To Dad. My Dad’s Day Greeting to You.

                It’s Fathers’ Day today and Dad deserves a little love. I can’t do the grand gesture of buying him nifty gadgets or bringing him out for a drink. I can’t afford those things, yet. So while I still have a lot of free time and a whole lot dependent on your earnings, I might as well write an essay on you that you might or might not read in the near future.

                Dad and I, well, we fought a lot during my early teen years. It always ended up with me sulking, hating him and on occasion having to cry my frustrations before falling asleep. But it wasn’t until a few years later that I would come to realize all those arguments, reprimands and sermons would have an effect on how I am today.

                I remember one of the first reprimands that I received when I was starting high school. We were having dinner and it was really good that I did not notice that I was practically stuffing my mouth. Dad caught me, and I had a bit of a scolding which made me hate the food I was eating at that time. I hated him and the really good-tasting food afterwards. The should-be ‘Happy Tummy’ kind of full to the tummy became the dull kind. That wasn’t the last time he ruined a good occasion.

                It was my birthday. I forgot which. It was time for me to blow the candles and then he had to ruin the moment with one of his sermons. It was awful that the entire table had to stay silent. I ended up blowing the candles with so much resentment that I deemed that day to be the worst birthday ever. It’s a bit funny now because I can’t remember what it was he said that had me all riled up.

                Just recently, a few months ago, I was on my way home and I was taking a different route but we ended up almost arriving at the same time at the tricycle station. He arrived a little earlier. He said he would wait. When I got there, I didn’t see him so I went ahead. Upon arriving home, I found out he wasn’t yet, so I called. Apparently, while I was relaying the events to Mom, laughing, Dad arrived and he caught me laughing and he got mad. Said I didn’t wait for him. I said I didn’t see him, I called but it went to divert. It always goes on divert. Kept him quiet. We didn’t talk for a couple of days after that.

                There were a lot more arguments and sermons over the years, most of which I cannot remember but when I do, it was always a ‘Dad was right,’ moment. Now, even if I would say I don’t care how other people eat their food, I take notice of how the people in front of me eat – the bulge on the cheek, the slight ‘chump-chump’ when they chew – yes, now I know why I got scolded that day. It’s irritating.

                But it wasn’t all bad. We had great times with Dad – we still do. Sometimes, it makes me think that it was all because he was getting old – entering the Androposal stage. Or the fact that he felt something not good – like his rheumatisms, gout or hypertension. Whichever cause, the good times trumps any other time with Dad.

                He’d tell stories about him when he was a grade-schooler, sneaking out of school through the whole in the school wall and then getting into trouble. He’d share the latest Bruno and Brownie joke he had heard from the radio. Mind you, it’s really funny when he tells it because he always misses delivering the punch line that you’d have to make him tell it again. And then there were times when he’d come up with a really good joke or comeback. Those were golden – but it usually happened when he was a bit drunk.

                Recently, he’s gotten to tell us about his days at work and the sarcastic banter he had with his colleague. At times, when Dad would tell the story, you’d be nervous about their banter, it is borderline foul. But when you keep listening, especially when Dad starts laughing that laugh of his, when his face gets rounder and his cheeks glow red and you become nervous that he might not be able to breathe, you tend to laugh with him in the end.

                That’s the thing with Dad, I never know what to expect. I’m always on my toes trying my best not to get scolded or reprimanded. All those sermons made me realize that I didn’t like to learn things from directly hearing the do’s and the don’ts. I liked conversations and learning from anecdotes. I liked it when Dad gave me advice that did not make me want to cry. He does that – even if he does not mean to. And he doesn’t know that many of his advices have made me cry a lot – made me think I was an idiot – but even if I hate to admit it, those were the advices that stuck.

                Dad never asks much from us but to do well in school and finish school. He always tells us to help the poor. To love our country. He always says that to be a leader, is to be the servant. He pushes us to socialize but to always go home early. He says I can date but asks who the guy friend I’m talking about is and what his parents do for a living. He always claims to be the cool parent. I won’t comment on that. But I will say that for all the times that I hated him, those were the times he was the good parent.

                I inherited alot of things from Dad. Like my big round head and broad shoulders. They say I even look like him – like his junior. His childhood friends even call me Raffy Junior. Dad loves it. I don’t but it’s rubbing off. We even share the same mannerism of rubbing our feet together to try to fall asleep. Then there are times when I think that I got the way I pick my own nose from him!

On a serious note, the thing I think I got from Dad (or learned because of him) that helped me a lot was being silent. Yes, I know most of you would not believe me because I can be really talkative but I have my moments. Anyway, my titas(aunts) always said that Dad was a silent guy. Well, there was a time that he was. We’d have really silent dinners together. Or we would sit in front of the television watching the news and he wouldn’t even talk during commercial breaks. Yes, there was a time like that. And I hated every Sunday because of that – having to be quiet of the uncomfortable kind. To be frustrated of not being able to know what’s going on in his head. But because of it, I learned how to talk in my head. To reflect on things. To try and see things from a perspective. In a way, I think it’s what made me become a little bit more sensitive to the people and things around me. And I thank him for that.

                Now though, he’s gotten over his brooding phase that we’d just let him talk and talk over dinner. Which is fine. I’m waiting on the next childhood anecdote or the latest Bruno and Brownie joke. I’m hoping I’d be hearing one of those today.

                Happy Dad’s Day, Dad. I love you.

                A

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