Today is my father’s birthday. I have been away at school on his birthday several years, but for some reason I miss him much more this year than I have before.
Perhaps it is because he turns 50, which makes this a day when we should all gather and throw him a huge party. 50 is such a big number, and it used to be a lifetime just a few hundred years ago.
Or perhaps it is because two days ago would have been my grandmother’s 70th birthday, and most of the family were together to remember her, yet I could not be there because of studies and other obligations. My grandmother died 20 years ago of breast cancer when she was 50, and in addition to really wishing I could have been there with my family two days ago, it also reminded me of how fragile life is, and how despite what we might think as children, parents are not immortal and they could be taken away from us long before we are ready to (if we ever will be) let them go.
It could also be the fact that my father is currently in South-Sudan, doing police work for United Nations, working as an observer and an advisor to the new police down there. I haven’t seen any of my family members since early August when I left for University, yet I miss and worry about my father the most, because he is so far away and everything over there is so out of my control.
Whatever the reason might be, most likely a combination of the above, I really miss him, and wish he could be back with us safe and sound on his birthday for us to pamper.
My father is a very strong man in a way that you immediately notice him and listen to him. I suppose you could say that he is a natural authority, and I suppose one would have to be in order to survive as a man in a household with a strong wife and four daughters. Despite the fact that he has a typically male job, and grew up in a very male-dominated environment, having four daughters have affected him. He has traveled a lot through UN to places such as Rwanda, Bosnia, Afghanistan and several African countries, and if he gets the choice, he will choose to work in a way that benefit women in countries where women have few rights compared to what we are used to, and I am so proud of him for that. I am proud of him for standing up to his colleagues in Afghanistan and say “I have four daughters, and I am the luckiest man in the world.” Despite the fact that I wish he would just stay at home where police detectives never get shot and where the chance of encountering a car bomb or malaria are close to 0, I am proud of him for helping out in whatever way he can.
So all in all Father, I know I didn’t encourage you to go (quite contrary in fact), but I am so proud of everything that you are doing, and I love you. Happy birthday, I hope you have made friends in South-Sudan and that they are spoiling you today since we are not there to do it.