To my daughters by Ibrahim Ali Al Mheiri

21st June 2022 Father’s Day

Our fathers often turn out to be our first guides who teach us valuable life lessons and our first best friends who will stick by us no matter what. My father was a central figure in my life, and the day I lost him was one of the most painful days of my life. He is the reason behind who I am today. He taught me the importance of education, of why looking after myself was just as important as looking after my own family, and the ones I love. He taught me to always maintain a good relationship with my community, and that family always comes first.
If there’s one thing, I’ve learnt about myself, it’s that I’m a lot like my father. Coming from an army background, we didn’t come from a lot of wealth, but I don’t think we ever felt deprived in any way.
My parents worked hard and made many sacrifices so that they could secure a better future for us. Those sacrifices were never in vain. It was his struggles that inspired me to complete my studies, the impetus I needed to enter the private sector in the UAE around 20 years ago, and the motivation I needed to prove my worth and change people’s perceptions of my abilities. My father’s guidance and lessons are deep-rooted within me and define my relationships to this day. He told me that people may not always be good, but that good deeds always come around. He was a good man, and he taught us well. When he left us in 2018, he had already given us the knowledge and wisdom we needed to lead a good life. As a father, I hope to do the same for my two beautiful daughters. I don’t want them to face the struggles that my father and I did. I want them to live a happy life, to grow up to be strong, independent women who are ready to face life’s challenges head on. When my children ask me why I go to work, I tell them I do it for them, and it is no lie. I enjoy spending time with them. I love taking them shopping at the mall, I love how happy they are when I book hotels so they can swim in the pools, and I especially love the family vacations we take at least once a year. As a parent, I do however know that as they grow older, they must learn the importance of discipline and family. I try to carry forward my father’s teachings by helping them understand the importance of family and self-care, to help them understand that education will give them the edge they need to do well in this world. Small life lessons, like teaching them to manage their own finances, will, I believe, stand them in good stead in the future. When my father passed away, my eldest daughter asked me why we couldn’t visit him. She was still young so I told her that we couldn’t because he had decided to go to heaven. Her reply is something that sticks with me to this day, something that never fails to remind me of my responsibilities as a father and the significance of the role I play in their lives.

She told me she didn’t want me to ever go to heaven, and that she wanted me to stay with her forever.

This is something that hits me every day. When I’m upset, or struggling with something, I remember that my daughters want me to be there for them, and I know I will do whatever it takes to do just that.

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