To the men we call yaba, baba, bobs or daaaaaaaaad. The men who taught us everything from tying our shoes to changing a tire. You were the first superhero we knew and are still just as heroic. In your eyes, we are a nawari excuse for a child, but you’d never hesitate to claim us as your own with the greatest sense of pride.
To fathers who could make us shit our pants by just giving us one of their infamous side-eyes or a raised eyebrow. To the men who made us bust out in prayer with a simple voicemail stating, “Give me a call…lazem n7ki”. To the men we do not fear, but respect; because their expectations of us is to be perceived just as respectable.
To the men who put their hopes and dreams on hold to do what they believed was best for the people they love. To the men who left the greatest love of their life, their motherland, with one suitcase and twenty dollars to come to a place of uncertainty to try to uplift their family.
To the men who shaped our tastes with the classics of Um Khaltoom, Mahmoud Darwish and the Beatles. To the fathers who engaged our debating skills by challenging us with such arguments as “burrito vs. shwarma” or that Jerry Rice was the best wide receiver in the NFL. To the men who helped build our political savviness and taught us what it means to embody al watan.
To the fathers who taught us how to be street smart in the balad and book smart in the office. The fathers who pushed us to receive the best education out there and to chose a path, regardless of what it may be, and find success in it.
To the men who carry their heads held high despite the fact they’ve survived some of the most horrific moments in human history. To the men who teach us to hold our heads with that same inherited pride that signifies strength, intelligence and determination.
To the fathers who gave up their early mornings, late nights and weekends to put in hours at work. From the liquor store owner to the accountant, our fathers struggled – and I’m not talking about any type of struggle; these men overcame language barriers, racism and financial instability. Yet these men managed to assimilate without letting go of their heritage; as a matter of fact, they made sure to instill their heritage and values into their children.
The thing most people don’t understand about Arab fathers is that they are driven by their passions and that their number one passion is their family. An Arab father will do everything humanly possible to make sure his family would never have to endure the instability, deprivation or war he left behind in his homeland.
To the men who sacrificed the luxury of being selfish to provide us with everything we ever wanted. To those who stopped at nothing to give us everything within and outside of their reach to ensure we lived the lives they were not fortunate enough to attain.
To the fathers who set our standards of men so high because they exemplify how a man should treat people, especially the woman he loves. To the men who taught their sons not only how to be gentlemen, but to be honorable human beings. To the men who raised daughters to foster dignity and to never to take anyone’s shit because she was Bint [insert father’s name].
To the person we can’t handle being mad at us, the one we call to kill a spider, the one who cracks the funniest jokes about your mom’s side of the family. The man we call baba. You are our knight in shining armor, our first love and our role model. Thank you for being our guiding light and our fathers.
To my dad, Marwan, who is more Internet famous than me. You go, baba!
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss “To Arab Mothers On American Mother’s Day”.