If there is one thing that I find both disarming and heartwarming (and maybe a tad bit envious) when I talk to my non-Chinese friends is when they share how their relationships are with their dads – I do not know if my perspective is correct, but it seems as though they have a warmer, closer, and a more emotional bond in comparison to mine.

While growing up, I vaguely remember confiding and sharing jokes with my dad, especially during my teenage years to my late 20s. His role has always been to be the breadwinner, the last line of discipline, and the kind of father who could just give you a stare and you would immediately stop everything or anything that you’re doing. My form of communication with my father has always been through my mother, and she would relay the messages to him. Hugging, nurturing, and saying “I Love You” was never the norm. Don’t get me wrong, I do not feel anything bad towards my dad, I’ve just always thought that these types of behaviors were normal.

One day my mom asked, “How come you and your dad are not close? Back when you were little and in kindergarten, your dad would pick you up every day from school and you would be so excited because he would take you to get Coney Island Ice Cream in Greenhills (A popular mall in the Philippines). You would talk to him about all of your teachers, how happy you were, and how you looked forward to him picking you up (and allegedly I would be skipping and holding his hand when he arrived)! Currently, as an adult, I would recall those times and it would make me emotional. I have realized that the things my dad and I would bond on were solely based in relation to food. I would always remember him saying:

“Do not ever skimp money on food.  Good food is very important. Having food for your family and friends is important.”

To this day, even while miles apart, it’s food that we would often discuss. He would mention what he cooked, ate, what recipes I need from him (because he just developed a natural affinity to cooking in his later years), the supplements I need in order to stay healthy… and the supplements I need to buy for him also. LOL! In a lot of ways, food has remained the glue that binds us together. It’s also the reason why I have a healthy appetite!

In celebration of Father’s Day, join me in celebrating these special moments, memories, lessons or #DADvice that we will never forget. As we toast to the first man we’ve ever set our eyes on and love, here are more stories from friends that maybe you can relate to, laugh to, or even shed an emotional tear or two:

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