Dear papa.


Okay, so maybe poor punctuality is a trait among all Tons.


“It is fathers who have such a major role in giving their children guidance, leadership and direction and teaching them integrity, truth, and humility.”
– Ronald Regan

Humility, patience, and creativity – there is always a solution to every problem.

The wisest man I have ever currently will ever know for as long as I exist, my dad is life’s ultimate teacher. While his level of knowledge and insights surpasses most, taking him and his lectures seriously is tough when you’re young, naive, and a terrible listener. (Ask my siblings…or any one of my cousins.) It’s even harder when you hate being told what to do (and you really don’t know what’s best for you).

Fast forward to 26 where I have finally digested nearly every lesson he ever taught me: from athletic discipline, to responding to erratic tempers, to the perils of letting money divide you from those close to you; to what it really means when a man loves you.

Dear papa – my little man,

All those years of “in one ear & out the other” are still regretted, but I am so thankful that they were taught so that I could one day learn them. Thank you mostly for never giving up on us – on me, Stef, Drew or mom. We know that you know that we don’t listen the first time, the second time, or the hundredth time; but I hope do you know that we know we will learn your lessons eventually. And when we do learn them, it registers so soundly because we were led down the right path & knew the answers we were looking for. The path that always began with, “yes, I can!”

How ironic that grew up calling you, Mr. “No.” “No” you can’t wear makeup. “No” you can’t stay up late. “No” nail polish. “No” you cannot watch The Titanic. And absolutely “NO” boyfriends.

Oh, but how much you have grown with us, Papa! To watching your daughters move across the country 8 years ago (and eventually introducing your oldest splashed with body ink and bright red hair); to being more emoji savvy than your kids and their friends; even soon to welcome a son-in-law. Anyone who meets you today would have never guessed that you used to ban overalls, Full House and Cocoa Crisp in the house.

Mom may run the show and Drew may be the star, but you play the ultimate supporting role. I don’t know anyone who is as accepting and as patient waiting in the background for their cue as you. My preference to staying behind the scenes is, without a doubt, an inherited characteristic from you. As with mom’s generosity, your selflessness is one I hope to embody eternally; especially when I decide it’s my turn to become a parent.

Because fatherhood and parenthood will forever be defined by your decision to give up your career – a career prequeled by years and years of self-education; by years self-learning as a little boy in Vietnam, to a young adult in Illinois, to a man in the Bay Area. Defined by your choice to sacrifice your happiness in a research lab to drive us to piano lessons, ballet recitals, tennis tournaments, birthday parties, you name it. Because fatherhood and parenthood is teaching self-sufficiency to your kin; it’s teaching us not how to ask for fish but how to be fishermen (and fisherwomen!). Because fatherhood and parenthood is relentlessness in telling their children that they can do whatever the hell they want to do, aspire and be whoever the heck they want to be, as long as they are willing to work hard.

Luck, you say, is merely Preparation meeting Opportunity. What a first impression that must have been – because being able to call you Dad makes me the Luckiest girl in the world.

Thank you for all your lessons then and the ones to come; for being the voice of reason; for passing down your love for America the beautiful & ice cream; and for being the biggest supporter for my JE11 obsession. You’re one in twenty billion, Papa.

Love you more than all the peanuts you can eat in one sitting…and then some.






One thought on “Dear papa.

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