As I’m writing this letter to you, the only thing that comes to mind is the time when you failed to show up to my piano recital. I was so mad. Every one of my friends made fun of me because I had guaranteed them that you’d be present despite your busy work schedule. After my show (which I aced, btw), I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I threw a tantrum that mom had to deal with (as usual) and told her to take me home. I didn’t even stay for the afterparty that I was excited about. All I cared about was that my daddy broke his promise to me.
Another memory that comes to mind is when you did not care to understand how difficult it was for me to grasp computer science. It might have been your favorite subject, dad, but I hated it, and I wasn’t good at it. But instead of supporting me for my choice, you tried to make me learn the subject even when I had zero interest in it. I expected you to understand my strengths and weaknesses and support me in what I do. But instead you pushed me into something I didn’t really want and that really infuriated me.
But dad, the purpose of this letter is different. I want you to know that I’ve come to realize all the numerous other things you’ve done for me that I haven’t appreciated. Heck, I haven’t even acknowledged them. But dad, I remember all of it, and it’s time to let you know.
I haven’t forgotten when you stayed up all night to take care of me when I was burning up with fever. Or the time you came back from work, exhausted, looking forward to resting but as soon as I said I wanted ice cream, you didn’t hesitate even for a second — you took me out to get it. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face but at the same time I feel a sudden guilt from it. After all, you must have been dead tired and any other person would have directly hit the bed. But not you.
How about that time we trekked to the top of the mountain to watch the sunrise? You willingly took off your jacket to make sure I was warm, even if that meant you had to bear the biting cold. And I thoughtlessly took away your gloves, cap, and muffler because I wasn’t warm enough even after the multiple layers I was wearing and stole from you! You were freezing, and yet, you rubbed your palms together to generate some warmth so you could cover my hands with your large protective papa bear palms!
You’ve taught me life lessons that I’ll cherish forever. You once told me that I shouldn’t waste food because it’s the only thing that a person says that they’ve had enough of — unlike money, riches, and fame. You also taught me the importance of punctuality, hard work, independence, prayer, and dedication. And many of these teachings, though I might not have started following then and there, stayed imprinted in my mind and memories. Over time, without even realizing it, I followed in your footsteps and the things that you had taught me. The younger me wouldn’t have an inkling of the influence you, as my dad, would have on the future me.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know how to drive or change a light bulb. And yet, I haven’t appreciated you for everything you’ve done — for your family and me. Your willingness to do anything for your family is what makes you who you are. It reminds us that you love us, and dad, we cannot ask for anything more.
I guess as children we don’t even realise how self centric we act around everyone. This is more so with our parents who we almost take for granted. All those hard work and sacrifices you made for me, and here I was acting entitled and not even questioning once how much it cost you. But as I know very well, you yourself don’t consider all that a chore and in fact felt happy doing them. But still that doesn’t justify me not appreciating it.
You might feel unappreciated because we don’t tell you how much we need you anymore. We don’t appreciate the things you do, and we probably poke fun at everything you say and do. But dad, I want you to know that it’s only because sometimes we forget everything you’ve done for us — the sacrifices, effort, time, and commitment you’ve shown all your life towards your family.
As I’m coming of age, I can confidently say that all the sacrifices you made, they’re not in vain. I appreciate and value each and every moment we experienced together. The entitlement I harbored for a long time is all but gone today. Though I feel guilty about it, I also understand that the guilt trip would help neither you nor me. Instead, I would like to thank you and show you my appreciation from this day forward.
Today, I’m away from home and all these thoughts are pouring over me. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of adoration and respect for you. Wish I was right next to you now so that we could talk and revisit some of these wonderful memories. But since I can’t, I’m penning this letter to you. I don’t know when exactly it will reach your eyes, or whether it will reach at all! Probably this letter is as much for myself as it is for you. Penning down these thoughts have made me feel it at a deeper level even though the thoughts have been present for some time now.
Dad, we know that our family will always come first for you — we love you for that! And remember that we appreciate you for all that you are, even if we don’t say it!
A Kid Who Finally Understands