I WISH I COULD’VE SEEN MY DAD AS A GRANDPA

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Yesterday was Father’s Day and it was a scorcher!  It felt like 35C at one point.  We ventured out to Canada’s Wonderland, shopped a bit at Vaughan Mills, and headed home for some rest and pizza.  Afterwards, we took the girls out to Unionville Main Street for some gelato.  My husband seemed to enjoy the day and loved the cards and gifts we got him.

It’s special occasions like these that make me wonder how my dad would’ve been as a father-in-law and grandfather.  I lost my dad to cancer in 2002.  He’s always been over-protective of me (the boys always thought I had a big brother answer the phone) and so growing up, I barely went out and if I did, the curfew was embarrassingly early.  I have a feeling though that he would’ve liked Hip Teacher Dada.  Not only because HTD isn’t the type of bad boy I was drawn to in high school, but because he’s into the simple things: sports, food, tv, shopping, beer (LOL)…my dad was super handy so I’m sure he would’ve wanted to take HTD under his wing and guide him on how to do home improvements.  I learned a bit as a child just holding the flashlight or handing him a screwdriver (that’s probably where I get my weird ideas to just “Macgyver” something when I need to).  Imagine all the brilliant tidbits he could’ve passed on to me as an adult?

As for the girls, well, who could resist those little princesses?  My dad would’ve adored Big H because she is just mature beyond her years.  She is smart, loves to read, and can carry on a conversation with adults.  I could see him wanting to teach her how to ride a bike or take her to the playground to shoot hoops.  He would’ve loved Middle A because she is sweet and quiet.  She likes to read and draw and have her own quiet time which is what my dad enjoyed whenever he read.  Baby C would’ve charmed her way into his heart with her big smile, happiest giggles, and the pitter-patter of her chubby feet.  It would’ve been wonderful for them to have met him.

I also reflect on friends who have lost their fathers too.  Some were very close to their dads and I can only imagine how hard holidays are for them.  I remember that during the first few years after my dad passed, I couldn’t read “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch to my Grade 2 classes without choking up and tearing.  The Father’s Day after he passed, I actually cried in front of my students.  I had to stop, regroup, and explain why the book affected me so.  I wasn’t embarrassed to cry in front of the kids.  They were patient, empathetic, and just looked at me wide-eyed.  I just accepted that it had hit home.  It hit hard.

The funny thing was, as I grew older, my father and I drifted more and more apart.  Perhaps like a traditional Chinese father, he didn’t know how to bond with his only child, a girl.  When I was in elementary school and my mom worked at the bank on Saturdays, my dad took me to Chinese school and then McDonald’s.  We’d go to the library or skating.  We had our routine.  We’d watch tv together and talk about cars and life.  As high school approached, we drifted further apart and never quite had the same relationship.  We’d chat a bit when he prepared dinner, but mostly we just watched movies together.  He put a lot of pressure on me for school (you know when the A wasn’t good enough…”Where’s the A+?”) and didn’t want to give me the $5 a week allowance that my mom had agreed to.  I worked several jobs throughout high school and university (at one point, I worked four jobs at the same time) to pay for my own tuition.  I was a good kid so I didn’t know how else to appease him.  My dad was very strict and I felt like all I did was go to school and work.  When I look back,  I try to focus on the good rather than the bad, but some days, it’s hard not to remember both (and that’s when I curse my good memory).

I think it gets easier though, but with every holiday or special occasion, there is always the “Oh, my dad would’ve liked that” or “My dad would’ve done this.”  I hope you had a good Father’s Day with your family and loved ones.  For my dear friends, who have lost someone, I know how it is.  I was thinking about you too.

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