Father, Padre, Ama

Hola Amigos!!!..It’s Father’s Day, actually it depends on where you’re going to celebrate. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June as in the Philippines (where I came from), however, others recognized the event on different dates &  months like here in Guatemala, where fathers are being honored on June 17.

Growing up, back home and where I’m currently living now, Father’s Day is not actually that well celebrated. In my opinion, I think it has to do with the “macho culture” which both countries have. Where men are not really into showing emotions and celebrating an occasion to honor them. But of course, time changed and with the western influences, Father’s Day became popular and commercialized.

Personally, I think it is just right as well to honor our father like how much we value our mother. We can’t single out honoring just one of two parents, anyways; it takes two to tango in creating a child. So today, let me honor 3 fathers I know in my life.

My husband

Daddy
Daddy

I know it sounds a cliché or bias to say; my husband is the best father. Hands down. I admire his patience to our ever so inquisitive child. Between the two of us, he has more patience than I do. I’ll lose my mind with all our son’s questions about anything under the sun. He will answer all our son’s questions in a perfect way with examples included for difficult subject matter. It is understandable that he is also strict in raising our son, but I can say that he is sweet and endearing as well compared to all the latino fathers I met and seen. He makes sure that every day our son knows and feels how much he loves him. He is vocal and demonstrative about his love to his child.

Hubby is also a fast learner. He learned to play the guitar and saxophone recently and became a member of the orchestra. He is also academically smart, motivated & dedicated when it comes to his studies. He is a good provider and very resourceful. To my ex-boyfriend, my hubby, our papi….for the  love, patience & protection…. Gracias!

My Father-in-law

Papa Marco
Papá Marco

Let me say first that my father-in-law is OLD…but I mean it in a  good way. He is turning 87 years old this year and he is still in good shape. In 2010, he survived a brain surgery, removing a tumor because of a head injury he had during his younger years (it is more like an aftershock of that accident after so many years…weird). He recovered perfectly, as if nothing happened. Amazing isn’t it. He is the  father of 16 children. He remarried when his first wife died which left him with 8 children (all boys), then with his second family (where my husband belongs), he have 4 sons and 4 daughters. He definitely made sure he’s leaving a big legacy in this world with a big brood. Another admirable thing about my father-in-law, is that, he is an agriculturist.

He provided his children decently by tending his own land. He knows his land by heart. He may not have a degree on it, but I’m telling you that he is so knowledgeable about it and I think he knows more than those who went to school when it comes to agricultural matters. His expertise about agriculture is something that is passed down from generation to generation and from his own experiences of understanding how to tend his land and what nature has to offer. When his sons and other people ask him anything about farming, everybody listens and even myself, I eavesdrop to learn as well.

My relationship with my father-in-law I would say is quite formal. It is not that I can’t joke around him, but there is this kind of air of respect that I instantly felt that he deserved. He’s not just my father-in-law but a man of honor. One time, I had this short conversation with him. It was just the two of us, while I was doing the dishes in my in-laws outdoor sink and he was laying down in the hammock. He asked me how old I am. I replied “tengo 32, papá”. He answered back, saying that I’m still young and can have more children. Then he added how he feels for not having a grandchild yet from his other daughter-in-law. I always knew and can feel his happiness about all his grandchildren. Somehow, he made me feel his gratitude for me for letting him have the gift of grandchildren and the happiness that it gives him. Thank you for the lessons of life and giving your grandson his father.

My father

Papa
Papa

My relationship with my father is far from being picture perfect. Yet, he is my unsung hero. I grew up not having him by our side all the time because of his profession. My father is a soldier, a Navy officer to be exact. He spent more time in rescuing people when calamities strike in the Philippines than with his family, always on-duty. He was also present during some political turmoil in the country, as a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he is one of those soldiers that helped to maintain peace and order, like during the instability of the Estrada administration. He was also once deployed as a UN member of the peacekeeping delegation of the Philippines to Liberia during its civil war.

With his line of work, he was trained not to show emotions, to be strict, disciplined. Something that was extended at home. We are sort of organized dysfunctional family. Our family is not the “I love you”, “let’s hug” type of family. But we are trained that if someone hurts one of us, the entire family will go to war together. As much as possible my father wants to keep the family together all the time.

During my time in the university, he didn’t allow me to work when I told him that I want to study and work at the same time. He said I have to focus on my school and maintain the scholarship while my parents can still support me financially. He was particular about it, because he understands how hard that idea is. My father put himself through school by selling fish. My father is always proud of our accomplishments and he will brag about us to his friends non-stop. Sometimes, I get embarrassed when he does that. I felt it was too much compliments and will ask him to slow down. But he’ll continue doing it anyway, that is my father.

Couple of years ago, we found out that my papa was diagnosed with prostate cancer and been battling it secretly. His irrational behaviors can justify all those time of misunderstandings we have in the family especially between my younger siblings. He is saving his family from any form of pain especially his children. This news shook my world and it is now my constant fear, that we might lose him anytime soon and I can’t be there right away.

I don’t want it to be too late and my father will not learn that I’m proud of him. I always love the first man I ever loved and will always be. I thank him for what he has given me, the love, understanding, support, valor, most especially the freedom when it was my time to go. He is the best father he can ever be to us regardless of all the shortcomings. I understand him more now that I’m a parent. His words of wisdom to me growing up keeps on resonating as I raise my child. I love you papa.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. Enjoy the celebration while it lasts and children go ahead don’t be shy, shower your papa, daddy, papi, papu, tatay, or itay some sweet lovin.

Hasta luego.

Love,

Imelda