I remember when I was younger, my mom said the reason my dad and I always clashed was because we were too much alike. I always thought we looked alike but I wasn’t sure how else I was like him. He is sort of reserved while I am an extrovert. He can be strict while I am not….
I always say that I never really knew my father growing up – oh he was a presence of course, but he was always working. This is typical of most Filipino fathers, I think.
When my mother passed too soon, my siblings and I were left with a father we hardly knew. Yes, we’d always lived in the same house and he was always THERE but then we never got to know him. We never shared a joke. We didn’t know what made him laugh. It was always mom that was there at school, picking us up, hanging out. So you can imagine, it was pretty rough – many nasty words were exchanged.
But we survived that rough patch, and today I have a totally different relationship with my dad. I think things took a turn for the better when he acknowledged that at 18 (when I had lost mom), I was practically an adult – he couldn’t MAKE me someone else, someone I wasn’t. For my part, it was when I accepted that he was the only father I had, that he was MY father, that things took a turn for the better. And then I got married and moved away. It’s funny but I have never felt closer to him than now. I feel like I can tell him anything –though we speak in code — years of not communicating has taught us this – so we talk about business and books and current events. We don’t say I love you and express our feelings but they do come through. I know he loves me and I love him. Actions speak louder than words.
Now that I am a parent, I can totally understand why my dad was the way he was – a product of his time and culture. I think he wishes he had spent more time with us kids but I think he has more than made up for it. He is a doting grandfather to his grandkids. And when I watch him baking cupcakes with my younger son or chatting with my older son, I see a completely different father- I think that’s the way he wished he was with his own kids but it’s all good. He’s here for us now and though he may not be very expressive or affectionate, we feel it in our bones, we feel it and know it in the way my siblings and I are bringing up our own kids… with respect, patience, understanding and love.
Happy Father’s Day Papa!
And to my wonderful husband – the best father in the world to our boys! Happy Father’s Day.