Dr. Vuong hoods Dr. Vuong in May at my brother Chris’ medical school graduation- a pretty special moment for these two.
Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads out there! We are blessed to have so many good men and fathers taking care of us. Lately, it’s been such a joy to see my friends become new fathers and to see how naturally they’ve slipped into their roles. Today, in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to write about one of the most important men in my life: my “Daddio.”
Little known fact: my dad can hit a fly with a rubberband at 30 ft. We didn’t know about this hidden talent of his until we were in our early twenties. Even now, I remember how slack-jawed we were as we watched him nonchalantly take down a swarm of flies. Apparently he used to practice as a kid, aiming so that the lizards on the ceiling would fall on his sister’s schoolbooks as they studied. The things we keep finding out about our parents…
My dad is Mr. Cool. At times, he seems to be in his own world, and then just when you don’t think he’s listening, he’ll quietly slip some incredible insight into the conversation and you’ll discover he was paying attention the whole time. My dad is one of the smartest men I know, and the most giving. He was the first Vietnamese board-certified OB-GYN in California 32 years ago. A dedicated physician, I remember him working long hours and days to support his family and to grow his practice. There were many interrupted meal times when after a long day of work, he would sit down at the table with us for dinner and within minutes, be paged back to the hospital to see a patient in labor. I remember our garage door opening numerous times during the night. As kids, we would sometimes accompany him to the hospital on the weekends. He would drop us off in the call room with jello cups and we’d happily watch classic Batman reruns until he returned after bringing another life safely into the world. Despite this grueling schedule, the extraordinary thing is that we NEVER saw him come home in a bad mood. He was always cheerful and positive, never bringing home the frustrations from the day. As an adult putting in a full day of work (a measly 8-5pm), I truly appreciate that now.
I’ve been told that the best gift a father could give his children is to love their mother. Luckily, my dad adores my mom and I love seeing them together, still happily married after 30+ years. Dad has the best humor, and is always joking, and telling stories to make my mom and everyone around him smile. The rest of our family is pretty tightly wound but he puts things in perspective for us. He is unflappable, taking life as it comes, knowing that things will work out and that it doesn’t help anyone to stress or overreact to things. He supports many without complaint. He always sees the positives, no matter how difficult the situation. As I’ve grown older, I discover how much we can learn from his approach to life.
My dad loves music and is a big history and war buff. He is happiest strumming his guitar and singing during the early hours of the morning. He is pretty good about his diet and exercise but loves ice cream and on vacation, is known to have it as early as 10am without shame. No crustacean (crab, lobster) is safe when he is around. He has been known to clean out the Alaskan king crab supply at the buffet. He is the 8th of thirteen siblings but takes care of everyone. He loves a good suit. Every time we go to the grocery store, he inevitably shows up at the shopping cart with a can of unsalted peanuts. He loves animals and appreciates the simplest things. I inherited a sense of nostalgia and a tendency to wander from him. My dad is one of a kind and the very best.
Dancing with Dad at my wedding, it was a BLAST