As we grow older, as our parents age with us, everything starts to change. I find myself taking care of my parents, making sure they are fine, healthy, happy, and safe. Safe from the cruelty of the world, of retirement, of a society that is infested with ageism. I grow fonder of my father as I age. As a child, when I watched him, he was mysterious and powerful, and now as an adult I know he is a man of patience and commitment, a man who understands the concept of loyalty. He has so many values and ethics that are diminished nowadays. My father is in love with a distant past, a tribal past, a past of morals and proper codes of conduct. He tells historical tales, oral stories, and each tale has a theme, a beautiful message.
They say fathers are irreplaceable. I never understood this. Lately, I feel blessed to have him around. The other day, I opened his closest and found 50 copies of my PhD dissertation. He keeps them, in case. He keeps each copy in case he meets someone he would like to share my research with. And not that my father is fluent in English at all- he just loves the name on each book, the girl who carries his name. And I am grateful for that, that there has been someone in my life who watched me grow, smiled proudly at every accomplishment, and never wanted anything in return. I have been misguided into thinking unconditional love is easy to receive. As I age, I understand more just how rare it is.