A Dedication to the World's Most Giving Father

Father's Day is celebrated today in North America. This dedication is written in that spirit.

I don't know anyone who is as blessed as we are--Andre, John Paul and me--for having you constantly present in our lives. You were not like most dads--on the contrary, you never missed a school drop-off or pick-up, a PTA meeting or teacher conference, a piano recital or an award ceremony. You planned everything around us so that we were the main focus. Nothing else ever competed for your attention. 

You'd sneak us our favorite cereals and snacks, to Mom's grief, and even recently when I came home to visit, you surprised me with my favorite cake, red velvet, because you knew I'd been craving it. You'd take me grocery shopping with you early in the morning on days off from school, and I loved pacing the aisles with you as we scoured for novel products and debated whether Mom'd approve. She'd come round, you always said with a grin.

I'll never forget how you helped me get through those dull history textbooks in elementary school, and how you'd gently doze off mid-sentence as I read aloud. Often, you'd come in to my room, lie on my twin bed and turn on the radio softly, just to keep me company as I slaved over inane homework assignments at my desk. The executive desk you had insisted on getting me because you thought the world of my academic success, and that I should have the ideal study environment. You believed I could be accepted to any top-tier college, and you assured me finances would be no matter--you'd been saving for our college fund since we were tiny toddlers.

Fortunately, all three of us attended university on merit scholarships, but you didn't spare a penny on our transportation, food, books, and miscellaneous expenses. I remember how every Sunday night, you'd shuttle me to my campus dorm in Irvine, only to return Friday at noon sharp, as soon as my classes let out, to take me home. We would squeeze in an hour of strolling along Laguna Beach, making a pit stop at your favorite Trader Joe's for coffee and munchies.

Who but you encouraged us to exploit every educational opportunity, to participate in study abroad programs, to attend the top graduate schools even if it meant moving across the country to the East Coast, and later, in my case, across the Atlantic. You were the one who booked a flight to Paris during the Christmas of 2009 when I didn't have ample vacation time to meet the rest of the family celebrating in Beirut. Unable to bear that I'd be alone during the festive season, you endured the harsh Paris cold and waited idly for me at Galeries Lafayette every day for a fortnight as I worked the 9-5 at the office a few blocks away. In the evenings, I'd come find you and we'd hit the Champs.

You were the one who met me in Beirut a year and month later when I'd decided I wanted to look for careers in Lebanon. You kept my spirits high even in the face of cynicism and rejection. Your encouragement and positivity kept me afloat, and I finally landed the job. And now, you're the first person I dial when I clock out, eager to share with you how my day transpired, just as you're getting up ten time zones away. 

I'm pained to not be with you on this Father's Day 2014, to gather you up in a deep embrace, that fond bear hug reserved only for daddy's little girl. But two months' time will reverse that, when we'll all be reunited in bliss and cheer and merriment. Two months can't come soon enough.

So until then, a special toast to the world's best dad. To the memories we have, and the new ones we'll make. To your health, wealth and eternal happiness with Mom. Happy Father's Day, Papoose. 

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