Letter for my dad
Wow. You’re 57 now. I wonder how I’ll be when I reach 57. I hope I can be as great as you are. I can say I’ve benchmarked something meaningful if, at 57, I’ve learned and lived the values you taught me just by being who you are.
Your head has one fine crop of white curly hair threatening to occupy the black. The oldies’ salt-and-pepper look: the kind that makes George Clooney ooze appeal in spite of his age. Don’t worry, you look every bit the man I’ve known you to be: beautiful inside and out.
Your temper, Dad. I’ve seen you try to rein it in, but the anger bursts in a split second, anyway. It doesn’t always happen; it’s just more frequent than usual. Maybe that’s the andropause kicking in, or your own children being royal hardheaded pains in the butt. It’s scary, though, when you snap. We don’t show it, but really, the five of us search with all our might for the nearest escape route every time.
I won’t hold that temper against you, with mine being so untamed and immature at times (it’s genetic, and it improves with age). Your children know well enough your superb skill at telling corny jokes. Only Mom humors you by laughing so wholeheartedly. I’m not scared of you. I respect you, and that’s where the fear of you comes from. But it will never be the kind of fear that resents.
I hope you can stop or ease up on the drinking. You look pregnant with that beer belly. I know it’s your way of de-stressing, your comfort, no matter how weird that may sound to me. But I can’t imagine you stopping drinking. It’s your days of glory lifestyle, huh? With six brothers, three sons and a fraternity to be with you and indulge in all things labeled “boys”. I imagine you in your high school seminarian’s uniform, being the altar boy with the temporary epiphany of becoming a priest… That’s just hilarious!
The homily at the last Mass reminded me of you. Father. A father’s love. I can’t thank God enough for letting me be your daughter. Right now my heart fills with so much love for you I can feel my tears sting, my chest heave. More so because I am not there with the family on your 57th birthday. I can’t even remember the last time I was with you to celebrate your birthday. I’m sorry. I pray that God bless your life with so much love that you will live to see your grandchildren and great-grandchildren squabble over the honor of sitting on your knee.
I love you. So much. I know I show you every chance I get, but still those kisses, the unexpected hugs, the love-you texts, the jubilant greetings, the rides to the city with you in your car whenever possible, the spontaneous smiles … there’s still so much love for you left in my heart it’s bursting at the seams with the need to express. Just a little of it I channel to you, hoping you feel it now, its warmth enveloping your good heart, that’s enough for me.
I wish that generous dollops of happiness and love will fill your life. You are the father all daughters would wish and pray to God for. And you are one to me.
I’m saying I’m one grateful and lucky daughter. I know my siblings feel the same way. We are a loved brood. I love you, Dad. Happy birthday. May you have more blissful birthdays and a blessed long life. And I promise, I will be there to celebrate with you, not only the birthdays but also the Father’s Days, the Christmases, the New Year’s Days, your children’s weddings, up until your nth wedding anniversary with Mom.
Maria Angela M. Villa, 23, is a sophomore at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.
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