Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I must admit, I didn’t get anything for my Dad. I live in Oregon, he lives in Hawaii. He misses me terribly and I try to do my best to call him a few times a week and despite his ongoing arthritis, he still manages to mail me handwritten letters. I feel like a failure at times not to keep in touch as often as I should
have done. I called him to see how he was doing, Given the three hour time difference, he was having lunch while I was finishing up my shift working remotely from home. He began to describe to me what he was having for lunch: kalua pig, sweet potato, fresh pineapple, sari sari (Filipino soup) and veggies and char siu. My mouth watered after pineapple if I’m being truthful. I was born a foodie and miss all the foods so much more readily available there in Hawaii that I can’t find here in rural Oregon.
However, conversation was pulled into other topics like weather, health, how everyone else’s health is and of course, I shared with him my new job opportunity. He was happy to hear I was getting into something new but always the main thing he told me was he just wanted to be happy.
Most parents want their kids to be happy and successful, whatever that means. My Dad knows I have a loving husband, the security of home and full time employment and that my health is good. I think that’s the basic, fundamental core essentials that most parents want for their kids.
Both my parents view happiness differently given their opposite personalities. I blogged here last month about my Mom. She adored the article and even left positive comments. As for my Dad, I don’t think he’ll even get a chance to read this article or write comments because he has never used a computer.
Yes, let me repeat myself: My Dad has never used a computer.
I created an e-mail address for him; my older brother and I have TRIED to show him how to use it. He said he doesn’t want to think that hard about writing. If he is going to write to me, he will hand-write letters and mail it out to me via snail mail. He has no concept of e-mail. It blows his mind every time I try to explain it.
I am just glad he knows how to use the ATM, OK? I give him “A” for effort.
Despite my Dad’s disinterest in computers, he is like a typical man: he loves the remote control and t.v. He enjoys watching the news every night and of course, his favorite Korean drama shows. Hawaii residents seem to have an addiction to those shows. One night while visiting my family a few years ago, I asked him what the big hub-bub was about these shows. He explained they weren’t the typical “Hollywood” shows with fast cars, wild women, steamy sex and bad language. They had a plot.
Now I “gently” argued with him that not all Hollywood shows were in that general category he talked about; yes, a lot of them were like that but not all. Many were award-winning movies and films. But he encouraged me to watch one of the shows with him, a historical drama about court intrigue such as the one titled “Empress Ki” in which a young woman is sent to the Yuan Empire in China (one founded by Genghis Khan) and eventually becomes Empress.
Damn. I ended up watching the entire episode and wrote down the schedule of WHEN it would be on; then of course, I told my Dad I could probably buy the entire DVD set once it becomes available for purchase on Amazon. He looked at me as if I spoke a Biblical verse in fluent Hawaiian. “You mean, you can buy that kind of stuff on there, Babe?”
I had to laugh. My father is from a generation that isn’t always up to speed in the latest of what is available online. OK, he has never BOUGHT or ORDERED anything online. But I told him I will keep an eye out and make sure when it is available, I will get him the entire set.
But that means I’ll need to get him a DVD player. That means I’ll have to teach him how to use it.
That immediately got tossed out of my memory window. My Dad would be happy just going out for a half-day with him walking around downtown Chinatown in Honolulu, eating Chinese food and bringing home fresh vegetables and fruits from the market stands.
He is a simple man with simple tastes. In his days of leisure now because he is retired, he is content to just be with his family, go to church, walk downtown to exercise his arthritic legs and once in a while, savor a roast duck with hot rice.
I find the older I get, the more I am after relishing simple pleasures like that and isn’t that what life really is about? Spending time with the ones you love and if you live at a distance, keep in touch with him as often as possible.
I told you that my Dad doesn’t use the computer, so he has never learned to type. He recently sent me a hand-written letter thanking me for sending him a letter (of about 5 pages) which he received the day after Father’s Day.
I didn’t want to tell him I couldn’t afford to send him a Father’s Day gift this year; money was tight and honestly, I hadn’t planned anything for Father’s Day. I felt like a rotten, unappreciative daughter. So I decided if I wrote to him to let him know what’s going in my life lately, I think he would be okay with that.
When I got his letter the other day, he wrote his usual greetings about remembering the good Lord and all He does, remember how much he (my Dad) loves and misses me very much. Then he went on to say that he was so overjoyed at getting my letter that it was the best Father’s Day gift he could have this year short of my actual flying back to Hawaii to be with him.
The little girl in me started to cry, I felt a knot in my stomach and my eyes started watering just like they are now thinking about it. He asks for so little. A 5-page letter meant more to him than any Father’s Day gift I could have planned to have sent him. OK, maybe the roast duck would give me heavy competition.
I didn’t realize until that moment how much my Dad thought of me, How much he REALLY loved me. It’s just paper and words but to him, my words were gold. My letting him know I was doing fine (short of my bitching about my current job frustrations) were dear to him because his “baby girl” was living, thriving, loved and cherished and well taken care of by a wonderful husband.
What more could a father want more for his only daughter?
Saying “I love you, Dad” will probably never be enough even if I were to write it in this article. But my heart is full knowing that I have the best father in the world. He always worked so hard to provide for us. I was never without and I always had his love.
We may have had our differences, very few and far in between. So with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and contentment that I will always be his “baby girl” no matter if I’m 51 or 101.
Belated Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Even if you never read this blog, I want everyone else who gets to read this article know that I will love you forever. Oh and one more thing:
Save me some roast duck and dim sum next time I fly back to Honolulu, OK? Love ya lots!