Comment on this
on Father's Day
By Kaila Chan
As Father's Day nears, I think about my father and
remember the thoughts I've had since I was a little girl.
Why do we have this holiday called "Father's
Day?" Why did I have to draw pictures and make cards
and crafts for a man I hardly knew?
My father was an old fashioned man from a small village
in China. He was raised in the old Chinese tradition that
the man was the head of the household, and the wife's job
was to take care of the home and children. Unfortunately,
my mother died when I was only seven years old, leaving
my old fashioned father alone to raise my younger brother
and me. Forty-plus years later, I can sympathize with
what my father must have gone through, trying to be both
mother and father when he didn't have the faintest clue
how to be either!
My father was so detached as a parent that I remember he
never called me by my name; rather, he would refer to me
as "girl." He did this not only verbally, but
when he wrote me notes. This was not discrimination on my
father's part. He referred to my brother as
"boy." Until the day he passed away, he
struggled to show any kind of emotion or love toward my
brother and me. I don't remember any hugs or kisses from
my father. I feel deep sadness in my heart for all that
my father missed out on. I suspect he could have changed
his ways, but he really didn't know how. I remember
thinking, "I would never want to be a father."
Then I look at my husband. He, too, was raised in a
broken home. His father was a strict disciplinarian, who
also had a hard time showing love. But somehow, my
husband broke the mold -- he learned how to love and how
to show love.
When my husband and I married, I had two children from my
first marriage. Like my father, my first husband decided
it was easier to remove himself from the family unit. I
worried about my children. I knew what it was like
growing up with a single parent, and I was very aware of
how difficult it was be to be both Mom and Dad to my
My husband willingly took my children into his heart. He
took the time and effort to show my children what a real
father was like. He showed a true interest in them. He
was elated with their accomplishments, often puffing up
his chest with pride.
He sympathized and encouraged them through their
failures. He spent time with my children, teaching my son
how to raise a thriving vegetable garden and my daughter
how to take care of her car. As I watch my husband
interact with my children, it is as if they are his own
flesh and blood. Even though my husband has three
children of his own from a former marriage, all five
children are treated the same. We are truly a complete
family, and I owe it all to my husband.
So you see, Fathers Day is a day of conflict for
me. My heart aches for the father I never had, and it
sings for the father my children now have. As I write
these words, Ive come to accept the fact that
although my father was more or less a shadow that walked
through our family home, I can love him and treasure him.
But I think I will keep my father in the past. Right now,
Ill share with my children the joy they have with
the man I call my husband.