Every evening, my dad calls me around 8 p.m. and asks me the same three questions:
1. How was your day? Good! Exhausting, but good. About to make dinner. You?
2. Anything new with Trump? I don't know. Probably.
3. When are you coming home? This weekend, I promise!
And it's honestly one of the best parts of my day. For the bulk of my life so far, my dad and I were inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Everyone knew me as Dr. Aziz Pirani's daughter.
But around my teen years, as I became more stubborn, outspoken and independent, the strings that kept our bond so strong weathered. With every fight, the distance grew. And we fought a lot. Still do.
I don't always understand my father. I'm not sure anyone ever understands their own. There are times I just want to scream and shake him until he puts his ego aside. There are moments I get so angry that I can't stop my own ego from clashing with his. I am so much like him that it's almost terrifying to admit.
We just got off the phone a few minutes ago and I started typing this up as tears welled up in my eyes. I often forget to remember how much he's changed for the better, and how much he's done for me. How he's loved me in his own ways and how painful our distance must have been on his heart if it still aches me to this day.
It's hard for me to talk about my relationship with my father without full-on sobbing. He is the only person in my world that I feel this painful need to impress. It was easy as a young girl. Going to mosque, singing with him, watching Bollywood movies together - I always felt like our relationship played such a big role in his happiness.
As an adult, it's like I'm always on the hunt for that same reaction from him. I'll try to tell him about something I wrote that I felt was important or tell him about my service work at mosque or something new I read in the news that I think he'd care about. But it doesn't always seem to work.
We watched Black Panther together last weekend. I'd seen it just two days before and knew my dad would love it, especially in IMAX. He has trouble watching movies without captions so I found a theatre with these CC devices that attach to your cupholder.
I held the device in place the entire time. Like all 3 hours. I knew it was already securely attached, but I just didn't want to risk it. I needed him to enjoy every single second of it. I just needed him to be happy. I don't know.
Sometimes I chalk this up as the immigrant's mentality. I've watched my superhero parents do the unimaginable. How can I give them anything but gratitude and joy in return? My mom is resilient and unemotional (she says so herself). She is very rarely visibly upset. But it's a gamble with my dad.
I just - I love my dad. I am angry with him often. But I love him. I hope he realizes how much.