As it would be appropriate being Father’s Day (in Australia at least), I wanted to write about my father and I, and also about the other father figures in my life. All day at work, all I’ve wanted to do is go home to my Dad and hug him, and when I eventually did hug him, he pushed me off and said “Where’s my present?”
My father, Ma’atusi La’ulu, and I – if you can’t tell by the picture of us – are complete opposites (I demanded he take a picture with me in our QLD gear and he just continued watching TV as if I wasn’t there). He is quiet and reserved and rather introverted when catapulted into a social situation, whereas I am loud, outstanding and demand attention when with other people. He hates the idea of contemporary men’s fashion, constantly stating that “skinny jeans are for women”, while my whole wardrobe is pretty much as tight as spandex.
I find it difficult to maintain a lengthy conversation with my father even though I have the ability to talk until the cows come home. My father is more of a listener than he is a talker. Despite being often annoyed by my “Noahlicious” antics, the one thing that I have found my Dad gets really animated about when talking to me is rugby league; he’ll often sit with me when I am watching (yelling) at a Broncos game on TV and will tell me why he thinks a certain player is great and why a certain player is overrated and will go into great detail. It fascinates me how passionate he is.
My Daddy and I have one of the most unique father-son relationships I have noticed – it’s not the usual “take my son out to throw a ball” relationship. It’s more of a “I drag my father out to places he would rather not be just to keep me happy” and, now that he’s softer in his old age, I often get sassy with him if things don’t go my way and he just sits there and quietly takes it in. My mum doesn’t like how I speak to my Dad sometimes but I say “That’s how we communicate; I yell at him and he calls me stupid”.
My father is the hardest working man that I’ve ever met; the one thing that has been drilled into me since I was born was happily giving service to others. Daddy’s always helping people who don’t ask for the help but need it and never expects anything in return. He is half the reason why I am the man I am today. He’s not the perfect father – as no one in this world is perfect – but he’s pretty damn close to it.
The other fathers I would like to mention are both of my grandfathers, Koloti La’ulu and Rueben Paraha, the latter of which I was unfortunately never able to physically meet, and my oldest brother, Dane La’ulu, who is celebrating his first father’s day this year with his wife and baby boy.
As a “control-freak Princess” that I’ve been described to be, I am used to getting what I want, so when neither of my parents would give me what I want, I’d run to my granddad Koloti who would cave in just because of his gentle nature. And then I’d be like “IN YO FACE” to my parents. My father has this inability to tell people that he loves them so I’m always elated when Granddad tells me he loves me on the phone. After which, I tell my father “AT LEAST GRANDDAD LOVES ME”.
My brother Dane lives in (the better state) Queensland so I don’t see him as often as I’d like, but the last time I did, the change I saw in him was enormous – he is a fantastic father to my first nephew Drake and a great husband to my sister-in-law Jamie. It’s what fatherhood does to you, I’m guessing.
It may seem weird or unbelievable to some but I’ve always felt that I’ve had a special connection to my other grandfather Rueben, real name Taruna. While he passed away before I was born, I have a strong spiritual connection with him where I sometimes see him and speak to him in my dreams. Our connection is so strong that when I watched my parents wedding tape where he was present, I bawled my eyes out like I really knew him.
I’d also like to quickly make mention of the other father figures in my life who have treated me with such kindness in my life, Charles Leota, Vince Giuliano, just to name a couple. And also to the single mothers who take on the role as father for whatever reason, you women are amazing.
I’m going to wrap this up quickly so when my Dad gets home, I can give him his present he so desperately wants. Happy Father’s Day to all the hardworking, amazing fathers out there who have done incredible work with their children, and also to the single mothers who have the privilege of wearing both mother and father hats for their children. Enjoy the only day your kids will go out of their way to appreciate you!
– by Noah La’ulu