Where does pride come from? Where does it exist in our minds and hearts that it allows us to feel a swelling deep down emotion of sincere genuine happiness for someone else’s accomplishments? How does it turn our day from grey to bright shining yellows and blues with a mere mention of the greatness that exists in someone we love?
My father is running, swimming, and biking a triathlon. My father. A triathlon. I find it inexplicable the emotion I feel inside me when I say those words aloud. My father is a deep blue sea of love and sincerity. But he is like a cactus in the never ending desserts of Arabia. You want to get the water inside more than anything in the world, but often times you have to battle against the prickly thorns and unfavorable shell to get to the juice that resides within. Fortunately, I am one of very few people who know just where to poke the cactus to get all the brilliance inside, no holds barred.
It is safe to say that my father is one of the most intelligent, worldly, jaded people I know. He is the reason I travel, the reason I study, the reason I read, the reason I run, the reason I am mildly insane, and half the reason I want to change the world.
When he told me about this absurd adventure he was embarking upon, I gasped in amazement and part bewilderment that he would even be willing to take on such a challenge. My father is an athlete at heart, but a true Punjabi lives inside there as well. Those two people do not tend to live happily ever after alongside one another. I held back my words of wisdom that joyous day and refrained from voicing the incessant buzz in my head that said, “That’s great, but really?”
I remembered his encouragement at my soccer games, his enthusiasm in helping with my engineering homework, his face at the finish line of my first race. I glanced in the rearview mirror of my childhood and saw a girl that could propose First Female President of the United States, whose father would reply, “How many terms?”
I realized that day that my father has never doubted me. He has been my sunlight and my energy. He tries to shade me from the painful and shine light upon that which is exceptional. For 23 years he has been proud of me, and today I get to return that bottomless well of pride to him, as today he has shown me, more clearly than ever, that greatness resides within, and anything is possible in this world. “As long as you put your mind to it.”