Here’s to you, dad!

Mother’s Day was a month ago. In commemoration, I wrote a post about my mom! When my family celebrated, I showed my mom the post. My dad reacted:

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Well, dad, here you go!

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My dad isn’t really a sentimental person. He’s not one for huge, dramatic emotional displays or sweeping acts of grandeur. Instead, he’s very down-to-earth.

Yes, my dad is a practical guy. He’s not like those dads who pamper their daughters. My sister and I aren’t about to receive a pink convertible on our birthdays, or that $4,000 Gucci purse, or that super-cute necklace from Tiffany’s.

And I prefer it that way. After all, what kind of person would I be if I was spoiled like that? No, with my dad, it’s the little things that count. He has his own little ways of showing his love to my sister and I– not in material gifts, but in what he does. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate those things more and more.

And what are those things?

Well, the list could go on to infinity. For brevity’s sake, I’m just going to list a few.

1. He feeds us.

Ok, I know it sounds silly. But now that I’m cooking for myself, I’ve realized what a pain cooking can be! My dad is the main chef of my family, and he’ll often put in the extra time to cook our favorites or grill that steak to perfection.

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2. He trained us in sports.

My dad, an avid tennis fan, taught me and my sister tennis in elementary school.

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Unfortunately for him, I didn’t always want to learn.

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I disliked tennis all the way into high school, which was when I joined the tennis team. Tennis was definitely one of the defining experiences of my high school years– I made friends, later made varsity, and even ended up joining the boy’s team for a season. If my dad hadn’t taught me tennis, I would have missed out on all of those experiences!

3. He takes us places.

I remember one of my high school friends saying,

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…to which I reacted,

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My parents love to travel, and my dad usually takes the helm for planning family trips. Before I even hit middle school my dad was taking us on hikes at places like Yosemite, the Smoky Mountains, and Mount Tremblant. Acadia National Park in Maine is still one of my all-time favorite places.

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Although my dad is a pretty careful planner, he isn’t afraid of a little spontaneity.

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It’s thanks to these trips, and my dad, that my sister and I now have a healthy sense of adventure!

4. He gives us words of wisdom.

Lots of dads like to quote stale platitudes and old idioms to inspire their kids. Not my dad. He makes up his own!

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Though sometimes, his self-made words of wisdom don’t make sense.

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Well, you have to give him credit for originality!

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5. He drives us.

My sister and I did lots of sports and activities in grade school, forcing my dad to drive us everywhere.

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6. …so he taught us how to drive.

To get out of driving duty, he taught both of us how to drive himself. This turned out to be a more arduous task than he probably initially expected.

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So I failed my driver’s test once. Whatever. It was because of the parallel parking part anyway! At least I have my license now– thanks to my dad’s lessons!

7. He tutored us.

My parents grew up in Vietnam, where the academic competition is fierce. As a result, they’ve always wanted us to be at the top of our class. Before kindergarten, I remember my dad teaching me long division and multiplication.

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As a result, I did end up having an edge over the other kids in my first years of elementary school. (Math remains my worst subject, though!) My dad still did his best to help as we reached higher grades– though by the time I hit Calculus 2, this became a bit trickier.

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My dad’s an engineer, so he’s studied way further into mathematics than I have. Still, when you’re faced with integrals and derivatives for the first time in 20 years, there’s bound to be some memory lag. But he always does his best to help us, then and now!

8. He pushes us to success.

My dad has an arguably crazier past than my mom. He grew in a farming village in Central Vietnam, where his family grew rice. He often tells us about building houses from mud and bamboo, or picking leeches off his legs after tending the fields, or how he never ate phแปŸ (the famous Vietnamese beef broth soup) until he reached the US. When he finally escaped from the war (as one of the boat people of Vietnam, no less) he lived in a refugee camp in Indonesia for a year before finally securing passage to America. He arrived in the USA– as he famously likes to tell us– with nothing but a garbage bag of clothes and 50 bucks in his pocket.

My dad, like my mom, had to work his way up to success. I remember when I was in elementary school, my teacher assigned us a list of questions to ask our parents. One of them was

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to which my dad answered promptly,

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And so, growing up, my sister and I have always been urged to work our way to success as well. Which is why I credit my dad with my hearty work ethic today.

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My dad pushes us, sure, but he would also do anything for our success. Thanks to his support, I was able to do tennis and National Honor Society and vocal ensemble and track and all the other activities I did back then. Because of him, I’m able to go to college without being strapped with debt. My father was not only able to survive the tough times, but also prevent the tough times from happening to his kids.

Yeah, I’m very lucky that my dad is… well, my dad!

So dad, here’s one for you as well! My sister and I know that you’re always looking out for our best interests. You’ve dealt with our girl drama for so many years, and for that, we can’t thank you enough. So, on this Father’s Day, it’s only apt for us to say:

You’re the best father we’ve ever had!

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You know what we mean.

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