By Pritha Lal
Springville, Utah, USA
In my 39 years, I cannot recall sharing secrets with my dad or telling him all about my day. As a child, I recall him reading stories and then buying books and other beautiful stuff from every country he visited on his trips. During my teenage years, he was the ever protective father figure, who said more with silence than speech. As I left home to pursue studies, his wariness about my well being, security etc. continued, much to my irritation. Boys and boy friends were never a topic of discussion with him.
However, he did pay me my biggest compliment when I introduced him to Neel in person , the day before our wedding his exact words were.. "I am not sure I would have been able to find such a wonderful man for you..."
Never forgot those words. The day I left home formally as a bride amidst a quiet wedding and a looming fear of an upcoming bypass operation on dad in the following 2 weeks, I recall he said.."whatever you do, know we are here, and you will make us proud..." I have been married for 12 years but that moment gets me by the gut each time.
Through all this time, I could never relate to my friends who were their "father's daughter" , confided in their fathers about everything, shared all their stories.. for me it was always mom. There was this wall between my father an I that could be attributed to very different ways of thinking and probably generational nuances and differences.
This year, I got a slightly differently glimpse of my relationship with my dad when he visited us in March for his San Antonio Conference. A dear friend asked me to "talk to" him , really talk, take the time to spend time... and not lose this time I would have with him. I heeded his advice and I am not sure what exactly transpired because there was nothing new we shared, or talked about and yet when he left for India, I missed him in a way I had never done in my life.
It is strange how you sometimes rediscover relationships that you often take for granted or don't give much thought to, just coz they exist. Also it is amazing how the impermanence of one's tangible relationship with one's father and the permanence of a spiritual one with him, bring newer perspectives to life.
I claim no direct knowledge of such a hard experience, but with a couple of my dearest friends losing their father in a physical sense but realizing their presence in a way that pushes them further, is what I am most inspired about on this Father's Day. I have never written a note about my dad.. today I wanted to, and send him my heartfelt gratitude and regards that I have the fortune of being his daughter.
To all of you reading this post, who are in my shoes, or in the shoes of some of my friends who have gone through some tough times with their father's health or other issues, or are brilliant fathers yourself...
Kudos to you... Congratulations....
You make every daughter want to be "daddy's little girl" and every son call you.."my hero..."