Dad’s House

Madrid, Spain

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When I was young, my dad built a house by himself; he saved his salary and bought materials such as bricks, cement, steel bars, and shovels, and piled them in the yard. I still remember my dad digging ditches, with beads of sweat on his forehead and dust on his face. In my eyes as a little child, the construction never seemed to end, and I did not understand why he worked so hard to build the house.

When I became an adult, the house my father had built for years was eventually completed. It was the most beautiful two-story house in the neighborhood. Exterior walls painted in great color, a garden for Mom, and the interior with the feeling of warmth . . . Every corner of the house and every brick contained my father’s love.

Whenever I returned home after work, I could feel how worth my father’s labor was. ‘How full is his heart?’ I imagined.

When I got married, I came to live in another country and my parents and sister did, too. When my parents settled down there for years, they had to sell the two-story house.

When we went there to leave the house empty for sale, I looked closely at the traces left in the rooms and the living room. The marks on the wall I put while playing with my sister, a window with my name, and a place where the picture frames were hanging . . . I finally burst into tears, feeling nostalgic.

Dad had never bought things for himself. He did not care how much it would cost to build a house, how long it would take, and what he should give up. He had bought the materials every month and built a house for a long time with the only will to provide a happy and comfortable space for us.

Most people today buy or rent a house that has already been built and repair it a little bit. But our house was very special. The house was built with all his love, patience, and devotion. How many people have lived in a special house that their father built?

To my shame, I have never expressed my love to Dad or my gratitude for his efforts. Whenever I see the stiff hands of my aged father, I am very sorry for not having given thanks to him for his hard work for my family.

The house must have been like a treasure to him, but he did not hesitate to leave it when he had to go to another country. No matter how wholeheartedly he built the house, the beautiful house without his family seemed to be meaningless to him. The most important thing to him was that everyone in the family lives together.

Dad becomes our home wherever we are. I am happy because I have a house called Dad. Thank you, Dad, for everything you did for us.