The first 2 weeks after graduation, Olivia had been busier than when she was in school. She was very busy saying goodbyes to all her classmates and teachers. Today she wanted to say goodbye to me. I felt strange at first because we will be spending a year traveling together. But then she told me that I am not just a father but also a friend. Olivia wanted to give me the same treatment and time she would give to a friend. And because I am even more important than a friend, she saved me for the end because I am one of the hardest to say goodbye to…
We first went and dropped off cardboard boxes to be shipped back to the US – all her earthly possessions fit within the confine of 3 boxes. Then we had lunch at Cabana and had milk tea at Gong Cha, which she paid with her own money. We had many father-daughter dates before, but this is the first time she paid for the meal. I sensed for the first time that she is an adult…Then we went up to the rooftop of the Agean Mall and she handed me a letter for me to read. It was long but special where we remember all the memories we shared.
Below are some excerpts of the goodbye letter Olivia wrote:
I don’t even know how to begin. We have been though so much and I can’t believe I’m 18 already, an adult already, someone who is going to college already. I can’t imagine having to say good-bye to you after all these years.
You taught me so many things.
I think it’s so hard to say goodbye to you because you are so important to me. You taught me so many things. You taught me math in English in Yangping. How else am I able to survive calculus? And then you showed us the world, and spent everyday with us that year, showing us how science experiments worked, how to star gaze, how to ride horses, all the movies we shared; it all meant so much to me. Thank you. You continued to be involved my life after that. You tutored us, helped me with school work, had family time every night (until I got too busy :P)…And especially this past year you helping me with college and all those things have been so important. I have enjoyed talking to you through these important decisions and working together. I feel like you got to know me better as I got to know you better too ☺ I’m so honored you have you as my dad.
I know you love us because of your willingness to change.
I just wanted you to know that you have done such a great job as a dad and I will miss you so so much. Being a dad doesn’t come natural to anyone and no one begins perfect. But what I’m so impressed at you is how much you have changed for the better through out the years. Do you still remember how I made you to say “please, sorry, and thank you” all the time? Now, I barely need to remind you. And I know you love us because of your willingness to change. You started to spend more time with us, you took the time to listen to each of us and actually talk to us, you now take the time to talk to Joani and take the time to fight with Joani. Fighting is tiring and making up can be even more exhausting, but you are willing to do both. I’m so proud of you dad, for fighting with us, and for working it out. Thank you for talking all that time to hold our family together physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
It has been so refreshing for me to see you grow and change in the Lord.
It has been so refreshing for me to see you grow and change in the Lord. You have no idea how encouraging and wonderful it has been to see you involve God more and more in the family, to see you pray, to see how you ask us to pray altogether for things, to be able to talk to you about God and His plans. You know, throughout the years, you have changed so much. You are more patient, more willing, and even more loving. You are more sensitive, you allow us to “push” you around sometimes, which is kinda nice…You listen better and you pray harder. I think you listen to God more too and that’s probably what has made all the difference and can you imagine what it’ll be like if you listened to Him even more?? Anyways dad, thank you for the time and effort you took to love me and change for me. I really, really appreciated it.
You are such a cool dad. Not only because of your willingness to change, but because of who you are. You are brave and courageous. You were brave enough to move to China, to leave World Vision, to come back and to leave again. You are brave enough to bring us with you and to love us through it all. Besides that you are also caring. You honestly care about our well-being and how we are doing even if you don’t say it all the time ☺ You are also capable of being gentle. I have really enjoyed being with you this past while when I’m sad. For some reason you’re really comforting and you are able to give me what I need at that time. That’s another reason I’m going to miss you so much.
So, thank you. Thank you for listening, for saying sorry. Thank you for being such an example in my life. Thank you for leading us and teaching us. Thank you for all your time. Thank you for loving me and praying for me. Thank you for changing and growing. Thank you for who you are and who God made you to be. Thank you for being such a man of God. I am so proud of you dad. It almost feels like I have watched you grow up and I am so proud of you and so proud to be your daughter. Thank you for allowing me into your life and making saying goodbye so hard. Thank you for being dad.
I’m sorry for the times I took you for granted.
And I’m sorry for all the times that I’ve been mean, for the times I didn’t listen and for all the times I didn’t spend enough time with you. I’m sorry for the times I was rude and inconsiderate. I’m sorry for the times I took you for granted. Because you are so special; you are a gift; and it’s not something I’m taking for granted. Just know that I love you so so much and I will miss you so incredibly. I really don’t want to say goodbye, and I really will miss you a lot a lot a lot. You’re my friend too dad, and I saved you till the last, because you’re one of the hardest one to say goodbye to. But I trust God in His plans. After all He made you my dad. ☺ Thank you for helping me to make the me I am today. I love you!
Your daughter, Olivia, who will always love you ^.~
I am thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful daughter who taught me so much about being a father and who loved me in return. This is one “date” I plan to treasure for the rest of my life…especially during those moments when I will miss that she is no longer next to me.
This is my best Father’s Day gift.