My dad was a workaholic, but he was also a family man. He made sure that no matter how late he worked on weekdays, he always took the weekends off to spend time with us. The weekends were our family time and even if it was driving us to Chinese school or piano lessons, or just watching a hockey game, it was family time together. My fondest memories with my dad are from things we done together on weekends.
My dad is retired now, but he had his own business and had a record of always working really late. It was rare for us to have dinner together on weekdays. We always saved his dinner on the stove, which he reheated when he came home after work. I really didn’t know how my dad could manage with such little sleep. He was awake everyday at 6 am to help with getting us ready for school. But now that I manage with about 2-4 hours a sleep daily, I guess it is possible or the genes run in the family.
He was such a hard worker during his career and although my dad wasn’t always at home, he was always there when I needed him the most. My siblings used to tease me (they still do today) that I’m dad’s favourite. Although he would never admit it, I loved spending time with my dad…and he’s my favourite!
My dad would usually work until 9 pm at his shop and then after cleaning up, he wasn’t home until 11 pm at the earliest. So, when I was older, I would sometimes go to bed past midnight, and therefore would be awake when he came home. That was when I realized how hard my dad worked. So, the day when he retired, it was bittersweet. I was happy that he could finally get some rest, but I was also sad because I knew how much he loved his job and his shop.
Although the quality one-on-one time we spend together was limited, I loved our chats whenever he came home after work when he was eating dinner. While he was eating, he’ll sit on his favourite chair (the recliner in the TV room) where I would be doing my homework. He would chat with me about the latest hockey game and also ask about my day. Sometimes he would actually take a look at what I was studying. This quality time was something I really appreciated it.
My fondest memories are from when we were younger and he used to bring us every weekend in the summer to somewhere new in the city. We weren’t a wealthy family, so we didn’t have the luxury of traveling, but my dad wanted us to do something different over the summer break. He would bring us to the zoo, science centre, large parks like Cullen Gardens, and my favourite ‘Centreville’ on Toronto Islands. I remember when my dad used to go on rides with us (until my sister was old enough to take all of us, then my dad stopped going on the rides). It was fun riding the Ferris wheel with my dad or driving bumper cars with him.
Nowadays, whenever I go to these places with my son, I reminisce about those moments with my dad and wished that he was here with me. Maybe when the COVID pandemic is finally settled, we should go to Centreville so my dad can enjoy a fun family day with us.
Parenting tip 101: even if you’re a busy dad, if you make time for your kids, they will appreciate that more than anything else. Money is important, but your children’s time and love is more valuable. No matter how busy you are, always make sure to take some time away from work to spend it with your children.