You have always been the head of the house, strong willed, strong minded and strong in your love for us. You have also been scary at times, with your demands, your expectations and your reprimands for not following your rules, for not turning out exactly as you had hoped.
But indeed, you have scared me most each time you have almost died; each time you have almost left us because your heart took another beating.
I remember your first cardiac event. I was barely 19. Right before you were about to have cardiac bypass surgery, you asked me to be the strong one, to take care of the family if something were to happen to you.
And I kept my promise. I worked hard. I took responsibility. I watched out for my family. I became a physician. I did my best at everything I tried.
I realized many years later though, that all my trying was another way to keep you alive. If I kept you happy, you would stay.
The truth did not become clear until a few years ago when I realized that nothing I could do or anyone else could do would ever truly make you happy the way you could make yourself happy. If I lived my life living your dreams to make you happy, I would not be living mine; that I would have to try and live mine at the expense of hurting you, of making you unhappy.
It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t my responsibility to make you happy, but it was my responsibility to follow my dreams, dreams that also include seeing you happy.
So I am writing to you now these words in the hopes that other fathers will hear my words along with you, as I am sure many daughters and sons feel the same way:
I know you love me.
Please know that I love you and cherish you.
You are not responsible for my happiness and I am not responsible for yours.
You are the strongest person I know and I admire your passion, strength and determination, and it is for this reason, that I am not worried about you anymore.
Please know that these very values and virtues that you possess have been instilled in me and you don’t need to worry about me either.
I also value myself. You have turned me into a strong, compassionate, articulate, while gentle warrior. Be proud of that.
I honor my body, my heart, my life and fuel myself and my life with foods, nature, circumstances and people that serve me to be at my best.
Please value yourself too because I do.
See, rather than worry about each other, we can believe in one another to thrive and be at our best, to love deeply, to live fully, to hug completely and be responsible for our own joy and happiness.
You did good dad.
So put a smile on your face because I am showing you off to the world.
I love you to the moon and back.
Photo: Flickr/ Bart