It’s February 18 today, and I’m happy. And it’s a big deal.
|With Daddy (beaming with pride, I believe!) on my wedding day (January 6, 2001).|
You see, it’s my Dad’s birthday, and today I remember him with happiness in my heart, instead of sorrow and grief. This day is unlike the previous birthdays which had been punctuated by sadness and longing for the man who left us some four years ago. This day, I feel more alive than ever, and grateful that he had been a part of my life.
Had he been alive today, he would have been 69.
I could look at his photos now and not shed a tear. I find myself smiling “with” him in the photos, thinking of how happy he must have been during those times. And yes, this is a big deal, because for the first few years after he died I couldn’t look at pictures of him without my heart being ripped into a million pieces.
I would like to think of the times we spent together, not of the times we spent apart. I would like to recall and relieve the moments we shared laughing like small kids, poking fun at ourselves like naughty rascals, instead of the heart-wrenching, emotional conversations we had on the phone during his last days at the hospital. Enough. It is time to move on.
Even as I type now, I remember him. I could type on the keyboard without looking at the keys, you know. And do it quite fast, too. He taught me how to do that, using our old mechanical typewriter. He taught me how to read and write. He taught me how to do arithmetic. I learned how to paint and draw because of him. Now if only I had learned how to cook well as he did, and master his famous kare-kare. Well, it’s his fault. He shooed me out of his kitchen so I could study my school books.
Everything I am now, I owe to this great man. He wasn’t a perfect person, and he had his faults as a parent. I didn’t always understand him as a daughter, but now that I am a parent myself, I could understand the reasons why he reacted to me the way he did.
Happy birthday, Daddy, from your little girl. I couldn’t be any prouder to be known as your daughter!