It is again Sunday morning andI can enjoy the piece and quiet of the house and most of all- the whole neighborhood, almost enchanted by the magic smell of pure black coffee. Today is Father’s day in many countries (though not in my own). So I wanted to muse over what makes my dad the greatest dad in the world. And it is not just the distance and homesickness talking. And I am not saying this because you are sort of expected and supposed to say it. I believe it from the bottom of my heart.
My parents have a quite interesting story of how they met. It was not so much of how they met, but how quickly they decided to get married. They’d been aware of each other’s existence for only a month (and if they are not lying to me, they decided to get married at their first official date). Though times were such that you were not encouraged to fool around, and were expected to marry your high-school sweetheart, ot the first person you’d meet at uni, even for those standards the decision of my parents was rather sudden. And yes, they are still together some 28 years later. They had me quickly after they were married, and my mother was very young- only 19- almost a child herself. I am telling this story to make a point and to provide an excuse for my mom. I love my mother but I think she was not ready to have a baby and that’s why she did not always knew how to best take care of me. Of course, I know she did the best she could, given the time, circumstances, and her own knowledge and capabilities, but I am very lucky and grateful my father was there to make it up for her let’s say “unreadiness”.
And why is my dad the world’s greatest dad? Because without ever even raising his voice to me, he managed to teach me so much about the world, to educate me about what is right and wrong, to make me believe in myself, to love people and treat them right, to be strong and courageous, to be kind and forgiving, to be passionate — both to find my passions and pursue them… There was some saying or a quote from someone along the lines that good parents give their children roots and wings, roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and excercise what they’ve been taught. It applies fully to my dad.
When I was little, I loved when on a weekend my father would take me to do fun things in the town while my mother was home studying. We would always go to the movies and watch some very child-inappropriate film, he would buy cottong candy for me, take me to the photo studio to have my picture taken (because back in those days we did not have cameras on our phones, digital ones were also not invented yet), take me to a bookstore, or to some bakery (mostly for his own sake when I think about it in retrospect). My father is not an avid reader, yet he managed to teach me the magic of books. He taught me also the importance of being kind and helping those in need. I remember how shocked and sad I was the first time I saw a beggar. I happened to be out with my father, and he tried to explain to me that “No, we cannot invite the lady to live with us but at least we can give her some change.” Next time when I was out with my mother, we saw the same lady but my mom was deaf to her pleas.
My dad is very passionate about cars. He is one of those guys who think of football as a bunch of idiots running after a ball (though I disagree with him). But he was spending long hours in the garage fixing his car, or the car of some relative or friend. I was never tempted in those moments to go and hang out with my mom and bake cookies with her, for example. I just loved watching what my dad did, the patience with which he did it. It always seemed like magic to me. In my child’s eyes, it required so much strength and perseverance. And above all-passion. My father always had very realistic advice for me, did not comfort me that everything will be alright, but instead convinced me that even if everything is not alright, it will not be the end of the world. So, he taught me that it is not important for him what I become in life, as long as what I do makes me happy. He taught me that he would be proud of me as long as I am doing what I am good at and passionate about. His job is difficult (and he has had the same job ever since he started working), but for him, it has always been a passion and a pure pleasure. I think I got from him my meticulousness and attention to detail. And he made me realise that if you are doing something, you have to do it right, give it your all, and there is no other way than that.
He was always in good spirits, and whenever I felt sad about something, even though I did not feel like explaining what exactly, he would always manage to make me feel better. I remember I could not wait for him to come back from work. Even if I was outside playing with other children, and of course we did not have mobile phones in those days, and I did not like wearing a watch, I’d magically know it feels like 5:15, so my dad should be back from work. And I will just quit whatever it was that I was doing, and run home to my dad, just to hear about his day and tell him what happened at school.
He also taught me about how a man should treat a woman. He was always kind to my mother. When sometimes she would overreact, the way only women can, he would patiently admit he was wrong (even though, he absolutely was not), and the next day would come back home with flowers. Or whenever there was some holiday- 8th of March for instance (the International Day of Women, which is a big deal in my part of the world), he’d always come back home carrying a gorgeous boquet of flowers for my mom, something he had to work hard to be able to afford. My mom would not appreciate it, however. I remember her saying “But why the flowers? They are so over-priced, and will die in just a few days. Next time, get me someting longer-lasting.” And from that year on, she had special requests and demands for that, and all other, holidays. So, without him ever talking about it, he showed me how a man should treat a woman. I guess seeing his great example made me have rather high standards and expectations from men, and that’s why most of the guys who over the years liked me, failed to meet them. And when it comes to men, there are just two simple advices my father gave to me. The first was that no matter whom I end up with in life, it is not important what he would do for a living, how old he is or where he is from. One thing and one thing only maters– that he is a good person. And the second thing is (again, irrespective of what he does, what he likes, etc etc.), he should respect me, appreciate me for who I am, and simply–treat me like a princess, and I should not settle for any less. And I know nothing could be more truthful that these two simple lines of advice, and somehow the whole love in the world is stored in them.
So Happy Father’s day to my father– the person who without being overly sophisticated, highly educated, or super confident, taught me more about life and love than I can learn in a lifetime, the person who became my role model, and stayed that way even after I realised my dad is not Superman and his strengths and powers are limited. His love never has had limits, and I am so lucky to have him as my father!!