It is a well-known fact that men, when expressing emotions to each other, often succumb to inhibitions. Men never consider it manly to express and show just how much they are attuned to their emotions. While it is true that I have occasionally maligned that convention and subconsciously broken it more times than I could count, today, on the occasion of my father’s birthday, I have decided to consciously break it again, if only to greet a great, great man. A great man who is also a great father—the kind who, as I randomly recall, doesn’t spare the bottoms of his two boys but does spare time, a little later, to say sorry about it and explain the whole gamut of disciplining children with impish inclinations. As an adult now, I see the merit of wanting children to understand, as the father himself understands it. I know that with understanding comes a little freedom. And freedom—to break norms, follow dreams and embrace truth—is exactly what my father, this great man, has given me.
And so I’m greeting the man who endures standing in Sta. Cruz-bound buses that plough their way along EDSA to save money; the man who’s given me a roof, actually two roofs, over my head; the man who’s taught and allowed me to drive two cars; the man who’s supported me without thinking twice (maybe he does sometimes, but I never could quite intercept it); the man who’s so unlike my mother in tolerating my late-night returns; the man who sent me a congratulatory letter when I passed the UPCAT; the man who, and this I always relay to my friends with pride, drove me to and fro Mariah Carey’s 2003 concert at Fort Bonificio.
I’m greeting the man who has been fathering me, better than any other man on this planet could.
Happy birthday, Pa! I love you.