In the past 30 years, I’ve racked up a few Father’s Day bills to show my dad just how much he means to me.
Electric razors, concert tickets, clothes, dinners, macaroni cut out cards. You name it and he’s likely received it. What I haven’t done is thank him in detail for all the sacrifices he’s made to give me a decent upbringing and a promising life in one of the safest countries in the world.
You see, my father was born and raised in Vietnam. He came from a very wealthy family which saw eight children with their own drivers to and from school every single day. But when the war broke out, everything went to shit. The communist government seized my grandfather’s assets and threatened the family’s safety, so my father had to flee the country like many others did in the 70’s. He fled with his younger brother and mother, who had just suffered a stroke that left the left side of her body completely paralyzed. Together, they jumped on a boat and took off to Indonesia witnessing multiple deaths, illnesses and extreme hunger on the way.
There’s A LOT more to this story but for the sake of your time, this is the backstory you need to know in order to understand why myself and so many other first generation Canadian’s with similar stories out there hustle as hard as we do to create a legacy that is worthy of our parents’ struggles.
On this Father’s Day, I’d like to thank every immigrant father out there including my own by saying THANK YOU …
- For your courage and strength as a human
- For taking menial jobs when you arrived to a new country (not knowing any one or the national language) just to make ends meet
- For working multiple jobs
- For making time to be present with/for your family no matter how tough life got/continues to get
- For every dinner you made and continue to make when the only thing you want to do is pour yourself a bowl of cereal and get to bed an hour earlier than usual
- For spending your hard earned money on your kids even when you’re favourite pair of underwear continues to rip in the most unsightly of places
- For being there with pads when your daughter gets her first period
- For the short weekend trips to new parks that show your kids just how fun life can be without spending a dime
- For all those times you said “No” because your kids were brats and thought fitting in meant getting tattoos at the age of 13
- For the hour drives you take to visit your kids with toilet paper and paper towels in hand
- For the times you stock up at Costco just in case your kids run low on tooth paste and need a pack of eight to get them through the summer
- For the times you let your daughters cry on your shoulder after a break up and the post pizza dinners you plan to get them through it
- For welcoming your kids’ friends into your home and family by feeding them, talking to them, and making them your own Facebook friends
- For showing us how to laugh through our struggles
- For showing us how adults can be sensitive and vulnerable too
- For teaching us what unconditional love is with the help of Celine Dion records on repeat
- And for simply being you
There aren’t enough thank you’s to give our immigrant parents who have seen, felt, and heard some of the most unimaginable things. I hope that this is a start.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the selfless and loving fathers on planet earth!
B. Tru xx