Happy birthday, Papa!
By Johanne R. Macob
BY the time this issue comes out, we are celebrating my Papa’s birthday. I just realized now, I haven’t really talked much about my father in this column or even in casual conversations with friends. Not that there’s not much to say about him because he’s one hell of a guy in raising seven of us with our mom, and in loving Mama. Perhaps, it’s because whenever I try to talk about him, I get the feeling of regret and longing combined.
When I was a kid, I remember being the sweet good girl who would always give him and mom that “Good night, Papa. Good night, Mama. I love you, Papa. I love you, Mama” with a kiss speech. My father and I used to share jokes and some of which were to lovingly tease mom. He even used to craft stuff from indigenous materials that eventually became my well-loved toys. We were a loving father-and-daughter tandem. However, as I started growing up, I lost that sweet little kid in me. I stopped saying my good nights. I stopped telling him stories. I stopped being the daughter he must’ve prayed that I should always be. I am not sure what happened but it felt like it was not necessary to do those sweet things anymore. I don’t know if it’s because of generational gap or my closeness to my mom and siblings that I failed at becoming the loving and demonstrative type daughter to my father. I concluded then I just wasn’t much of a Papa’s girl anymore. Or that, I wasn’t really growing up, just older.
As years went by, my feelings toward my father even drifted away. I saw him drinking and somehow I hated him for that. It felt to me like he wasn’t exerting any effort in trying to talk to his youngest child but neither was I attempting to be close to him, as well. What I didn’t expect was I, we, would be losing him soon. At 12 years old, I lost my father. We lost the family’s solid ground.
Since the day my father died, I always carried that regret in me, to this day. I regret not being able to tell him how much I loved him. I regret not having all the conversations we could have had. I regret not doing all the activities we could and should have shared. Since then, I made it a point to offer all my achievements to him. I worked hard in school. And hopefully soon, I will be fulfilling my father’s dream for me. And I have told myself to love my mom the way my father would have wanted his kids to love their mother. These are the least I can do. So to everyone reading this, I hope you’ve learned the lesson I have learned the hard way. Love your father (and mother) and express this love to them in every way you can, while you can!
Happy birthday, Papa! And advance Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!
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