Ever since I was a little girl, I have always admired my father. He is the type of man crazy enough to yell at a TV screen thinking those on the other end will hear him. He likes to sing Lebanese songs while he cooks traditional foods, and everyone loves his voice. He is not embarrassed of anything; in fact, I used to get embarrassed for him.
But after years of growing up trying to be like him, I learned to encourage the things he does, no matter how humiliating they are. I am proud to share some of his greatest stories with my friends, hoping that my life will be just as adventurous as his.
One of those memorable stories involves the both of us. When I was a little girl, I liked to hang around the living room while Nounou (my dad) was flipping through channels on the TV. He never had a favorite show that he liked to watch at a certain time or on a specific channel — except soccer. I grew up learning to love the sport. Nounou loved inviting other people to our house just to watch his favorite team, Liverpool, play against others. When I was younger, I did not understand much about the team members or, frankly, the other teams that participated in the league, but I always knew that Liverpool was the best.
I entered middle school with the same mindset. One day during lunch, I heard some guys talking about the Premier League. I joined in on the conversation and let them know what my favorite team was. But as soon as they were talking in specifics about what was going on, I did not understand what they were saying. This upset me. How could that team be my favorite if I didn’t know a single thing about it?
I decided to do some research when I came home. After learning about the members of the team, their statistics and the overall recent news, I finally realized how much I was missing. I started to love the team even more than I thought I already did. Eventually, I sometimes knew when Liverpool was playing before my dad did. It was always fun to tell him things about the team that he did not already know.
Rather than nodding along and pretending like I understood what they were saying, I was able to begin and hold conversations with some of my friends regarding soccer. These friends eventually became some of my closest friends who I still keep in touch with today.
When I thanked my dad for helping me make some of my greatest friends, he told me, “It wasn’t just me, you know. This is your favorite team too.” Nounou always knew that he is a great influence on my life. So by saying this to me, he knew that I would be proud of myself for gaining interest in something, not just because he liked it as well, but because I brought myself to learning about it on my own.
Nounou taught me the best lesson by letting me learn it by myself. I know now that simply looking up to him teaches me the value of independence and individualism. I used to try so hard to impress my dad by being just like him, but I know now that I can do the exact same thing without even trying. I am very glad that I have grown to be my own person, and it makes me exceptionally happy knowing that it includes the adventurous and bold personality my father passed on to me.