To my father on Father’s Day.

Dearest Papa,

Yesterday in this country it was Father’s Day. I thought of you, as I always do, not only today, or yesterday, but all the days. I wonder if you are eating properly, if you are sleeping well, if you are stressed, if you are still smoking too much and eating too many spicy foods for your stomach to handle.

When I was younger I remember we were inseparable. You would take me to the park, to the playground. You would push me on the swings–but not too high, because I was afraid of heights even then–and you would pull me up the bunny slope on the ski resorts because I was afraid of the rope-pull. You didn’t even enjoy skiing all that much, it was too cold.

As I grew older, as I started to form opinions and a personality, a personality and opinions based on our very different life experiences up until that point, we started to disagree, we started to fight more. Sometimes I said things I never meant, things that I hope you’ll forgive me for. And sometimes you said things to me, but I always knew you never meant them because you said so, to me, you apologised to me years later, I remember.

Our numerous arguments taught me how to think for myself, and yet respect the other person for their opinions, no matter how different or no matter how alike our opinions are.

I will never forget all the times I’ve been sick and you would hold me and whisper, “I wish I could be sick for you so you wouldn’t have to suffer.” That has touched me more than anything, the lengths you would go to sacrifice everything for my sake. It has taught me what it means to be a daughter and what it meant for you as a father, and hopefully I will take this into the future when I have my own children.

Thank you for teaching me how to drive, how to prepare a cigar. Thank you for teaching me how to handle boys. For protecting me when I could not. Thank you for always making me balado terong and eating the food I cook for you, even if I know you don’t always like the same types of food that I do. Thank you for preparing susu telor, or susu choklat, or going to get my favourite nasi padang when I need it.

Thank you for teaching me to have faith in my God the best way you know how, from your perspective.

Thank you for praying for me, for thinking of me, for calling me from wherever you areĀ  just because I need to hear a friendly voice.

I know you have always tried to raise me as best as you could even if you were miles away or right next door.

Thank you for being my daddy for these past twenty-three years. I will always love you and think you are wonderful no matter what you do, where you are and where you are working. I think you’ve done a wonderful job raising a child, I hope you know that.

You are and always will be the number one man in my life.

I love you, and I will always be:

Your little daughter.

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