Growing from a big family is precisely not a joke. It will invariably take much responsibility and sacrifices. As the eldest of my 7 other siblings. I have witnessed how my dedicated father worked hard to put food on the table. To send us to school and to properly provide the most basic of the basic needs of having a family.
Now, four out of seven siblings are working, and the other two are still studying. My father is the loveliest grandfather; my two kids have. Our father is protective of all of his kids, grandchildren and even up to the extended family. He will buy the fight for you if he knows you are in a disadvantageous situation. He is now enjoying the fruit of his hard work. Taking care of his grandchildren and extended family members. Taking good care of the dogs Malia and Ace, and Eva, the cat. He still currently works as a carpenter and can create a beautiful and durable furniture.
He is turning 60 next year. He always dreamt of going back to his birth town to visit and stay for a while there with his relatives and other siblings in Cebu. We wish him good health, and we continually pray we can fly him to his birth town. Wish all the best for him to recall wonderful memories of his childhood. To reconnect and reconcile his relationship with the people he used to have with. To experience stepping on the land, they used to have. Enjoy the fruits of the trees he planted when he was a boy.
I can fondly recall, when I was in my teenage years. My father used to bring us to church. Almost always every Sunday. Advising us to always thank the Lord, because we are able to undoubtedly live every day. He is immensely appreciative to the Lord because of us, his unique treasure and hope to live day after day.
I witnessed how my father provided us what we need. He wakes up early in the morning to sell “puto” (rice cake) and his morning earnings will carry us through the day. I know that it was really not enough for the whole day expense for our transportation costs, school allowance and household necessities. To that, it will bring head ache and terrible day to my mother. She has to budget the little earning, do the house chores and taking care 8 of us. Past 7 in the morning he will prepare for his second job at a construction site, wherever he assigned. When I was in high school, I was able to help in purchasing “balut” or fertilized duck eggs before attending school. My mother will clean and placed markings on it and prepare it for my father to sell at night. Then my father will take a little rest from his almost 9-hour job. He will sell balut on the street at night. He is a remarkable man, dedicated his whole life for us.
Indeed, a remarkable man, but he is imperfect, he has his flaws, he has his insecurities, he has his angst and his fears. When Our brother died in 1996. We saw how devastated our father then. It was very hurting for us, seeing our father got so drunk, easily offended and it was uneasy to have a deep conversation with him for years. We understand he lost a very adorable son and a humble kid. All his unprocessed pain when he was a child came flashing back to him. He was hurt when lost the woman (his aunt) who fosters him when he lost his mother. He felt he was left behind. He felt he was unable to save our brother because he doesn’t have the resources.
Those years was the most painful years of our lives, observing a father working hard to feed his kids and give them home. Lost his passion, lost one of his unique treasure and almost lost us. My mother is the bravest person I have known in my life. She never left, she journeyed with my father’s grief even though we knew she was hurt too.
Time comes that I cannot handle the pain anymore, I talked to my father. I talked to him how upset I am. I felt he is starting to forget us. After that intimate and intense conversation. He started opening up. How he terribly impacted when his mother died. Growing up without a mother. Worked at the young age. Move to one place to another. He grew up mistreated by his well-off relatives. Grew up in a land, once they owned and now taken to them because they can’t present any legal papers. He felt he is useless because he was unable to finish high school. At a young aged he left his birth town to find a greener pasture and live in a big city. School is not his priority. The only thing that matters to him is to secure a work that at the end of the week can provide him food for the upcoming week.
Ugly truth started to unravel, painful journey started to heal. What I most loved about is experiencing the moment of hope. When he said to us, I always faithfully loved you all, even if I am grieving. Now, we are still living and loving life. It is all because of the faithful love of an imperfect father.