the first man i ever loved

my grandma once told me a story about how my dad spent a lot of time sitting in a bowl as a child in vietnam — the reason he has scoliosis. she cried when she told me and when she  dropped me off at home, i cried too. 

several years ago, my dad told me a story about how he was very thin when he first came to america. he couldn't afford properly fitted clothes and wore a lot of baggy clothing. once, in a book store, the store employees continuously brushed up against my dad to make sure he hadn't stolen anything. i left before he could tell me anymore stories. i wasn't brave enough to listen to all his sufferings. 

early on in my life, my parents took me to vietnam. on one particular trip, when i was 13, my dad talked to me about love. i asked him if he would be okay with me marrying someone who wasn't asian. he said yes and made a few racial jokes. i laughed, but felt empowered to love whomever i wanted. a feeling i now know not all asian kids share. 

the first memory i have of my dad telling me he loved me was when he dropped me off at my dorm room my freshmen year. it was a strange moment. it wasn’t something we said growing up in my house. but i'll never forget it. 

when i was young, not much older than the photo in this post, my dad caught me a bird from outside. we were living in our first house and it was one of the most exciting moments in my childhood. after the bird pooped all over the floor, we had to let it go. 

a while back, my dad talked to me about love & marriage again. he told me he didn't know how much he loved my mom until they grew together throughout their marriage. he loved her when he married her, but not nearly as much as he could have. but as the years rolled on, he loved her more than he could've loved anyone. my parents are one of the best married couples i know. but strangely enough, this was one of the defining moments in my life. after this, i didn't think i ever wanted to get married. 

the first i ever saw my dad cry was at my wedding. 

i love watching football. but i love watching football more when i'm watching with my dad. it isn't the same without him. not even with andy. 

despite our tough circumstances early on, my dad always bought me a happy meal every friday through preschool & kindergarten. it was my only real understanding of time at that point. 

i used to hang out with my dad while he mowed the lawn. i had a toy lawn mower i used beside him. 

my dad is the hardest working man i know. most memories of my dad i have growing up are of him working. for most of my life, he worked and didn't do much of anything else. working to take care of me. working to make sure we had food on the table. my dad always worked the late days, weekends and the extra hours. working to make sure i could someday go to college and pursue my dreams. 

this is just a glimpse into the memories i have with my dad. he is the most incredible man i have ever known and i am so lucky that he’s the first man I ever loved. happy father's day, daddy. i love you!