If there is one thing I would have wished my father lived long enough for, it would be for more travels with the family. I was only able to travel with him as a young child, and I could only imagine how wonderful it would be to go on trips with him with a grown-up me and his grandchildren.
My late Daddy Jess was a born traveller and it was through him that we all learned how travel is an adventure in food and culture. We used to call him “Columbus” (a moniker for the explorer Christopher Columbus) because of his penchant for searching hole-in-the-wall restaurants and walking into alleyways with all kinds of curious surprises. He even knew the grid layout of New York like a local and would expertly show us how to take the subway lines.
In the early ‘70s, on a family trip to Hong Kong, my dad commissioned a cab driver to bring us to the undeveloped New Territories from Kowloon. In fact, it was hilarious how we were the only red cab cruising the New Territories at that time when Hong Kong observed different colored taxis for different districts. The New Territories then was a vast landfill long before Disneyland and the new airport were built.
Then too, my dad would never squirm at the idea of letting us travel on our own, recognizing that it was the best way for us to test how far we could live independently and to fend for ourselves. On his deathbed, as I told him that I would be leaving for a year of study abroad, I remember him smile upon hearing it. This was the kind of father he was— generous and encouraging of all his children.
As Father’s day weekend draws near, I always feel a bit of melancholy at remembering my dad. For many of us who have lost a father, we’ve accepted that just the memory of our father’s unconditional love is enough to shape our character and to form our notions about what unwavering relationships are meant to be.
I do admit feeling a bit of envy at hearing how my friends can still build travel memories with their dads. A good friend, Anton, shares how despite his slightly weaker health, his dad was still enthusiastic to go on their family trip. Anton talks about how his dad didn’t mind being wheeled in a wheelchair through the busy streets of Seattle. It seems these family travels give their father the will to live longer.
And so, take this Father’s Day weekend as the best time to show how much your dad makes a huge difference in your life. Spend a day out with him, treating him to the one thing that he enjoys the most, even if that means spending time at his favorite hardware store, restaurant, or barbershop.
But even better, if you can plan a trip with him even for a day at the beach or as simple as breakfast near the Manila Bay, go and do so. After all, these will be rare recollections you will forever cherish about the one and only man in your life you can call your dad.
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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!