Being a father begins upon the birth of his first child, continues with the birth of his other children, goes on when his children enter school and finish studies, pursues when his children get married.
The act of being a father doesn’t stop, and it will not. It is unconditional love.
A father doesn’t expect something in return for all his hard work and sacrifices for his family.
So, this father’s day, I would like to fill this blank sheet with the most important memories and lessons I’ve learned from the very first man in my life, my ‘papa’.
I was in grade six, and running for honors. Papa told me, “Kung ano man ang maging ranking mo, okay lang yan wag kang ma-pressure.” (Whatever ranking you get into, it’s just alright, don’t be pressured.) I bagged the third honorable mention.
Papa never gave me a standard that I need to achieve, but he constantly reminds me to do my best in all that I do.
I was first year high school. On my way home, I rode in a wrong jeepney, so I was lost to a strange place. I called papa and asked him to fetch me. In less than 30 minutes, he, along with my brothers reached me. While my brothers laughed at me, papa said, “Okay lang yan, first time eh, excused ka. Pero next time, hindi ka na excused.” (It’s okay, it’s your first time, and you’re excused. But next time you get lost again, it is not an excuse anymore.)
He has been always objective.
I was second year high school. I became a victim of bullying because of my naïve demeanor. I had almost given up, but papa stayed at my side, and told me, “Kung magpapaapekto ka sa kanila, sino ang talo? Pabayaan mo na sila, prove them that you’re more than what their eyes can see.” (If you’ll be affected by them, who lost? Don’t mind them. Prove them that you’re more than what their eyes can see.)
On the recognition day, I bagged honors and special awards.
Those words have stayed with me until this day. Every time I felt like giving up, I would always remember those powerful words.
I was in college, taking up an Education course. I really planned to take up Journalism or Creative Writing, but didn’t pass the entrance exams in order to enroll in some major universities in the Philippines. I passed the exam at Philippine Normal University, and enrolled soon after.
Papa said, “Okay lang ‘yan, if you want to be a writer, you will be one. Mag-attend ka ng mga writing workshops. Don’t stop writing, practice lang nang practice.” (Everything will be fine. If you want to be a writer, you will be one. Attend writing workshops. Don’t stop writing, practice more.)
He has been always supportive of me. He looks for workshops and seminars that I can attend so I can develop my writing skills.
I was a graduating student at PNU; I dropped three of my subjects to accommodate some writing gigs at a local newspaper. Result: I became an Octoberian (graduation was delayed for one semester).
I knew then that my parents were really disappointed upon knowing it. They even talked personally to my professors to allow me to graduate on time, but didn’t get what they want.
At first Papa was reluctant on talking to me; he was just quiet. After half a day, he told me, “Sayang, cum laude ka sana kung di ka nag-drop ng mga subjects mo, sabi ng mga professors mo.” Then, he smiled, “Di bale, nag-eenjoy ka ba d’yan sa mga raket mo?”
(You’ve lost your chance to be a cum laude. Your professors told us that if you didn’t drop your subjects, you must have graduated with honors. But it’s just alright; do you enjoy your writing gigs?)
Papa would always tell us, his family, whatever makes you happy, makes me even happier.
After working for two years in a BPO company, I’ve decided to pursue teaching—to give it a try. I would admit that it was quite tough, despite of the smiles and kisses, plus chocolates I’ve been receiving from my preschooler-students everyday; I still felt that something was missing.
So, I quit from teaching, and pursued writing.
Papa has been always there to support me. He has been always my mentor and my critic. I let him read my articles, poems and stories; he gave constructive criticisms every time, sometimes it would hurt, but this had molded a better writer in me.
He is the happiest every time he sees my name on the byline; he makes it known to our relatives, neighbors and friends. If he can buy all the copies, he would do.
The day before my wedding day, papa was just smiling at me, “I am happy, because you got a good man to be your husband.”
Until now that I’m married, and living separately from him, I always make sure that I visit him once, twice, or more often a week. He has been always my source of strength and inspiration, so I would not want to miss special moments with him.
Happy Father’s Day Papa!