Growing up as a 1st-generation child can be a confusing and frustrating thing.
As a teenager, it felt like my dad was more meddlesome in my day-to-day life than my friends' parents (there were barely any Indians who went to my high school). I felt like I was constantly battling him about one thing or another; he wouldn't let me just be me.
Why was I wasting time doing theater?
Why were girls calling our house?
Why did I get an A- instead of an A?
My freshman year of high school, we had parent-teacher conferences coming up. Up to this point, Mummy had gone to all of them, and there was no reason to think it would be any different this time.
However, Daddy said he was going to go instead because he wanted to meet my teachers. This really annoyed me because he could come off as a jerk and I was convinced he would embarrass me in front of my teachers.
The next day, I spoke to my history teacher, Mr. Rosati, to warn him about how my dad can be a jerk before the conferences later that night (and also to ask him to go easy on me since Rosati had some concerns about my occasional lack of discipline ;-). The conferences occurred and we didn't talk about it when he got home. The next day I spoke with Rosati at the end of the day and immediately began to apologize for my dad.
But Rosati stopped me just as quickly.
He said he was a bit nervous to meet my dad, but once he did, he said (to the best of my memory):
"Manoj, all I saw was a dad who loves his children more than anything else in the world and wants what is best for them. He may come off another way to you, but you know that everything he does is because he loves you."
And again, I felt like crap because I knew it was true. Being a teenager is tough; but the great thing is that all teenagers grow-up and many realize that their elders who gave them the most grief were the ones who loved and cared for them the most.