In the tiniest room in the house,
in a hidden corner of the basement,
tucked away with only the company
of a roaring furnace,
fluorescent light overhead,
lies my dad’s modest workshop.
Like many children,
I knew where to find my father
anytime I needed him.
Whether it was an out-of-tune flute
or a curling iron that had come apart,
He seemed to know exactly
how to fix things so easily.
And now after reaching adulthood,
and after years of living
as an introvert, I realize that
the workshop was the only place
where my dad could be alone
with his thoughts and find a way
to use his hands to work through
the daily struggles:
Being an immigrant,
the first in his family
to make the long trip
to a place fantasized as a sort of
promised land to third-world countries
such as his homeland.
Being the only source of income
for the majority of my childhood,
providing my three siblings and I
with so many more opportunities
and comforts and gifts
than he had had growing up
in a family of eight children.
Worrying over his four children,
how to help them adjust
to this country and to find their place
when we were always the minority,
starkly different from even
our closest friends.
Spending countless hours
helping other friends and relatives
who didn’t have the luxury
of a handyman living in their homes
to repair appliances and cars.
This is the father I took
for granted as a child.
I failed to see what a treasure
I had just down the hallway
or in his workshop below.
But now I am ever so grateful
that I have many years remaining
to let him know just how much
having him as my dad
has meant to me,
now more than ever.
–June 21, 2015