheading of the article, “Men are demanding more flexible working conditions in order to balance work and family burdens, forcing big changes in corporate culture.” You can find the link to the article here: Corporate Wake-Up Call: German Dads Demand Family Time
Anyway, I found that article interesting to read. But for this post, I would like to talk about (and I suppose commemorate) the relationship with my own father, who has raised me all of these years.
Frankly, we argue. A lot. Over trivial things, too. I have a short temper (which funny enough, I probably got from him), and I’m quick to criticize him whenever he says or does something that I don’t particularly agree with. He has his quirks, like having a poor memory of events that happened not too long ago (even as recent as five minutes ago), but vividly remembering things that took place six or seven years ago. He forgets where he parks the car in the parking lot, and asks me and my sister where it is (as if he expects us to be accountable). He eats too fast, he slurps his food (even rice! How the heck do you slurp rice? My mind is blown), and he leaves dirty dishes unattended for hours before he finally does wash them (and he had offered to do so!). He’s incredibly nosy, and asks question after question on everything, from grades to deadlines to financial payments for my university. Every single week, and always the same questions. I keep telling him that he can find all that he needs on the university website. I find it so strange that, although he works on the computer and spends a large part of his waking hours on there, he has no clue how to get to certain websites and access their features. He’s like a mule, and I have to prod him in the right direction.
Yeah, see? I have so much to say about my dad, and none too positive. And I admit, I need to cut him some slack. Although he drives me nuts with his annoying behavior, he is a smart man. Like, borderline-genius smart. He is a whizz at math, and received his PhD in Electrical Engineering. He is manager of an electricity company in the nearby area and does a lot of business with officials. To the professionals, he is an awesome guy. I admire him for that, but it is his interpersonal skills, especially with non-professionals, which need a bit of work on.
My dad has had a fairly rich, cultured life. He was born in Taiwan, but moved to Brazil when he was a teenager. He lived there up until he graduated from undergrad there, speaking Portuguese and playing soccer with his friends. I get the sense that he was sort of a “mama’s boy;” I think his mother (my grandmother) kind of smothered him as a kid. But aside from that, he has a life story worth telling.
I remember as a kid that my dad was supportive of me, in studies and generally life. He would take the day off on Fridays to drive me and my sister to school (the other days would be my mom, dropping us off at the daycare before heading off to work). Sometimes, I would forget my lunch, and he would bring it to me while I was at school. I would sit on his knee sometimes and he would bounce me on it, pretending that I was riding a horse and all. We would “paint” our faces, capturing masks in red, purple, green, etc.
Things changed. It started as a teenager, when I no longer saw my dad as a caretaker, but as just another person in my life. I became independent: I could drive myself places, use the computer by myself, and basically wipe my own ass. As I’ve mentioned, I grew short-tempered when he was slow to understand things, or even refused to understand things. We were getting older, both of us, and we couldn’t go back in time to the younger, “naive” days.
However, my outlook on him changed a bit just this past month, when he was hospitalized for abnormally high blood pressure. He stayed there for two days, then was discharged with orders from the doctor to take some medication and make some health changes to his lifestyle. In that moment, I was worried for him. I put aside my anger and contempt, and humbled myself. He’s fine now, but he has to be careful with himself.
Anyway, this post is for my dad, and for all of his wisdom and care for me and the family all of these years. Happy Father’s Day.
– The Finicky Cynic
P.S. This is a copy of the post that I had written for Father’s Day last year. I hope that it remains relevant to you, as well as to myself, on this day of celebration.
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