Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A son to a father

A long time ago, I realized that part of the struggle of parents in raising their children is to finally accept that the children that they reared can finally live life on their own. For the longest time, I wondered why it seemed that my father was not trusting me in the things that I want to do with my life. It seemed to me that he wanted to control me and I hated it. Later did I know that parents are just PARENTS, this is my story.

I did not have the best of relationship with my father growing up (see last years tribute ). For the longest time, I hated him. When the time came that I finally decided to let go of my hatred and just be a son to him, my struggle was how to be a son to a father who was trying to catch up with the time we lost because of our struggles.

My father was the typical military man even when he was a father, he was hard at expressing emotions. He can be a very good speaker in front of a crowd but he finds it hard to really express how he feels especially to his children. All his good intentions are being misinterpreted or sometimes ignored simply because he failed to communicate what he wanted to show on the things that he wants to do. In the end, animosity develops between his children and the relationship is damaged.

But the thing with parents and children is that although they hate each other, one can not avoid the other. They are perpetually connected by some divine magic that a parent can not stop being a parent to his or her children in the same way that a child can not stop being a child to his or her parent. Believe it or not, no matter how much we hate our parents, we still want to be their children. And so there I was, a father that I was trying to understand when he simply finds it hard to really make me understand. But because the connection persists, a time just comes when that understanding is achieved, this happened one Christmas Eve.

We were waiting for Christmas and my father already had a lot to drink. With nothing else to do the stories went from one topic to another and yes... In vino veritas. As Christmas neared, my father answered some of the questions in my life that has haunted me since the time that I could remember. Questions like, why separate with my mother, why leave her and all that, these are questions that were left unanswered which later became the root of my hatred. As each of my question was answered, for the first time, I felt that just like me he deserved a second chance. At that moment I understood that he was trying so hard to be a father but I wouldn't let him. I realized that no matter how hard we fight it parents will be parents.

The reason why I am saying all this all goes back to my original contention that the hardest part in parenthood is finally letting go of ones children and allowing them to live their own lives. About a few weeks ago, my father came here and we had a little chat. Our chats now range from the things that happen in the house up to the problems that the country is facing. It was an engaging conversation, one that we did not have for quite a while since I am always here. In that conversation, I felt how much he wanted to say that he loves me only that he does not know how. I felt how proud he is of me only that he did not know what to say to express it. I guess that perpetual connection I am saying is something that is of the heart. A connection that marks the relationship between a father and a son that can never be broken. It is a connection that will allow understanding between the two only if we are sensitive enough to recognize it. As Blaise Pascal would put it: The heart has a language of its own that only the heart understands. I felt then that he was realizing how I was slowly slipping away. I was slipping away because I was already making a life of my own and he knew it was the time to let go.
Today is Daddy's birthday and I'm hoping he reads this. He doesn't have to worry of letting go because we are perpetually connected by some divine magic that whatever happens I will be his son and he will be my Dad. The love that has brought us together and allowed as to go through all the challenges of the life we had will continue to see us through no matter the odds. Life as I know it will not be complete without him being a major player on it. I really just pray that he knows that. Happy birthday Daddy.

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