Sunday, June 06, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad!

It's my dad's 60th birthday.

There was a time when I thought that 60 was the furthest thing.
Life has a way of affording us a change in perspective. I now fraternize with people in the age category 70 - 90. People of sound mental capacity. People who once trained as military cadres, spent time in the damp wasteland of prisons and roamed the globe in exile from the place they called home, for daring to stand up to the apartheid regime.

All this, and the general notion of relativity, make my dad turning 60 seem not really as age-relevant as a celebration of milestones, once again. Sixty is no doubt a defining and momentous occasion. It is also a reason to look back and reflect, something that I am certain he does a lot of on his own; often sharing those musings with our often impressionable ears.
But it is also a time for me to reflect on the journey that both our relationship as father and daughter, and our friendship as two not dissimilar beings has taken.

I've written and reflected on this before; a post called Driving Dad Crazy is among my favourite.
I've also had some opportunities for example, to publicly, albeit spontaneously, honour him when he walked in on a session at the Limpopo Legislature, where I directed the programme for the YCAwards and I happened to be speaking about the role of educators and parents in a child's development. My parents have played a significant and indelible role in my development, in the dynamic of who I am. And so there he was, sitting at the top of the indoor arena, smiling, suited in his classic well-groomed way. Smiling, that warm, encouraging smile. I have basked in this paternal glow of pride and love that is cast over me on every other day.

We're different and yet the same; knowing each other especially because of that sameness in the balance. It's true that fathers are the ordinary seeming heroes in our lives; at first purely because they're our fathers, and later precisely because of being only human, and real to us in every way.

I owe many stages of development to him who is my one and only Dad.
Happy 60th to this 'little girls' forever hero.

With a heart filled with love and appreciation,
Shafinaaz Sikander Hassim

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