It was the kind of love that no one can put into words how great but doubters would always have something bad to say about.
He was not my biological father. A Godfather only but people who just met us, always assumed I was his daughter from someone else. It was a funny idea which we laugh off up to know.
In a household where both parents are busy making a living, I was sometimes left in the care of my Tatay(my Godfather; Father in the Tagalog language is Tatay), and his wife, our Nanay. Having kids back in the 80’s who were already in their teens, I was treated as the youngest in that household, like their own. Given everything I asked, for them to avoid my tantrums and to stop me from wrecking things (such as throwing Nanay’s oldest vase and kicking the fan down to the floor when I don’t get my coke).
Them moving farther from the city where we lived in, did not stop me from seeing Tatay and Nanay. All my summers as a kid up to my pre-teen years were reserved for them. I can vividly recall, how on the last day of every school year, I would pack my things and get ready to be picked up the next day.
I never realized that all the things I do and love now were greatly influenced by Tatay and Nanay.
Tatay is one huge audiophile. Massive collection of classics and has an amazing sound system set-up in his living room. I must’ve learned from him the beauty of zoning out and putting your speakers up and not giving a care to the world.I must admit my love for Beatles was formed through him and his son, which was very much like a brother to me, taught me my love for grunge and rock.
He taught me my love for biking and running. Being asthmatic as a kid, we had a deal not to tell my parents when I come back home from vacation, about all these things. As his own children, has started to make a living, I was the one waking up early with them, and would go running/jogging with Nanay and Tatay. In the afternoon, it was session on biking without those training wheels. I dreaded two-wheeled bikes then. The time I learned to bike in two wheels was one of the greatest achievement I had and can still recall that afternoon we were both so happy I can do it on my own, despite the scratches on my knees. I learned through him, that you’ll fall and get scratches, but you’ll also improve and get better if you just keep trying. A lesson, I live to up to now.
Dinners after Tatay arrived home from work were always highlight of the day. Dinner and lunches with Tatay, formed my love for Orange Juice. A drink I prefer up to now. Tatay just could not eat without his OJ.
All those summers, made me feel more loved and part of the family, to the point that me being legally adopted was already being raised. And it was a bright idea for me, getting closer to the friend I have in the village, more time to play, more summer. But I knew, it was impossible, as my parents would never allow it.
But people change and as time went by, I changed a lot. At fourteen, I stopped visiting them. But Tatay and Nanay always reminded me, that I am free to come and stay with them, but teenage years and the fun with friends must have taken me away from them. With your parents separating then, I also distanced myself from people and everyone reaching out to me were closed off (A bad habit I still do up to now).
They never left me. On my 18th birthday, Tatay came. I was busy with friends and did not even get to entertain him. When I had my first kid, Tatay and Nanay also visited me. But being the wreck that I was back then, I never gave much significance on that. Tatay and Nanay, also came to see me on the christening of my second child. I was so hard on trying to build a family which did not lasted anyway, that I crossed out everything else that I should have given attention on too.
And today, we laid our Tatay to rest. 13 years of battling his disease and continuing work, despite the advise to rest, I can say our Tatay is one huge fighter. Although I missed a lot on the years that I was supposed to have been there, I still am glad he never forgot me and despite me distancing myself, he stood there waiting until I come around.
Our only, first and last chat on facebook, will always be memorable for me. For that period of time, despite my shortcomings I felt his love for me, like a normal father who wanted to see his daughter but could not due to the illness, keeping him down. I love you Tatay, and despite no last kiss and hug from you, I know you will always love me, much as I will always love you.
To my Tatay, who is a Clint Eastwood look a like, I return to you your favorite words. “You make my day!” Or You make a part of my lifetime so wonderful, the memories will live with me forever.
No goodbyes. And as you said, Cry a little but not too much. Until we meet again, Tatay… But know that I will always miss you.
Former-type A student anxiety: I'm sitting in class, unprepared.
And she's turning 29.
Skyline and Silence
Longing for the sea...
I long for freedom....
Looking forward to see the sun.