My Dad and I had our ups and downs. Well, to tell the truth, we had the emotional challenges in our relationship which was more akin to an earthquake and a volcano than a yo-yo. It was a family ‘secret’ that was unsurprisingly known to all who knew my family about the turmoil and losses we suffered during a time when war was upon us in a far off land. This article is for those of you who have been at odds with their fathers. Please take a second look and see what you have been missing. Be honest with yourself.
Dad When I Was A Little Girl
I feared my father, but at the same time, I admired him. This was a man I still admire for his incredible courage to build the impossible dream of an immigrant from China in a foreign and often hostile land. We lived in a hotel he owned. He had servants, a Land Rover, thoroughbred race horses and the manner of business which I still do not really understand. But he built tremendous wealth which today would worth many millions of dollars.
Call me a poor little rich girl. I was sent to the best girls’ school then and was, well, as far as I can remember, a relative little princess. I wanted to be like him but there was so much turmoil in our lives. It got really so bad when we were all imprisoned and our possessions all taken away by corrupt people in the name of war emergencies. Later on, as we were released, some of us siblings got together to build ourselves an income.
Dad came to us and I realised this was not the man I had come to admire. This was when my father became a man I loathed. Yes, he was a broken and frightened man. Frightened people do things the successful need not. I won’t go into it, but it was clear that no one respected him this time. This was a man struggling with the shock of loss and fear.
Understanding Dad’s Life
Dad’s life was one of emotional challenges at least that’s what I remember. I’m at his age now when I was a little girl and perhaps I can understand him better. In fact, as I tried to understand my relationship with him, I am actually once again feeling the admiration I had lost. Here’s why.
In those far off days such a long time ago, an man demonstrating emotional closeness to his children would have been known as a softie and not worthy of big business. He could not or would not hug me or even show me approval. If I was in a school concert, his showing up simply meant he loved me. But we never spoke in public. That was mother’s job.
It was a difficult time, full of people who would rob you. His was a life of being on guard and using a gun when he needed to. In protecting his assets, he protected us by putting us in his domain which was the hotel I mentioned. We always had proper meals and regular times, with servants minding our needs. Clothes and looking fine was normal for us. So, we lived in luxury compared to the masses who often went hungry and wore hand me downs.
Our family was large with many mouths to feed. Add that to the servants and the payoffs of the local politicians, Dad was indeed making a tremendous income in such hostile circumstances. Knowing these facts, I am in more admiration about my Dad than ever before. You see, trying to match his accomplishments even today is no easy task. We live in relative peace and plenty, yet often find it hard to even stay above the debts we incur.
Admire Dad’s Courage
Then war came and took us all away from what we all knew and that became our new journey.
Yes, Dad, I do admire you. There is great love deep in here somewhere because I feel it. The emotional challenges we had are really a little girl not understanding her father’s challenges. Everyone blamed you for failing us, therefore I followed the crowd. But I hold no malice – not anymore. In its place, I offer my admiration instead.
Dad showed me what living as a wealthy multi-millionaire was like. That was something I have not forgotten and I want that again. In fact I only have to think about that life back then as a little girl and being so wealthy is so familiar I live in it.
Dad, I know you can hear me. I feel your presence even as you have been buried so long ago. I love you for your gifts to me.