I know just how much you love greeting cards, but this year, I wanted to do something different for Father’s Day. I hope the following doesn’t embarrass you too much!
2018 is your 20th year celebrating this holiday from a dad’s perspective. Since Mom and I moved from India way back in 1999, you’ve worked tirelessly to provide for me and to give me a good life, often at the expense of your own. You left behind your home, friends and way of life to move across the world on the promise of the American dream. I didn’t understand the importance of this decision until we visited India again in 2013 and I was shocked by the widespread poverty that surrounded us everywhere from your hometown of Vadodara in Gujarat to the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. It then suddenly hit me that you moved to America because you wanted to me to have the access to opportunities that just didn’t exist back home.
Although this choice of yours laid down the foundation for my entire life, the amount of care you have shown me after the fact exceeds anything I could otherwise consider possible. I know how much you love your career, but it takes a special kind of motivation and work ethic to have worked 12-hour days nonstop for 20 years in order to provide for your family. The extreme diligence with which you work reflects deeply in just how much of a personal toll you’re willing to endure just so Mom, Keeva and I don’t ever have to worry about our financial security.
Don’t get me wrong, Dad — your love for me only begins with your financial support. Outside of work, you have always made it a point to ensure my success, my growth and, most importantly, my happiness. From things as simple as buying me a new toy every day after school in kindergarten while you struggled to keep the lights on, to putting all your work aside to come to visit me in Berkeley when I hit my lowest point last September, your actions embody what an exemplary father ought to be.
Our dynamic has changed considerably since last Father’s Day. I still remember how relieved I felt when I properly opened up to you about my mental health problems last fall and you fully supported me, taking initiative to make me feel comfortable in my own skin. This summer, I have seen how much you, Mom and Keeva value me and enjoy my presence in your lives. I know it can be difficult to visit me during the school year even though I live just an hour away, but the time I do get to spend with you holds the utmost value to me.
I know you must be tired of bugging me to do chores and to plan out my days, but know that although I outwardly groan at your reminders every time, I truly do appreciate your persistence. In the past year, you’ve pushed me to be a better human being above all, and there’s nothing I cherish more than our relationship. You can play the traditional father role when necessary, but I’m glad to call you my best friend.
Here’s to many more decades of Father’s Days to come; thank you for being the absolute best dad Keeva and I could ask for.