Sunday, June 17, 2012

To the father of a girl and so much more

Today's entry might be my last daily post for a while. I've been going strong for 150 days (151 when I hit "Publish" on this one), but as I start interning a long commute away from home, it's likely I won't have as much free time as I do during the school year and the first few weeks of this summer. Perhaps I should have devoted all my thoughts and efforts to this blog rather than my future career and the quality of my resume.

But alas, life is a balancing act.

Still, with the 7 am wake up and the potential of not getting home until 12 or 13 hours later, I'm going to try the best I can to keep writing. If not every day, then any day I am not stuck in two hours of LA traffic. Because over the past few days I've realized how much this blog matters to me.

It started out as just a place to throw ideas into real, tangible text. I could have started writing in a journal regularly. I could have sent emails to friends to vent about life. But I decided that I wanted to share my thoughts in a public forum, a place where I felt the comfort of my own solitude - where writing an entry didn't involve active consideration of who might be reading it - but I could also force myself into being eloquent so that it might be interesting if anyone did choose to read.

My turn out has been amazing. Several thousand views and 150 blog entries later, I feel so wonderful about where this has gone. The experience of writing daily has brought my mind and my heart closer together, allowing me to access parts of my own thoughts that I had never realized existed. It's through this exploration of thought that I've come to find answers (and discover more, even harder, questions) about life, love, sadness, pleasure and a myriad of other interrelated topics.

But today isn't all about me. It isn't all about The Songs of Spring.

It's really about my dad.

Because as much time as I've spent wallowing in my own self-pity and valuing my own ego in this space, I've also tried as best I can to make this blog the perfect resting ground for some of my innermost thoughts about my family. Of that family, my dad most certainly holds a place at the top.

He may be silly and slightly short (sorry, but you know it's true), but he provides all the stalwart strength in my life. On a day like today (Father's Day), I can't help but think - even in my decreasingly spiritual mind - how blessed I am to have been given such an amazing parent, confidante and best friend.

My dad is not someone who I just share some of my greatest life experiences with, he's someone I want to share all of my life with. When I go through tough times and happy times or, to quote Charles Dickens, the best of times and the worst of times, he is always there to shelter me through the storm and walk in the sun with me.

Most people aren't worthy of more than a few posts on anyone's blog. They leave little to be explored or discovered in their personality, in their value. But my dad is a diamond in the rough.

Through every entry, through every moment of my life actually, he has a bearing on my choices. If he's not actively involved in my life events, then he's the person I turn to so I can share the news.

Every day of my college experience, I haven't started or ended my waking hours without calling him up. If it was only to say "good morning" or "goodnight," even those sparse words were a reminder that I always had him there when I needed him. Even if he was a couple thousand miles away.

Today, I was in a mood. For the first time on a trip to Disneyland, I could barely speak because I felt so inexplicably sad. In my heart I knew what was wrong, but I couldn't get myself to explain. I asked to go home early because I felt terrible at being unable to conquer and control my emotions.

My dad stuck with me through it all, never giving me a hard time. When we got home and talked about returning to the resort when I felt better, he was ready to depart at a moment's notice.

When we did get back, I talked with him about what had ruined my happy mood earlier. I told him I didn't feel like I could share it with anyone, even him.

But a moment later, I realized that if I there was anyone I could share anything with, it's my dad.

As soon as I told him my story, explaining to him why I was embarrassed about it and felt I couldn't share it with anyone, he met me with pure honesty and love. "It wasn't a great choice, but it wasn't a bad one either," he told me about what I had done. We talked for a while about the value of choices, of catharses, of doing what's best for you even if you feel that it could have both positive and negative consequences.

And then he said, "If you want sometime, I could share stories of mine that are similar to yours." I asked him for more information and he, in this very rare occasion, spilled a bit of his heart out to me.

My dad has the makings for great stories - for great blog posts - because he's not just a static character on my personal journey. He's an involved player, and his input matters. He guides me through life like no friend, no mentor, no religious figure could ever emulate. And sometimes I like to think the guidance goes both ways.

When I moved in with him permanently in sixth grade after living the first 11 years of my life with my single mother and visiting him on weekends as well as before and after school, my dad showed me that there are stories to be told with our words. He was a writer himself and together we sat down and talked about fiction and nonfiction. We read books and watched movies, we saw plays and listened to musicals. We wrote a TV show script together.

Every moment along my path to self-discovery, to this blog, has been guided by my father. By other people too, but first and foremost by him.

So in these final moments of ensured time and ability to complete my goal of an entry a day, I have to thank my dad. Not just because it's Father's Day and not just because he's the one man who will ever make me feel like I cannot and will not do any wrong, but because he's the reason for everything. He's the reason I exist. Not just the reason I'm alive from birth, but the reason I continue living and learning and discovering me.

Happy Father's Day to every dad who makes their child feel like they are capable of conquering the world. But mostly to my dad, because he's done that and so much more.

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