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""Long ago, I’d read somewhere that the true greatness of a person is reflected by the human inability to define that greatness. And so, I hope you’ll understand that this is why I am using such simplistic language. I’d like to write rich odes, chock-full of meaning, and articles that truly express what you mean to me, but I’ll settle for the mediocre description that follows. Because nothing that I say about you will describe you well enough.

You’ve seen me since the day I’ve born, and I hope and pray you live a great many years longer to see me through the rest of life. You’ve shielded me from many great upsets, while ensuring at the same time that I learnt a lesson from them. You’ve watched many a temper tantrum of mine, seen many a flaw, and yet loved me as only a father could. You’ve sat patiently through expressions of my changing interests, all the while attempting to make me see reason (and accepting me even when I have been stubborn enough not to).

It is ironic that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten closer to you. And to think I’d always thought of my teenage years as the time when I’d draw away. Surprisingly, it is in these years that I’ve found much common ground with you. It is now that I’ve realized that you were once seventeen too. That you probably went through all that I did, and even if you didn’t, you understand what it’s like perfectly. You understand enough to say the things I need to hear, and at the same time to say the things I should know. You understand enough to provide me with the comfort and security that I need, and also enough to reveal seemingly-simple solutions that come from years of experience.

You are there whenever I need to talk. You’re there to help me through my discovery that not everything in the world is black and white, that a large portion is grey and fuzzy. You know that there is much in this world for which there is no answer, and you advise me to leave those questions alone. Yet, when I do not, you accept and understand full well. You continue to answer questions, over and over again, perhaps with the hope that one day I will be able to see as you day, and that one day I will realize the futility of that which you have advised me against, that which I continue to be interested in.

You are undoubtedly the most important man in my life. I cannot begin to describe how relaxing it is to have a conversation with you, to begin to say things and now that you will understand. I cannot find the right words to say how good it feels to be understood and accepted, and not to be criticized. I am at a loss when I begin to describe how much your support means to me, and how I wouldn’t be motivated to do half the things that I work so hard for if it were not for your encouragement. Always remember that I am grateful for the hours and hours of counseling you have so patiently given me, helping me make sense of a world that is increasingly confusing. And also that I am grateful for the unquestioning support, the encouragement to pretty much go ahead and do anything that I want to, the knowledge that I will still be accepted if I wish to follow my dreams and pursue what makes me happy.

I must confess, though, that I haven’t been a perfect daughter. I’ve had my ups and downs (more downs than ups, again) and I’m sure that I’m the reason for a large percentage of your grey hairs. There is much you have expected from me over the years, much that I have chosen to ignore. There are all those times, every day you’ve told me you loved me when you said good night, days when I simply mumbled and said nothing back.

And yet, I know I am loved. I know that despite whatever it is that I’ve done over the years, you do not reject me. You make sense of my world and the larger world, trying your hardest to make me see things the way I should. I come to you time and again for help in decision-making, and then reject your decisions when I see that they are not what I had in mind. Only later, over and over, do I realize that you know what’s best, and that I should listen.

A very belated Happy Birthday wish, Daddy. There is much else I want to say here, but above all else, I love you. And one day, when I have children of my own, I will know I have been successful if I can provide them even a tenth of the understanding, stability and support that you have provided me.

Author: Kimberly Fernandes- Qatar

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