I am who I am today because of the amazing man who raised me. My dad is such an example to me, and such a role model. My entire life, he has worked so hard. My dad has sacrificed everything in order to provide for our family, and no one I know has a work ethic like he does. I was raised in the back of an Italian restaurant. More often than not we didn’t have the time or the means to be able to go on family vacations, and we didn’t get to spend every night and weekend together because my parents were working without rest. I know that they regret that sometimes, but I don’t regret it. I am so grateful for it.
Dad, thank you for what you gave me. I, like my sister, know how to cook because we stood on dish racks in the back of the restaurant in order to be tall enough to see you cook. I learned how to lay tile in the storage room of that restaurant, and I remember how good it felt to laugh and talk with you all night. I know what dedication means because of your example, dad. I know what it means to make a commitment to something. I know what it looks like to follow your dreams and work hard to succeed.
I am grateful that my dad never called anyone to fix anything around the house. He did it all himself, and because of that, I learned how to be independent and self-reliant. I remember going out into the backyard and digging out the area where we were building our patio, and I remember feeling so fortunate to be able to build it with him. When we were finished, I looked at what we had accomplished and I was so proud. I know how to fix toilets, and change the oil on my car. I know how to spackle and paint (because he was amazing enough to paint my room red when I was in high school…boy oh boy was that a chore!) I know how to change a tire. I know how to siphon the water out of a fish tank. I know how to chop wood, and use an air compressor, and I know how to build a real fire. I know how to make it in the world because of what he taught me.
My dad has the best recipes and is the best cook in the whole world. He is the ultimate Mr. Fix-it, and can literally fix anything. He is the best driver I know, and can drive any vehicle under the sun. He taught me to love my heritage, and embrace tradition. He taught me the importance of family. I remember when I was a teenager and my Uncle Mando passed away–I didn’t want to go with everyone up to New York to go to the funeral because it was my spring break and I wanted to stay with my friends. He put on the movie Moonstruck and made me sit with him and watch the whole thing, and at the end he gave me a whole speech about how important family was and why I needed to come with them. Because I was a stupid teenager, I told him that I still didn’t want to go. It was then that he told me that I no longer had a choice and I was getting my butt into that car and coming with them. Thank you for doing that dad. To this day that is one of the most vivid lessons you taught me. You were right to make me go. Family really is the most important thing in the world.
My dad is a man of few words but has a big heart. I miss him every single day. Since going off to college and later getting married and moving across the country to Hawaii, we haven’t gotten to spend much time together. I love you, daddy. You are the man I look up to the most, and I hope so much that Evan turns out to be a lot like his Papa. You are such an example and role model to me.
Here’s to you, dad. I hope you have a happy father’s day back home, and know that I am thinking about you and love you! I am so grateful that you are my father.