It was my father’s birthday yesterday and looking at our pictures, I can’t believe just how big our family has grown. There used to be only five of us and now, we have ballooned to 11!
And I am so thankful that despite not having too much materially, we are blessed to have generally good health. The worst that happened recently was pneumonia hitting four of us in the family; me and Tatay included. I remember how my sister and I cringe at the thought of publicly calling him Tatay because our schoolmates will think we’re poor. And my parents refuse to be called Mommy, Daddy, Mama or Papa because such terms are reserved for the rich. We’re not. End of argument.
My father turned 72 and I’m proud because he still gets mistaken for just 60-ish. There was one time when a churchgoer befriended him and in the course of the conversation, the man asked him how old he was (he was 70 that time) and the man was very much surprised because he was only 63 but he looked much older than my father.
The secret? He’s cool. He likes wearing shirts, shorts and sneakers. And he has his hair dyed by his very own hairstylist. Me! Who else? I would dye his hair every month or when the pesky greys are already showing. He is so vain with his hair that he carries a little comb in his pants’ back pocket and checks his reflection on the car window to make sure no hair goes astray.
My father may not have finished school but he is street-smart. He’s a jack-of-all-trades too. He knows carpentry, electrical stuff, automotive painting, photo developing, household chores (my mother will seriously dispute this one *wink*) which includes cooking one mean adobo and paksiw na pata.
But one instance really stands up in my memory (probably in my sister’s too). We have a policy at home. No Boyfriend Until After College. If we want to have one (or if we ever get caught ;)), we stop schooling. Hindi pwedeng pagsabayin ang pag-aaral at pakikipag-boyfriend. And they didn’t make it easy for us. They sent us to an all-girls school despite us having not enough money. My sister was lucky to go to a co-ed school in college while I got stuck in an all-girls school ALL THROUGOUT school life. That’s the reason for this stubborn kolehiyala accent that just won’t go away. 😉
Back to the No Boys rule. There were two fellas who wanted to court my sister and I and they braved that rule with their good intentions. Mygawd! We almost melted in shame at how he shunned the two boys at the gate. Akala yata ng tatay ko super mestisa ng mga anak niya. LOL.
In retrospect, I can never thank my parents enough for rearing us like they did. Tatay isn’t perfect (especially in my mom’s opinion…. hahaha) but we love him dearly. And I am thankful for the privilege to take care of them now.