My father, Baba, who is now passed away for 15 years, is the golden rod by which I measure the greatness of a man, and the example by which I have chosen my husband and the legacy I pass on to my children.
I carry much of my father within me. It is a treasure that lasts, that transcends me and pushes me to live life by using the gifts he gave me during his time on this earth.
Baba was born in hard times but he was not hardened by the times. He rose to the occasion when faced with challenges, and the mark of his resilience after a hard days work was his ever present smile when he walked through the front door. He was a gentleman. He was always ready to lend a hand to those in need or in trouble without any expectation of something in return. It mattered not whether the person was a child, young, adult or old. All were equal in his kindness. He would say “kindness is the best investment that earns unlimited dividends in life.” He greeted each day with gratitude and never once complained about mishaps, misfortunes or life’s “imperfections.”
Baba believed in the rewards of an education, and every morning while he shaved, if I complained about having to wake up to go to school, he would sing out loud a song in Armenian about the joy of gaining knowledge. He believed in keeping an open mind and said “life is a school for perpetual learning.”
Baba was a thoughtful man of faith. His optimism was witness to his deep knowing of an omnipotent existence. I recall on occasion when he would recite a short prayer before he tucked me and my brother in for the night. To this day I repeat the prayer to my grandchildren. He led me to see the world through his eyes and created in my mind a world of possibilities where magic, mystery, the sacred, all meet in the presence of godliness. I have the privilege of Baba’s optimism woven into my being.
While father (and mother) have long left this world, they are still by my side with the gifts they gave me as inheritance. Today and everyday, I celebrate Baba by using the gifts he gave me in my life journey, and by sharing snippets of him (and my mother) in stories about my beautiful life.
To all fathers whether they left us a long time ago or are still by our side, Happy Father’s Day.