Growing up with a father like mine was good, bad, adventurous, chill, and all sorts of things in one. As a child, I thought my father lit up the night sky and pulled the sun out of its slumber every morning. As a teenager, I loved him but resented his work. In my early 20’s, all I wanted was his approval and respect. Now, I adore him and appreciate who he is, where he’s been and most of all, the relationship we have.
I honor him not because he is my Daddy, but because of the man he is. The man I grew up with. The man I respect. The man who mentors me.
When I was very little, my dad always had money for the many persons who reached out to him for help. Even when we ourselves were stuck with tin mackerel for dinner, he somehow was able to always help others make ends meet.
I recall one night that he had a homeless man come to the house to bathe and get some new clothes. It wasn’t the only time it happened, but I remembered wondering why does he always do this. More importantly, why couldn’t he let them use the outside bathroom, why let them use ours? When I was a little older, he told me the man was the same as us, he just had a different struggle.
His kindness and care for others was never a matter of pity though, it was just a part of community, a genuine caring for others. It was not always the grand gesture of helping to pay university fees, but it was also in things like buying a breadfruit or a pear (avocado) for his friend just because. Why? Because that is who he is.
The struggle of being my father’s child is shared by the children of any passionate person. When you grow up with someone who is excited to go to work, who can’t wait to pursue their vision, it’s hard to settle for anything less. It is difficult to imagine a life more ordinary, because you have seen and experienced a life less ordinary. There is no return from that.
I appreciate you, my wonderful blessing of a father. I honour the love, the joy, the peace, the passion, the amazing, the principled man you are, because you have taught me about the person I only can hope to be.
(Originally written December 14, 2013)