I remember waking up to the smell of eggs, sausage, white rice, and pop’s legendary home cooked corn beef; a typical Filipino breakfast. As I got out of bed, I found pops hard at work in the kitchen and mom at his side serving the meal for us to eat. Excited to see him, I ran to his side grabbed him and gave him the biggest hug possible. However, my mom wasn’t too happy with pop’s corn beef because it left a significant aroma that lingered throughout the house. Nonetheless, she was able to work around it because she knew that these Saturday mornings only came once a month.
My father is a firefighter who is constantly sacrificing his life to better someone else’s. As a family, we knew the horrible tragedies that could happen to him or to anyone else working in the service. I learned to cherish every minute spent with my father, and learned how to cherish our relationship. With the turnout of events that occurred in the matter of seconds, we soon found out that he would be gone for a longer period than normal. It was a Tuesday morning and my dad received a call from his captain requiring him to take part in fighting the fires down South in the LA County.
I remember sitting next to him telling me he would be gone for a weekend. As sad I was, I was also scared for him. I knew his job required sacrifice, and I knew I wouldn’t see him for a couple of days. I knew that even though it was only one weekend, I still understood the dangers he would be facing. He gave me his blessings and was off to do his duties. The weekend passed and my dad was nowhere to be found. I didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation so I tried to handle his absence by drawing pictures of when he would return.
By simply staying busy, practicing for basketball, or helping my mom around the house, I started to question my mom about his disappearance. She didn’t have to say a single word for me to understand how scared she was. My mom found it in herself to give me the comfort I desperately needed, letting me know that he would return in due time. We remained as positive as we could trying to find ways to contact him. A week passed and still no pops. Was he okay? Would he ever return home? Was he by himself? Did he need our help? Where exactly was he? All of these questions filled the mind of both myself and my mom.
No phone calls, no emails, absolutely nothing. Worried as can be, we relied on prayer to let the Lord grant safety for himself and for his partners. The missing of my father’s presence felt as if no one could ever replace the love he brought to us. I missed the simplicity of our father daughter talks, the random hugs, and the safety he brought to our hearts. Emotions soon took over and constant doubt that he wasn’t okay left me with sleepless nights. The only thing I was looking for was a sign or a call, something to give me reassurance on his well- being.
Flashbacks of the times we spent together replayed day in and day out. All of the good times we shared together kept the faith grounded. I started to reminisce on the trips we took as a family over the summers, the one on one conversations about basketball, boys, and life in general, his reassurance on my times of doubt; every thought became a movie played out in my head. I became accustomed to his comfort and not having him around left a missing piece in my heart. In the essay, “Once More to the Lake,” E. B.
White gives a perfect example on who I saw my father as and the memories we shared: “It seemed to me, as I kept remembering all this, that those times and those summers had been infinitely precious and worth saving” (21). The experiences I was able to have with my father made me into a strong independent woman that he committedly raised with the support and help of my mother. My parents gave me the simplicity of how to relish any circumstance that came my way. With my father’s tough love and criticism, he also has an upbeat fun-to-be-around personality that gave the balance we needed.
My parent’s strong- headed commitment and dedication in raising my sisters and I gave comfort and reassurance for our independent lives we would soon be living. My father is a strong, independent man that constantly gives everything he has to his career and to his family. He was born in a little town in Texas coming from a well- rounded Filipino home. At a young age, he was taught how to support himself and how to help raise his younger brother when his father was serving in the military. Growing up in a small family, he found how important it was to give his parents the respect they deserved and implemented his beliefs into us.
He allows a sense of security to our home and has found a deep passion his accomplishments in the service. My father has taught the importance of how strong a family bond needs to be, and how supportive we must be for each other. I gained such an appreciation for his dedication and embraced his love and care with everything I had. Even though he isn’t around like we would want him to be, he has become my number one hero. I am able to look up at him as a symbol of what a good man truly is. The way he believed in our confidence gave us belief for ourselves. No matter our differences, being daddy’s little girl will live on till the end of time.
Two dreadful worried weeks passed and I found myself doing homework. The phone rang and I accidently missed the call. I ran to the phone hoping to hear the voice of my father. A voicemail appeared and I pressed replay as fast as I could. The voice just so happened to be my father’s. Immensely filled with tears, a sense of relief was lifted off of my shoulders. I knew he was okay and was soon to be home. I rushed to my mom and gave her the news. Together we shared happy tears and found that the Lord was watching after him all along. Our faith, belief, and prayers became our direct call to the Lord.
About three hours passed and we heard a knock on the door. I made eye contact with the man that I found to be my dad. He dropped his gear and swooped me off my feet, hugging me to the point where it became hard to breath. Tears fell from his face as did mine. The amount of joy we felt reminded us of the influential impact my dad had towards our hearts. The relationship a daughter and father has is something very special and doesn’t get as appreciated as it should. Just like a sister-to-sister bond, or a son-to-mother bond, these bonds create open hearts and reassurance in each other’s lives.
The endless emotions these bonds create become unbreakable and indestructible. A lot of responsibility comes from two parents raising a child and the respect that a child must have towards their parents is key in building such a strong relationship. It makes it even harder, when a father lives in the assumptions of his daughter never growing up. The sense of protection a father brings ultimately establishes safety and comfort towards each other. I am extremely grateful to have such a caring, protective, open hearted
father who has allowed me not only to succeed, but has also taught me the importance of making mistakes and growing from those mistakes. I have been given the opportunity to succeed in multiple ways with the support of my parents. I have seen my father as a significant source of wisdom and knowledge for the planning of my own future. No matter our differences we may face along the way, we have surely created a father and daughter bond that cannot be replaced. No matter how old I become or how old my dad becomes, I will forever be his little girl looking up to him with open arms.