So I’ve been thinking . . . about my dad a lot lately. Today is his birthday.
My dad died about six years ago, and I miss him every day. I feel happy thinking of the good memories and stories about him. I feel sad that he’s gone.
I still want to pick up the phone and tell him about my golf game or a great article I read in National Geographic. I want to ask him what I should do about the lights that keep burning out in my kitchen or how to fix my showerhead when it’s leaking. I want to hear about the latest book he’s reading or what he thinks about the current political situation. I want to hear his laughter when he’s watching something funny on TV. (That man had the funniest giggle.) I want to share with him the good news when I get a new project. I want his support when I’m feeling down. I want to call him up just to talk.
But I can’t.
What I can do is keep his memory alive, keep remembering his stories and advice, and keep learning from him.
Lately I’ve noticed how much I live in fear—afraid to try new things, afraid to meet new people, afraid to go to new places, afraid I’ll get hurt, afraid I’ll get lost, and the list goes on and on. It kind of surprised me to realize my fear.
There was a little adventure I wanted to take, but in order to do it, I had to go out of my comfort zone. I put it off and put it off. Finally I set a day to do it. This was something I really wanted to do, after all. So the day came, and I woke up and thought, I’m not doing this. I can’t. I’m afraid. And for some reason, I thought of my dad.
My dad left everything in Turkey—including my mom and two brothers—to create a better life for his family here in the United States. He spoke very little English but taught himself the language. He had no friends here but found connections. He had very little money but scraped what he had together. His entire support system was in Turkey. And he left a respectable job as a mining engineer there to come here for a graduate degree. He left everything he ever knew. Was he scared? Probably. And he came anyway. Driven by a vision of something he really wanted to do, he took that risk.
So I thought of my dad and his desire to come to the United States and create a new life, and I thought If my dad can cross an ocean and head into the unknown, then I can do this one thing I’ve been wanting to do. And so I did. And I had a great adventure!
When I start to feel fear and I tell myself I can’t—can’t be a writer, can’t have the career I want, can’t have what I want—I think of my dad. And if he can do it, I can do it. Thanks dad for still supporting me. Love you always. Happy birthday!
And another thing (or two or five) . . .
- For anyone who has lost someone dear in his or her life, this is a great read.
- My dad would’ve loved this. The site is near his hometown.
- A moving film–let us never forget.
- As a child of immigrant parents, I can relate to this, especially numbers 12, 16, and 19. And 20 and 23.
- Because this made my dad laugh his infectious laugh.
I’ve been reading . . . White Teeth, that is, I’m looking at it thinking, I should keep reading this. I should keep trying. But I don’t want to, so I stopped. Just started The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel, recommended by my friend Michelle.
I’ve been watching . . . Mad Men. Ok, I’m trying another show. Two episodes in, and I kind of like it so far. The misogyny and sexism drive me nuts. The constant smoking makes me a little sick. But there is something about this show. (And, yes, I am completely late to this bandwagon.)
I’ve been listening to . . . Barry White. I was in a cab the other day and the cab driver and I started talking about the fall season and I mentioned that September used to be my favorite month. He said he had a song about September and proceeds to play Barry White’s “September When I First Met You.” Great song. It totally relaxed me. So that got me playing Barry White. Oh yeah!
Have a wonderful weekend!
(Image from Aktay family archives.)