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Thursday, June 25, 2009

pOsT faTheR's Day

Our dearest childhood memories have nothing to do with the size of our house, the luxury of the family car, or the net worth of the household bank account. We remember laughter, joy, touch, and the small, every-day experiences where we truly felt loved and protected. To all the fathers who make such things the ultimate priority, thank you. Happy Father's Day!

Last Sunday, 21 June 2009 I went to a UCCP Church here in Dumaguete City. I thought Father's Day was a week before that. It turned out that it was that Sunday and not the other Sunday.

I send a short text message to my dad and greeted him. I did not expect any reply though. Surprisingly, he did. The message read:

"What should I be happy of?"

In a way, it struck me. My dad hasn't been too pessimistic since he and mom separated. It made me think. It pricked my heart. I did not try to entertain the thought and what I was feeling at that time. It had been a long time now you see. But memories are still fresh and vivid.

It was during a part of the Sunday church service when dads were asked to stand. Jokingly, a friend and I stood. We, along with the other dads, were given a small card. It was some plain card. A mere colored oslo paper with some prints on it with a small ribbon to accent it. It was basically nothing. But as soon as my eyes saw what was written on that small, insignificant home-made card, it made me remember my dad. It made me reminisce those good old times we have had.

5 Signs of a Loving Family by Gary Chapman (1995)

A LOVING FATHER will be active in his fathering.
The passive father is a responder. He relates to his child only when the child initiates the process. The active father looks ways to be involved in his children's lives.

I am the second of five children. My dad doesn't usually talk to us about anything. I remember when I was younger, my dad would usually talk to mom or to some of his friends and I would make several attempts to get his attention wanting so much to join with their conversation. Dad kept on ignoring me and I felt bad. As I grew older, I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I was too young to understand what was being talked about.

My dad is not the kind of person who would ask you how have you been doing in school. He is the "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" kind of dad. Not unless we open things up, in which seems to be awkward, he would usually move away.

The LOVING FATHER will make time for his children.
Today's business and professional world does not value fathering but instead gives emphasis on production and on man's ability to accomplish.

The year was 1993. It was one of the most amazing years that I can remember with him, aside from the darkest decades that I endured, being my father. He was cool. A law enforcer for a dad was a child’s, during my time, dream dad. He would always bring me to school wearing his overly cool police uniform and would, again fetch me after his work. It was great calling him my father.

The LOVING FATHER engages his children in conversation.
There is no substitute for regular conversation. Conversation is one of the essential tools of fathering, and in a functional family, the father uses it regularly.

It may be funny to some people, but having a dad who would shout at you every 4:00AM of your weekday just to go to school, shout at you to get up using words of extreme descriptive and emotional sensation that you don’t need to hear just to tell he’s mad, and physically hurt you just to have you eat your breakfast without even having the slightest feeling of holding back, is not really an anecdote to those who are suffering or had suffered the extreme showcase of father-son love. It was like cancer – an agonizing experience that will slowly and painfully devour you.

The LOVING FATHER plays with his children.
The common problem is that fathers emphasize on "winning" and "doing it right" rather than having fun.

He treated us like toys – enjoying the pointless battering and unexplainable blabbering. It was the complete transformation of a once humane father to a monster I wish I never had known before.

At the occurrence of remembering what had happened, I can’t help myself but cry– of how dad beat mom up, of how he maltreated us, of how he placed me inside a sack, hang me upside down and of how he planned of shooting me at the head, of how he punched me and of how I suffered the pain it caused.

The LOVING FATHER teaches his values.
Values are things in life which we attach worth. Values are strongly held beliefs by which we order our lives.

Family had always been the strongest foundation to a man's life. It is where he begins; it is where he draws back.

I have known many and different kinds of people in my life. I’ve met men who are caring and sensitive and men who are cruel and calculating. I’ve known women who are sincere and honest and women who are jealous and hateful. I’ve seen smiles filled with lies and tears wet with truths. I’ve shared time with those who have needed me and I’ve been by myself when I was in need. I’ve been associated with people who are dreamers but not doers and with people who make promises but never keep them. I’ve found myself learning how to understand all these personalities and to avoid those that cause my life’s sadness.

The LOVING FATHER provides and protects his children.
This is the most basic level of fathering. Meeting the child's need for food, clothing and shelter is the least a father can do for his children.

It was the year 1996 when everything changed. Setting aside the complex strata of Philippine political destabilization and politically incurred rallies, my dad underwent a sudden phenomenal and abrupt change.

He turned into a monster.

He started to act weird towards us, towards me. He was hostile, unreceptive, harsh, and tough. He treated us with utmost distaste. He started shouting at us for no valid reason at all. Whip us with his belt for petty mischief.

Would your father whip you for playing with the fixtures on the clothesline? Well, my father did.

The LOVING FATHER loves his children unconditionally.
Unconditional love is the only true love. Love must never be the payment for right behaviour ("I love you if you do this..."). True love has no conditions.

I experienced yet another agonizing moment that would depict the Passion of Christ. I can still remember the perfect display of my acts; kneeling on mongo seeds and rock salt, belt-buckle whipping, and getting locked on the comfort room are a few examples of my arduous punishments.

Would it be reasonable to hurt somebody due to plain emotional instability and pure fascist rule?
The former would be highly revocable to contend with the justification of prudent parental moral obligation but the latter was an intense freedom from the thought that I would never be able to experience a caring father forever.

But even after all that has happened, I still dreamt that one day, I would find a logical, reasonable, and acceptable explanation behind his inane hurting. I was the hopeful one among my kith and kin.

That even when everything went topsy-turvy, I would still be a Joseph who would be highly optimistic and dream that someday, everything would be fine.

Things have changed though. And some things are unchangeable. Memories will always remain - good or bad - vivid and clear. My dad will always be my dad. I don't usually say this nor do I frequently express what I feel and I don't have all eternity for my dad to know this but this is for sure, amidst hurts and pains, Dad, I love you!

This is for you dad.
Happy Father's Day!

Photos courtesy of:
Jon Spot Photography


Ming Meows said...

how sad

badlydrownedboy said...

there's always a pull on my strings every time you talk about your dad.

i sincerely hope you'll one day fully understand the "inane hurting".

nashock ko sa reply sa dad nimo. it was like my throat dried up.

Anonymous said...

Goodness, man. I found your site looking through google at websites that use my photos. I'm jonspot and the photos above are me and my now 4-year old daughter and a family photo session I took of a man named Jason and his son, Caleb. I also wrote that little poem (or whatever you might call it) about fatherhood underneath their picture.

The challenge for you is to eventually forgive your father and, more importantly, to stop the chain of violence that passes from father to son. Use those horrible memories to teach you what never to do to your child and love them until they are bursting and overflowing with your love.

I'm sorry you endured so much pain. Turn it around and add nothing but love and goodness to this life because of it.


Mico Lauron said...

@ Ming Meows: Nasa tao na din yan kung papaano nila ito tatanggapin. It may be sad, but I think for me this is a big learning experience.

Mico Lauron said...

@ badlydrownedboy: It has been like that and I guess I have to live with it. I missed my dad though. So much. I don't actually know what lifer has to offer him. I wish him all the best in spite of everything.

Mico Lauron said...

@ Jon

Thank you so much for your photos. I am hopeful that one day things will be okay. I envy your child. May she have lots of good memories with you when she grows up.

Dads play a very important role in one's well-being. Too bad mine wasn't that great. It may be great in the sense that it thought me a lot of wonderful yet hurtful lessons.

Yes, forgiveness is the answer. I am on the process of doing so.

I'm sorry you endured so much pain. Turn it around and add nothing but love and goodness to this life because of it.

May God bless you and your family more. Thanks to you and to your photography. It gave me a spark of hope.

Anonymous said...

Mico, taga Dumaguete di-ay ka? I have a lot of friends there. I'll give you my contact details so we can eventually talk.

YM: cutebuddy7725
CP#: 09158377165

I read your story. I realized we have linked up long ago, and the very spark that made me click on your snippet on my page was the "post-Father's Day" headline. First, I thought, "dugaya na's Father's day oy, nganong karon pa man ni." But then I found out you posted this shortly after.

I am a victim of my father's wrath, too. Our only difference -- my beatups did not reach the extent of the salt-mongo activity. He would simply hit me on the head and never stop until i bleed.

I am an only child, and my inspiration to become the person I am now -- fully independent, living a decent and sustainable lifestyle, having a glamorous high-paying Manila career, and having my own household and car -- was my ANGER towards my Dad plus the thought that someday, I would make him realize that EVERYTHING HE WAS (I'm just saying this in all caps for it would take a lifetime to blog away everything, so to summarize, this is it) NEVER PAYS and time will come that he will REGRET ALL OF IT.

True enough, the time has come. And it is at the peak of my achievements when my Mother made her greatest decision to finally leave the swine Dad and STAY WITH ME.

I can fully relate with your experiences; although mine happened on a smaller scale, the PAIN and HURT has practically made a great negative impact on my personality. Forgiveness, for me, is not in the picture. All I can do is to be civil with him, in due respect to the fact that he also labored for my education. Just that. So we are in talking terms now, although he can never have that "son" in me the way my Mother does -- my Mother, who has been my ultimate defender and who was willing to take ALL THE HITS just so I could be spared.

I fully realize that the very reason why the swine Dad was like that to me was THE FACT THAT HE HAS LONG SMELLED THAT I'M GONNA GROW UP GAY.

Well, yes, it is true, but who's loss is it? Definitely it's not mine and my mother's.

Right now, Mother and I are living a happy life. As my Mother has the hefty share of the family's finances, combined with my earning capacity, Mama and I are living A FULL LIFE in my peaceful home.

God is not BLIND. He sees everything. Maybe that's why all this good is taking place.

I do envy you, though, for having the SPIRIT to forgive or at least to try. I commend you. I salute you. As for me, only time knows when.

Keep in touch. I'll wait for your message. :)

theLastJedi said...

' grrr.. post like this make me soppy.. but then again i always dig in..
- well-written post.. hoping to see more smooth reads in the future.. =)

violetauthoress said...

nakakatuwa naman na hopeful type ka... at nakakatuwa rin na hindi ka galit, you even said you love him.

our fathers will always be our fathers. ano pa mang ugali mayroon sila.

maganda nga talaga kung makukuha nating mamulot ng aral mula sa mga nakakalokang mga karanasan natin sa buhay kaysa maging bitter.

nga pala, Hi Mico... matagal na rin ^_^ kamusta!

sali ka sa International Bloggers Community kung may oras ka.

eto yung link sa article ko