This blog is written in memory of my dad, on Father's Day. I'm thinking and loving you dad.
I was his little girl who used to squeal every time i heard his car pull up the driveway everyday he returned from work. He was my daddy whose arms would open wide, to catch me as i ran and jump towards him, and I would give him his '15 minutes of fame'. We played and teased like two monkeys, and I so wished those moments would last forever. I didn't have a doubt, love ruled our home, it was to me the most beautiful thing. If there were problems, i had no clue. I was either too naïve and too happy. What a wonderful bubble. Little did i know, that was what it would turn out to be...something fragile, like a balloon that could 'burst' right in your face, and leave you shocked, if not broken. I didn't see it coming, the 'bombshell' that would hit our home so hard. It would change the landscape of our lives forever.
Mom and dad were the picture of the perfect couple. I remember the many evenings in our family room, watching them dance to their favorite romantic tune, playing on the stereo. I don't recall any fights between them. I knew their hands were full, managing a big home with seven mischiefs. But, mom was the perfectionist, impeccable homemaker, the original 'Martha Stewart'. She was sargent of arms, disciplinarian, 'superwoman', who ran our home like a well paid CEO/CFO. A respectable and elegant woman, a talented pianist, she was admired in the community. She was a real gem. She didn't deserve to be betrayed, and to be hurt by the one and only man she loved and completely trusted. But, it happened, to our tragedy. Dad's indiscretion, and the extent of it would be so devastating, the damage of his action much too deep.
Dad was the handsomest, debonaire, smart, articulate, and the most generous. He left nothing unturned when it came to pampering us, with life's fineries. Notably successful, influential, he had many friends, from various parts of the world. I met many of them on social occasions, with dinner parties at our home. A church pillar as well, many times he stood in podiums and gave impressive speeches, i was in awe. But, i especially adored him when it was just him singing and i playing the piano in our living room. A man of books, we shared a love for literature and writing. His library was my favorite room, and his big armchair was my refuge. I knew dad wasn't perfect. I used to get upset with him for being too busy, and for not being around enough. He worked hard and traveled a lot. I didn't like it either, when he would lose his temper, and take it out on my brothers. It would be hard for them to forgive, and even forget.
The brilliant businessman who took pride in his remarkable achievements; the man who built an enterprise from ground up, and became a business celebrity; the husband and father who gave his family the 'charmed life' had fallen hard from grace. It felt like heaven shut every favor on the face of a son that had committed murder. Why dad, who had it so good, could compromise himself, and anger God. It seemed that way. The high and mighty, my hero, the orator who could deliver the most convincing message on integrity and success, wow a crowd, was damned and scorned. He would become 'persona non grata' in his own home. He became jinx, 'bad luck', cursed, hated, and unwanted. Bitterness and gloom would hover over our broken lives for a long long time.
The Prodigal Dad
It would take almost eternity for our family to pick up the pieces, and move on. Sadly, we still find ourselves struggling, even with the new generation, the hurts show up. Dad became an outcast, treated like the plague, untouchable, almost reduced to a 'nobody'. It was very painful to watch him, whenever the family gathered. He was hardly welcomed, just tolerated. My heart went out to him, and i tried to remain a loving and respectful child. I understood the coldness and the lingering anger, only an act of God could change.
A tragic figure, still i felt i owe my father much. He had invested in my life, when i hardly had anything to invest in his. I see who i am, and i know dad is in me in so many ways. He didn't hate us, nor did he intend to be cruel. He was weak, and gave in to temptations, common to flawed men. I have too many beautiful memories of him, much more that outweighs all his sins. I will hold and cherish everything that my dad did for me, and made me to be. I value those times when he used to pick me up from school and drive me to the town's best pastry shop. There he would let me go crazy pointing to my favorite bread and desserts to bring home. It was also a place where we met and teased with his business buddies. I knew he was proud of me. Then, there was the grocery store where he let me buy comic books i enjoyed. I was his little princess, who felt loved and valued, and he was my knight dad. I grew up, and dad grew old, and he remained my closest ally. Years went by, and time did heal. He went to his grave at peace. Mom forgave him before he passed on. I know she forgave him, even belfore that.
I have one dad. To me, he is the greatest dad.
How true Daddy's words were when he said: "All children must look after their own upbringing." Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands- Anne Frank