Yesterday was Father's Day and that got me thinking about fathers in general.
One of the reasons I accepted Tetsu's marriage proposal 28 years ago was because I knew absolutely that he'd be a wonderful father. And I was certainly right about that! There is no doubt that Tetsu has a wonderful mix of authority and lovingness about him and he has taught Takumi and Leiya through words and actions. But I have to admit that a father's role is different in Japan than what it is in America.
Almost every time I turned around this weekend people were talking about how fathers should be there for their children (Parents should be there for their children!) but I have a feeling that Tetsu and I never really were. Part of it is Japanese society, the Japanese fathers are too busy with their work, the children are more attached to their peers. Part of it is just Tetsu and me. Tetsu is a workaholic if ever there was one and my own parents both worked full time so I naturally fell into Tetsu's busy way of life too.
While in Ohio I noticed how much Leiya's host family's life revolved around the children's swimming activites and since we've been in California I've watched how Keion and Marcy devote their time to the kids' sports activities. Keion helps coach softball at least three times a week, both Keion and Marcy go to the games to cheer Kiana on and just let her know they are behind her 100%. The family enjoys going to baseball games and they do things on the weekends as a family. All the kid's trophys are displayed proudly and a lot of time, money, sacrifice and FUN goes into being with the family. Tetsu and I never did that. Tetsu helped with a judo class but I think the kids did judo because Tetsu was doing it, not vice versa. I attended Leiya's kendo (bamboo sword fighting) games when she was in jr. high but never understood it and usually kept my eyes closed when Leiya was whacking and being whacked!
This isn't really leading to anywhere. Both Takumi and Leiya have become wonderful young people and Tetsu and I are very proud of them. I've often thought that both kids could have really become confused with the different cultures and ways of thinking thrown at them but they turned out pretty normal by both Japanese and American standards! I know that a major reason is that Tetsu has been a solid rock for our whole family and I think the kids know that too.