|image from google|
The month of June is the month for Fathers - Daddy, Papa, Tatay, Ama - however you call them. Thanks to the advertisements and the social media, we are reminded to think about them on Father's Day.
I have read some articles of daughters, sons and mothers talk about the greatest man of their lives. I guess it's time for me to talk about mine.
To tell you the truth, I really don't know much about my Tatay. He wasn't around as I was growing up because my Nanay kicked him out of our house when I was 6. I remember how confused I was with what was going on while my little brother, who's a year younger than I am, cried so hard as if he knew what was happening. And I just stood there as I watched my father leave.
I basically grew up in a household without a father figure. My mother being a working Mom didn't have all the time to really look after us. So we basically do whatever we want as long as we're there when she gets home from work. Until one day, in my freshman year in high school, my father came back. It felt surreal but he was there at our doorstep, looking all surprised seeing his all-grown up teenage daughter. I was dumbfounded but I think I felt happy about him being home. That was the first time I remember I sat on his lap. Finally, I have my Tatay home with me.
It wasn't long before he discovered how rebellious I was. He wanted me to just stay at home and do the unending chores he's expecting his little girl to accomplish. We didn't get along because of his rules and because I was an angry kid. I didn't know how to express my feelings about everything. I did not really give myself a chance to get to know my father. I kept my distance from him.
I just knew him as a man for the oppressed laborers. He represented them along with his colleagues in the union. Yes, my father was an activist. One of the great men of KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno). A lot of people looked up to him but me. Well, again, because I was an angry kid.
Looking back, I knew my father tried his very best to reach out to me. He bought me nice clothes, chocolates and boxes of fresh milk and whitening soap whenever he came home from work. It's funny because he wanted me to stay at home so that my skin won't get sunburned. That's what the soaps and boxes of milk were for. So when he learned of me joining the softball varsity team, he was so mad that he set up the 6 o'clock curfew. I had to rush home after the games.
I was a tomboy and he wanted very much for me to be lady-like. I remember how happy he was when he learned I was taking piano lessons. He was there when I won first place on my piano recital. That was the only time we had our picture taken together.
I remember the last day I saw my father. He asked me to take care of the house and my mother. Him and my brother were leaving for Manila that day. He told me to take very good care of myself. I can't remember if there were hugs and kisses, though. But for some odd reason, I felt it was our last time to see each other. I was so sad as I watched him leave and I cried profusely. After a month or so, he died of cardiac arrest.
I didn't know if I ever made my father proud when he was alive. All I know is he loved how I make his coffee and that he appreciated how tedious I was when it comes to ironing his clothes. I know in those simple gestures, I was able to make him happy.
If I wasn't an angry kid most of the time, I would have had that chance of a "father-daughter talk" that I always dreamed of. If I wasn't an angry daughter, I would've known my father even better. There are just a lot of "what ifs" for me. All because I let my anger take over me most of the time. If he's still alive today, I'd thank him for my life and that I'm proud to be a daughter of an activist. I'd hug and kiss him once in a while. I would love to know more about him if only I did not waste so much time hating.We may have different views in life, but I'd tell him it's alright. I would love to listen to him now.
I think he would be proud of me this time. I have changed, Tatay. I'm not the angry little kid anymore. If only you can see me now.
My father is Aurelio G. Cruz - an intelligent union leader.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads in the world...