Last Saturday, my dad celebrated his 65th birthday with friends and family. Below is the speech I wrote and delivered during his birthday party.
What can be said about the person we are here to celebrate with? I mean, this person is not only the head of the household, the person who wears the pants, but also the support of the family. And like they say, "Behind every successful man, there is a strong, wise and hardworking woman."
Wait. I got the wrong speech.
Okay. Here it is.
Last time I gave a speech for my dad, I spent over six months preparing. This time around, I've been so busy with life that I totally procrastinated and waited until last week to finally sit and think about what I was going to say. But don’t worry, last night I stayed at LA QUINTA.
My parents love to live life. That’s not surprising, right?
They love to entertain. This is what they like to do.
To them, the best cure for sickness or illness is spending time with friends and family--enjoy life by laughing, dancing, and having fun. Live life to its fullest.
Now for me, being an introvert, this type of lifestyle can be exhausting. Whereas my parents get energy from being with you all, I’m ending tonight drained.
My mom started planning this event shortly after the last birthday party, five years ago. Her creativity is what you see in this ballroom tonight. My dad's role in this whole event planning was mainly inviting and inviting and inviting more people.
A couple of months ago, I was given a list of people my dad wanted to invite. After the fourth page of contacts, I thought for sure my dad was making up names.
But in reality, he has many many friends. And a lot of them were once his students.
Like I said five years ago, my dad's students have been and continue to be a huge part of his life. The love and respect he has received from his students is obvious.
He is admired as a professor, a leader, a citizen, a friend, and a father.
A person once said, “We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.”
Remember Will Smith’s song, “Parents just don’t understand?” This was true up until I became a parent.
It was probably until my son was about three or four years old when I realized that this fatherhood is not easy.
When I was close to losing my mind, which was many times, I thought about my dad.
Guess who the disciplinary parent was in my family? My dad would discipline me, but for some reason, like many of you here, I feared my mom and still do.
My dad disciplined me when I did wrong, but he also loved me unconditionally.
I understand now, dad.
Nobel Prize writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that “A man knows he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.”
A few months ago, my dad gave me a pair of white running shoes he had purchased. I personally thought they looked like “grandpa shoes,” but I wasn’t going to decline the free gift. Yes, it runs in the family—cheap or free things are luxuries to us.
Anyways, my family and I were getting ready to go to Disney World Animal Kingdom. I got dressed in my swimming trunks, which once belonged to my dad, an Aloha shirt, and the white running shoes. I turned to my wife and said, “Oh my god, I look like my dad.” Finding this hilarious, I snapped a picture and texted it to my mom, “I look like Dad twenty years ago, but with more hair.”
By now, you all probably heard that my dad was not feeling well this week. Well, my mom was concerned about how this was going to affect the party. But miraculously, my dad’s health improved. Actually, I think it was because of y’all that he regained his health and is here tonight ready to party.
Like I said, to my parents, the best cure for sickness or illness is spending time with friends and family.
My mom is giving me the cut sign. If this was the Academy Awards, she’d probably start the music and turn off my mic.
So, to get back to the party, I will close with this quote by Lydia Maria Child, a women’s rights activist, who said, “Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father.”