About sushianimator

Love to make and eat sushi. Animation is fun on the side.

Father’s Day – A time to celebrate and a time to remember

This year’s Father’s Day is a special one for me since I am a proud father of two (one isn’t out yet, but in November).  It was only yesterday I found out that our second baby is going to be a girl!  I didn’t want to express too much emotion over this, being sensitive to what Joshua might interpret from me… but to know we are breaking the ‘all boys’ trend between our families is incredibly sweet.  Her name is Savanna, named after a geographic region found in our favorite continent, Africa.

Angela and I have been to Africa twice.  Angela was employed over a month there so she got to experience living in Maun.  We’ve climbed Kilimanjaro to the peak, lounged on hammocks at Zanzibar, camped out in the wild Okavango delta with the hippos, and drove across Namibia to see the red sand dunes.  But this year, I am about to embark on a greater adventure, fathering a young boy and a newborn girl.

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Angela and I at Uhuru Peak!

Taking care of a girl will be a very unique experience for me.  I’ve grown up with a little brother so I have no sister experience, and haven’t really babysat for girls.  We could end up with a tomboy or a girly-girl, but I am ready to embrace whomever she wants to become.  I didn’t know who Joshua would become, but he blew away all my expectations.  I am sure she will do the same!

I no longer find a gift for my dad on Father’s Day, nor give him a call, or take him out to lunch.  It’s been 11 years since I seen him or had a conversation with him.  No, I am not a bad son and every year it’s very frustrating not to be able to do those things.  On July 23rd, 2001 at 4am, I was woken by a phone call from my mom saying my dad wouldn’t get up.  I rushed home to see him, just before the paramedics took him away.  I had enjoyed a dinner and some TV the night before.  I even watched him fall asleep at the TV.   For the next few days, I sat in the living room at my mom’s home unsure of life and even my relationship with God… but over time I learned to embrace and cherish the memories I had with my dad.  He had died of a sudden cardiac death (heart stopping due to possible arrhythmia).

My dad was a humble mechanic since day 1 of my life.  He never wanted to become anything more, but was content each and every day knowing he’s helped people get back on the road.  For 25 years, he worked at Canadian Tire and has never achieved more than a chief mechanic.  Many evenings outside of work he would be working on other people’s vehicles or working on some mechanical invention which he did end up patenting and selling to hospitals (look for medical supply carts that fold up and roll away).  When he didn’t do those things, he would be tossing the baseball or watching baseball on TV with me.  Everything he did, I wanted to do and I became a carbon copy of him.

During my youth, my dad was always there for me.  I rode his back when I started to crawl.  He taught me how to ride a bike, to throw a ball, to fish, and to fix things.  We built a house together and even fell through a ceiling between the joists to the bottom floor… injured but laughing.  Twice I had my car(s) breakdown and he would leave work just to help me and somehow be able to find a cheap or free car to replace the old one.   He was there for my UBC graduation and he believed in me.

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House that I grew up in Toronto.

I still have dreams of my dad and I still use his cell phone number.  I don’t have a picture of him with me since I know he would look much different today if he was around.  But frankly, I am not sure if I would be who I am today if I he had not passed away.  Because I was able to reflect on his life, I had become more grateful for what he’s done for me.  That has now translated to how I am a father today, and I can only do better.

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Westcoast Papa debut!

To be upfront to all readers, I am a noob at “blogging”.  I’ve tried to do it through work but ended up giving up.  Writing is not my forte and neither is reading (my wife can testify to that), but I decided to give it a go since I am in a privileged situation with my son.

Time to whip out the umbrella, unexpected rainfall during our walk!

These days, I am known as the stay-at-home dad of Arbutus walk.  Local businesses and neighbours often see me carrying Joshua in a backpack while desperately trying to get our black lab (Sam) to do his morning duties in the grass.  I am fully equipped with snacks, water, diapers, wipes, and an umbrella at all times.  Look for me in the park throughout the day, Mondays through Thursdays…  I can help if you require supplies, especially doggie poop bags.  Our dog leaves quite a mess if he eats something unwarranted off the floor that dropped from Joshua’s high chair.

Ok Sam, need you to poop now!

When Joshua wakes up, my day starts.  Often he wakes me up by kicking the wall or yelling “Daddy daddy daddy”.  I usually get to bed around 2-3am because I work in the evenings when Joshua goes to bed… so I especially enjoy the days when Joshua sleeps in!

Whoa, this extra sleep is awesome! Daddy seems less grumpy too!

Before I got married to Angela (aka Westcoast Mama), I worked my days as a head sushi chef.  I learned how to cook and to enjoy good food.  I do find that cooking is a prerequisite to becoming a stay-at-home dad.  One needs to be skilled enough to be able to cook up some scrambled eggs and be able to boil pasta… or be readily able to cook anything that Joshua will eat!  Luckily, we have a son who eats a lot and anything (with the exception of most veggies) but in the early months, it was a struggle.  Plus knowing how to cook will help Angela when she gets home from work, tired and hungry.

Daddy, why did you mix egg and milk into the toast and sprinkle cinnamon on it? I wanted the eggs and milk separate!!!

Whenever I bump into another stay-at-home dad, I always want to hear their story.  What made them give up a full-time job to be home with their kid(s)?  How hard is it financially?  Are they worried about resuming their careers when the kid(s) start going to school full-time?  Do they enjoy it?  To be honest, I do miss the social aspect of full-time work and the adrenaline rush of trying to get a deadline finished.  Now, it’s replaced with a rewarding one-on-one interaction with Joshua and the adrenaline rush of trying to get out the door in time for children’s music class!

I do struggle each day wondering if I made the right decision to be at home with my son, but seeing Joshua quickly grow up and learn from me wipes away any doubts.

If daddy can do it, I can do it too!