What My Appa Means To Me - A Father's Day Tribute

On Father’s Day we honor our dads or those who filled the role of dad in our lives.  Enjoy this beautiful tribute by Janani Ramachandran, Social Services Coordinator at Mary’s Center. (Appa means Dad in Janani's native language, Tamil)

June 21st 1992: I chose to come into this world on Father’s Day. You and my mother are overjoyed that your first child is a baby girl, your little princess. You’re both a little scared, uncertain about what comes next. Yet that unwavering enthusiasm and affection you showed for me on my day of birth has only strengthened over these past 25 years, and is truly a gift I am most grateful for.

I am 5 years old. You squeeze my hand before I start the arduous bike ride uphill. Remember we are the power team, you chant. You can do it, keep saying that to yourself. You remind me that I have power, the energy of your compassionate words re-enforces the message that I can do anything I set my mind to. And succeed I did – I made it over that hill, and screamed with inexplicable joy while hearing your exuberant cheer on the other side of the hill.

I am 10 years old. We hang out like buddies on weekends when my mom is at work. You show me that living life a little on the edge is cool. We stuff our faces with Taco Bell and ice cream, and drive around the beautiful northern California hills slightly too fast, with Tamil pop music on blast, and have a ball. I miss these carefree Sundays where we forgot about the world and simply took time to laugh.

I am 18 years old. Your back isn’t doing so well on college move-in day, but that doesn’t stop you from hauling all my boxes and furniture into a tiny dorm room. We don’t need a break, you say. We got this. While my mother cries out anxious tears of separation, you give me that same look you gave when I was 5 years old and riding my bike uphill. The look that says, “You got this”, but also one that communicates, “And I also got your back”.

Appa and Janani

I am 25 years old. Whenever I’m visiting back home, we sneak away and recreate the mischief from my carefree childhood Sundays. We debate about political issues of the day, and although I will always be your strong-willed little girl, you never let me get away without really challenging my arguments and making me think. I respect you endlessly as my father, but now, you too respect me and my independent spirit.

Appa, you inspire me with your fierce, relentless work ethic, undying love for my mother, and affection for your entire family. You are a visionary for social change in all your professional endeavors, and you never give up. You embody the lessons you have always taught me: anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Your faith in me and my abilities give me strength to succeed, and we will always remain the power team for life.

About Janani Ramachandran

Janani Ramachandran is the Social Services Coordinator at Mary’s Center. She coordinates our Domestic Violence Advocacy Program and oversees the EMBRACE community health literacy program in PG County. Janani is also a local musician and actor, and enjoys using performance to promote awareness of social justice issues. She is originally from both the San Francisco Bay Area and Bangalore, India, and received her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.

More Father's Day Tributes

Daddy's Girl by Lyda Vanegas

What My Father Means to Me by DJ Tatro


Related Programs

Mary's Center's Father-Child Program


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