Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fathers and Sons

My father's eldest brother came back from the States for a vacation. He dropped by the house to visit my dad and me.

At one point, we were laughing uproariously at something funny that my tito said. When we finally settled down, he made a remark that struck a chord in me.

"You know what, you laugh like your Dad."

I grew up with absentee parents. The nature of their work was that it required them to be out of town for long stretches. Their frequent absences at that time didn't really cross my mind until much later on when I was an adult. After all, the house was clan central, and I grew up in the company of my grandfathers, titas, plus a whole gaggle of cousins. Company definitely ran a-plenty.

But I digress.

Looking back, I'm not surprised that my parents' marriage didn't last. The the stress and demands of their jobs must have put a tremendous strain on their relationship. By that time, my mom was already based in another country; and I had been staying with my dad in Manila.

I always appreciated how my Dad brought me up: a little pep talk and sharing here and there, a lot of trust, and definitely no melodrama. In other words, he treated me as an individual who was capable of making decisions for himself. He respected that I had my own life to lead, and I respected that he had his own. That's why when my mom asked me if I wanted to join her in making a new life abroad, it was a no-brainer choice for me. I remained in Manila with my dad.

But my dad is no saint, despite the claim of one of his sisters. He definitely has his own kinks and imperfections. And for a time, it was something I was afraid of turning out to be. The mango doesn't fall far from the tree, so to speak. However, time has a wonderful way of putting things into perspective. I now realize that all the good and bad things about my father is part and parcel of what he is. Take away either part, and he won't be the same dad that I know. I, too, am far from being perfect; and yet he has loved and accepted me as an individual, and more importantly, as a son. These are the very realizations that make me stop and be thankful that he is my father, and that I am his son.

Yes, Tito, I do laugh like my dad. And I wouldn't want it any other way.


  1. This is a nice post. you're lucky, i grew up without a father. while he's making up for the absence in my life now we're having a hard time connecting with each other.

  2. Beautiful post, written simply and honestly.

    You're lucky to have such a father. Like engel, mine was a pretty-much absentee one, too, and making connections now is awkward and clumsy.

    But we try. We try.

  3. What a lovely post EW! Thanks for this. Parang it feels like there was no drama at all, which is so uncommon in families. Hmm.. :)

  4. Love this post. Na miss ko Tatay ko. - EC

  5. Engel: though i'm pretty close with my mom, yeah, i guess i still consider myself a papa's boy :D

    Rude: thanks! as the saying goes, there's nothing to lose, and everything to gain when we try ;)

    PKF: well, it wasn't all smooth sailing in the family, but everthing was approached in a calm and rational dialogue hehehe

    EC: Aaaaw, salamat po sa comment at pagdaan sa blog!

    Tingin ka lang around, at sana ma-enjoy mo rin yun mga ibang sinulat ko :)

  6. I'm glad that you have a great relationship with your dad.

    my dad ang I used to be best friend. I didn't know what happened but we just fell apart. 'til one day he left us, choosing his pride over family.

  7. Xtian: yeah, I guess I'm lucky with that :D

  8. Keith has left a new comment on your post "Fathers and Sons":

    I laugh. Some people say I am just like my mother. some say I am like my father. Either way, both my parents are strange, and they are normal. I am blessed to have their wisdoms and their neuroses. I am grateful to stay alive long enough to see the beauty of all of it


    And I say amen to that!

    Thanks for passing by, Keith! Sorry I accidentally deleted your comment, but by all means, please feel free to read around my blog :)