Let the record show that on this day 59 years ago, Vatau Siaki Su'a (Rocky) was born. Where do you even begin with this one? Everyone (almost everyone) thinks their dad is the GREATEST, and I suppose in one way or another we can completely justify WHY are dad is the best...here are my justifications (disclaimer: my intnent is not to convert anyone into believing my dad is the world's greatest...but if it happens...just go with it, you will be blessed).
25. Dad grew up in a semi-third world country, and against all odds has made a home and a life for himself & his family.
24. He has mastered 2 instruments: a. the ukulele b. his voice (side note: he has recently developed a taste for the piano and is working on mastering that talent as well). Growing up we all have memories of dad sitting out on the porch in the late afternoon (dusk time) with his ukulele and serenading the neighborhood. Whenever we had luau's, parties, get togethers etc etc Dad was always the entertainment. Wonderful wonderful memories.
23. He is the comedic relief in the family. Dad has always been a comedian. He's done plenty of shows and MC'd plenty of events/activites/programs etc, and somehow he always manages to bring the house down. Jamie, and Mikey have certainly inherited their comedic side from dad. Needless to say...laughter is always a huge part of our household.
22. His accent....which is fading fast....since English is his 2nd language there were times where conjugations were incorrect...words were mispoken...and our jokes were at HIS expense. It was at an early age that we noticed dad wouldn't say things correctly and they quickly became family jokes...here are some examples (I love you dad)
a. CUT IF OFF! He would always yell at us to "cut it off." One night at the dinner table (we were all really really young...and annoying) Dad sternly told us to "cut it off." Somehow (I seriously don't know what came over me) I mustered up the courage and timidly said "Dad, it's cut it out, not cut it off." *ROARS of laughter* and just like that....we were never the same.
b. When I was 9 yrs. old I got a bad case of pink eye (not fun) we made a few trips to the dr and for the most part it was clearing up....one day after my dad got home from work he inquired as to how I was doing...."Let me see your eyes-ez" (double pluralized)....I couldn't help but laugh....we STILL tease him to this very day about it.
21. Dad is the HARDEST worker I have ever seen. I kinda get choked up just blogging about it. He works hours upon hours...day after day...14 hour days....15 hour days....and when he comes home to his family he is HAPPY....ready to hear about our days and how they went. Because of this single act I cannot bring myself to complain about my 8 hour/9 hour day at work no matter how bad of a day it was. He has taught me so much about the aspect and the importance of work exclusively through his example.
20. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to go ANYWHERE without someone knowing Vatau/Rocky Su'a. As soon as someone sees my last name the first question out of their mouth is "Do you know Vatau/Rocky?" They then proceed to tell me crazy stories about my dad...which I love.
19. I have to tell this story b/c I think it's not only a funny story but it's priceless. When Dad was 10 yrs. old he was approached by missionaries (LDS) to be baptized. Being 10 yrs. old one might argue that he probably wasn't the most qualified at making life changing decisions, capable but not qualified, but the missionaries had something that dad COULDN'T say no to. Ice cream. And just like that the deal was sealed, he sold his soul for ice cream. He was baptized that week. The next week he went back to get baptized again....and also for the free ice cream. The missionaries turned him away informing him he could only be baptized once and he had met his quota for this lifetime. Discouraged, disappointed, & sad he went on his way. He went about his mischievous life and a few years later developed an interest in attending "The Church College of Western Samoa" (better known as CCWS). Tuition was high however, members of the LDS church were given a discount on the tuition....as fate would have it 3 years prior to his interest in attending CCWS Vatau became a member of the LDS denomination (in his humble attempt for free ice cream). I remember him telling me later that he developed his testimony while studying at CCWS. Later he went on to serve an LDS mission in/for the Apia, Samoa Mission. I've never thought of ice cream in the same way.
18. He has ALWAYS put his family first. If this blog was strictly about how he has put his family first, you would be reading stories for days...it would be chuck full of heart touching stories. One in particular that will always make me proud (to be his daughter). While dad was a student here in America he worked 2 or 3 jobs (at least) so that he could make enough money to support himself and also his Grandmother(who raised him) Fa'ilagi who lived in Samoa. Think of your young adult life for a moment. Can you imagine supporting you AND your family? He is selfless and has always been a "giver." He is the least selfish man I've ever known.
17. If there is anything on my plate that I can't finish, don't like, or don't want rest assure that my dad will take care of it for me. Now some of you may be thinking "what? why would she include this in her list?" It's a comfort thing. That may sound so ridiculous to you, but I know when I sit down to eat I don't have to worry about not finishing my plate. Nothing goes to waste, I don't feel guilty for squandering perfectly good food. It's comforting to know that my dad will take care of me in that aspect. Side note: I've never met another guy/boy/man (not even my brothers) who can do this.
16. How could you NOT love his step-by-step instructions. It doesn't matter what you're doing, if dad is around he will give you step-by-step instructions on how (he thinks) things should be done. Patience is required for this one. I just have to sit back and laugh.
15. Dad is one laid back cat UNLESS mom is out of town. I don't know why, but when mom is home we can do/say/go/be/ anything/anywhere and he would never make a fuss. When mom is gone be prepared to be on lockdown. I guess it's a papa bear thing which is endearing. Being the cunning & creative girl that I am, I've mastered the task to persuade dad into letting me out of the house while mom is gone. It took several years but I finally got it down packed. Shhhh....don't tell...
14. Growing up dad didn't have pants he had JAMS! Definition of Jams: brightly colored/patterned shorts that my Grandma or Mom would make. Jams were worn with bright t-shirts, a hat, and sandals. NO ONE can pull this look off....except dad.
13. I love dad's personality. I love that he can tease us but at the same time discipline us. Dad loves to have a good time, and we love to have a good time with him!
12. His Chop Suey is the BEST Chop Suey. He is such a sensational cook. He uses no measuring utensils, no recipes. Talent folks, pure talent.
11. He has always been our greatest protector. When I moved out of the house the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, time etc I never felt as safe as I did when I was at home. His presence is not only a comfort but it's an outward statement that I am safe and that I'm not scared of anything....with him around.
10. My siblings don't even know this story. I was astounded when I heard it. Dad was a performer (we established this earlier in this post) I've often wondered why he never took it to the next level. One day I was talking to him about it. I found out (long story short) that he was approached by a very influential Hollywood agent, with an opportunity that would guarantee fame and fortune. After much thought & consideration decided that his family was more important and that if he took that path of fame, that his family life would not be what he wanted it to be. He was offered ridiculous amounts of money. As I put myself in that position I would be in torment deciding what to do. As dad was telling me the story it was as if he was talking about doing dishes...it meant nothing to him.....the money, the fame, the fortune, the opportunity was nowhere near how important his family was/is to him.
9. One thing I love about dad is that even though I am his favorite (and everyone knows it) he still insists on claiming Jamie, Manti, and Mikey (individually...one by one) as his favorite just to make me jealous....*whispers* guess what....I know I'm you're favorite dad....no matter what you say...sorry about it :)
8. If you tell dad something embarassing that happened to you....he'll remember if forever and ALWAYS bring it up at the most inconvenient time. It's good for a laugh if it's not at YOUR expense :)
7. Oh this one I LOVE. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of how dad was such a trouble maker (see # 2)....in fact if I had a dime for every story I've heard I would have my college tuition paid for, and probably a house to go with it. Knowing that he is mischievous I can see where we all get our "trouble-making" side.....and he STILL gets mad at us for trouble we cause...but technically....it's HIS fault...we're HIS children....with HIS genes....and HIS character....hmmmm...where's the justification in this? Ha ha ha
6. He won't let me mow the lawn. He'll let everyone else in the family do it....except me.....
5. When Jamie and I were 7 and 8 dad gave us nicknames and has called us his Princess (me) and his Angel (Jamie) ever since. I have always loved it.
4. He invented "Common Sense." Oh, you didn't know? He invented it, and apparently is the only person who has it...so.......good luck guys.
3. A few months ago the house was empty it was a Sunday Evening...I walked back to Dad's bedroom and heard him singing....he was watching "The Sound of Music" and was singing (every single word to) "I am 16 going on 17." I just sat and listened. When he figured out I was standing there giggling he told me how "The Sound of Music" was the first movie he ever saw. As a little boy he would work and as soon as he earned a dime he would go to the movie theatre and watch "The Sound of Music:" he said he saw it over and over again. I often forget that Dad was a little boy once. I have to give thanks to the childhood he had, because his childhood has helped to shape our lives. Dad has told me that he knew what it was like not to have money, and he has never wanted us to feel that way. I can honestly say that I have never wanted for anything, Dad has always given us and provided for us everything we have ever wanted. As an adult I realize the sacrifice and efforts he made to make us happy. Those memories are simply irreplaceable.
2. This is my FAVORITE story of Dad. While attending CCWS there came a day in his Religion class where the class was supposed to have a test. The class was panicking b/c nobody was prepared for the exam. Because they attended "The CHURCH College of W. Samoa" they began every class with a word of prayer. In the midst of all the stress the teacher began the class and asked for a volunteer to pray. Vatau volunteered. He began to pray.......for the ENTIRE duration of the class....he blessed every individual person in the room.."please bless Alipate Schwenke with his temper, sometimes he loses his temper so please help him to keep his temper, please bless Sia sometimes she gets mad, and yells at us so please help her not to get mad" *bell rings indicating class is over* "Amen" Dad prayed the WHOLE class time and dodged the exam....hero of the class! The teacher was furious...but they couldn't interrupt the sacred prayer that was being offered. How clever! What a genius! In all my years of scheming and plotting to get out of school work...I never came up with something like that. Ahhh! I love that story!
1. Lastly....from the many stories I've heard about Dad I've come to know that he dated a lot of girls (which is not a bad thing)...and out of all the girls he dated he chose the best one, my Mom. I think that was the best decision he's ever made. They compliment each other, they fit. They love each other and they love us. They have built such an incredible, and EXTRA-ordinary life together. None of us would be who we are without them....Dad has had such an impact on all of our lives and I can't express how much we love him (especially me). Manuia le aso fanau Dad. You are the World's Greatest! We need more men like you in this world. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me because he blessed me with YOU as my father. No one can take your place, you're one of a kind...in good times and bad I love you so much!