This is one story of an incredible man who I have admired ever since I was a young girl!
“I’m finished!” Dad exclaimed as he completed the final touches of the sand castle. The seagulls in the brilliant blue skies flew above us as mom threw bread pieces in the air.
I looked up after admiring some seashells in the sand by my feet. I gasped at dad’s sculpted masterpiece. He didn’t use any sand buckets or shovels. He created several large sculptures shaped by his hands utilizing a drip technique mixing sand and water. Always an engineer even when he’s on vacation! He is always passionate about building things. I remembered browsing through his box of college textbooks, and seeing his thoughts written in the margins of the pages.
Dad came from a rural area of Vietnam and had humble beginnings. Adventurous and full of mischief, he loved telling jokes as a kid and still does today. Although, he came from an impoverished neighborhood, he didn’t let it stop him from dreaming amazing big dreams and plans to make everyone in his life as happy as they can be. He pursued a different path than his brothers and sisters who were monks, fishermen, and painters, yet he gleaned from the lessons learned from his siblings. Intense, hardworking, and a determined go-getter, he took quite a few risks to reach some meaningful goals in life.
Walking away from battles that don’t matter is not weak; that takes a strong person. That’s a mark of honor. Fall seven times, stand up eight.– Japanese Proverb
He was a strong soldier, but he didn’t want hurt anyone if there was no reason for it. Deep down, Dad is a gentle soul who doesn’t like confrontation, and yet I’ll never forget the day when he went to a peaceful protest to show his support for Vietnam’s fight for independence from the communist grip. Dad’s quiet presence was in solidarity with the activists. He showed me to fight for what is important.
When I encounter the world around me and see much suffering, I realize that he has given me so much and how blessed I am. Growing up, I felt liked I lived a life of royalty. Dad treated me and my sister like princesses, my brothers as princes, his wife, a queen. I will always say I had idyllic childhood and he played an instrumental part in that!
I remembered when dad would faithfully drop us off at the library every Saturday to explore the wisdom of others for the day. It was my safe haven and my second home.
His worst nightmare is when he sees me in pain. He comforted me when I had my own nightmares. He taught me there’s harm in hanging on to things that have hurt you.
Dad, you are so generous and forgiving. You bring joy to your friends’ lives by helping them laugh and see a different point of view. You’ve instilled a love of music for us by giving us a karaoke set so we can sing the night away and giving us a piano as a way to express our emotions and feelings.
I hope you know how much I love you. You’ve given me your very best, and I never want to let you down. I know you would never share any of this as you are such a humble man, but I want you to know how extraordinary you are.