This week’s reading by Andre Dubus, Digging, reminded me much of my own father. Like we have discussed in class today, Dubus’ father seemed like a distant, serious, yet loving father that expressed his love through his actions rather than his words; such as buying the hat, bringing Dubus to boxing matches, etc. My father was also like that – he would often only express his feelings through his actions and gave me lots of tough love.
When I think of my dad, I always think of that myth about lions pushing their cubs down the cliff so that the cubs can grow stronger – that’s what my dad was like to me. Fiesty, I would always climb back up, seething with anger, determined to bite his arse off this time but he would whack me again effortlessly with his merciless paw and send me tumbling down again (I guess that part of my character is different from Dubus’ was to his father).
My father had always been a stubborn perfectionist. Every note played on his violin had to be right. Every detail that pertained to his work had to be done right. This trait was what made him successful 30 years ago he decided to come to America alone, with only enough money for a one way plane ticket, to pursue a doctoral degree in physics. He (tried to) instill this trait in me. Whenever I presented something, whether it be a project, assignment, etc. to him, he would always find something about it that needs improvement (whack. Lion cub down the hill again). He never helped me with my schoolwork, never helped me around the house when my mother left, only took me to the doctor when my symptoms were life threatening. He would saunter around and give a curt nod of approval sometimes, or buy me food I liked occasionally without saying much (like the hat and BLT sandwish from Dubrus’ dad, I guess). Deep down, I know he loves me and he did this only to train me to become independent.