Thursday, November 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Papa

"You will never know how it feels to be a father until you become one". I used to brush up this saying since I don't believe it. I used to think that being a father is just a matter of responsibility. In a way, yes, since it is natural for people to look after their young. But I never thought of anything deeper than that until I became a father myself. And from then on I was never the same with regards to my beliefs.

I don't know what it is but it seems that I became a better person since Fergus came. I tend to be more sensitive to other people's feelings, I loved deeper and become more expressive to what I felt, more blessing came (not really much on the financial side but it's better than counting sheep), and the way I look at the world will never be the same. Maybe it's the invisible bond that connects you with your child. If you're a father you will understand what I'm trying to say. When you see your child for the first time you just have thess wild dreams and aspirations for your kid bombarded within your mind at the same time. It's a different kind of feeling. A feeling I've never experienced before. A high that felt way much better than sex or drugs. It's the feeling of fatherhood. An emotion that made you feel like you can do anything for the little child you're holding. And for the first time, I understand how my father feels towards me.

My father is a very simple man. Hailing from a not very known town in southern Philippines, He never had a chance of finishing his studies because responsibility towards family has knocked his doors at a very early stage in his life. Having parents who cannot afford to send him to higher school, and being the only male in the family, he had to find a way to make a living. This is by acting as an assistant to a passenger jeep collector while other kids his age are still playing. He climbed his way to being a collector, then to being a driver and eventually saved enough to buy his own passenger jeeps that later on multiplied to several units.

Raising eight children was never an easy task. And it's only when I'm older that I realized how much hardwork my father did just to bring food to the table and to send us to school. Having to wake up very early at dawn and sleep late at night. Hardwork that has finally caught up with his body now that he's a lot older than he used to. Yet being the hardworking guy that he is, he never failed to give time for his children. Like being a playmate and being a friend. Sure he has a hard way of dealing with us when we made mistakes. But we learnt from all of that. We learned to be responsible with our own actions. His principles are harder than rock and his word of honor are his treasure, which made him very dear to his friends and the people that knew him well.

He used to tell us over and over again that he loves us so much that he doesn't want us to experience the hard things that he had to go by, and that we have to study well to have better lives. He was always there. Laughing with us in moments of happiness and consoled us in times of weakness and defeat...

Today is my father's birthday. And once again I want to tell him how I appreciate all the love and all the hard work he has to endure just for us to be where we are now… And to tell him I'm sorry for not telling how much I love him all through these years. Whatever simple affluence I enjoy now I owe to him.

I do not want to follow in his footsteps, I just want to be in his shoes. I'd be lucky if I can be half a great father that he is. But I hope that maturity and wisdom that fatherhood earns will bring about this repose I so dearly long for. I can already identify some of him in me: my mannerisms, nuances, behaviour, and thoughts reflect his care; yet I can not shake the feeling that what he has, what he is, is purely unique than what I am or whatever I become. His approval is all I need for happiness, for he is my character role model, my life teacher, my conscience, my dear friend, my hero... My father.

And I know, being a father now I have an obligation, much more than the financial responsibility of showing my son, just as my father have shown me wholeheartedly-- that his happiness is my bliss, and that his loss is mine too.