When I was small, my Dad used to tell me “mag ingat ka, wag tatanga-tanga!”. It may have sounded harsh to everyone except me because I never doubted my Dad’s real intention of letting me know how much he loves me and how much he wanted me to learn how to take care of myself, especially when he was not around.
Most of my childhood friends teased me for having a very strict Dad who would not let me go anywhere without him. I knew then that he never wanted me to feel alone or perhaps he was thinking that I, being the youngest girl in the family, was too soft or fragile. There were so many occasions and parties I never had the chance to attend because my Dad forbids me to. Once, he agreed that I attend a late night birthday party of my best friend in high school, after he dropped me off to the venue, I thought he went home, but I was not quite surprise to see him after 10 minutes, chatting with my friend’s Dad and stayed the whole evening waiting for me.
Finally, I graduated high school and my Dad didn’t approve of my studying in Manila. I was determined not to stay in our province. I had to convince him hard to let me stay and study in the city. For him, a family should always stay together in one place. But I had already set my mind that I will prove him how strong I am to live alone.
I was lucky to get a scholarship in the university, but expenses in the city were just too much for a newbie- boarding house, food, projects, etc. At the back of my mind, I knew that I could just call my Dad and tell him I could come back to the province with them, but I was even more resolute to prove my Dad that I can survive alone. I didn’t complain nor let anyone back home think that I was having a hard time during my first year so I applied for a part time job in a fast food chain and I studied harder and worked at the same time.
During my college days, I hardly had time to spend with my Dad. I worked during summer breaks and did my internship in some. But whenever I go home, I always spend time with my Dad and I always made sure that I let him know how much I missed him.
After two years of working in Manila, I’ve decided to try my luck abroad. I blindly signed a contract to work as a Pharmacist in a hospital here in Riyadh. My Dad didn’t want me to leave. I remember so clearly how hard he tried to convince me to stay, but I was firm. I knew that I broke his heart when I left Manila for the first time in May 2002. My dad was in the airport with me. I hugged him tight and he hugged me even tighter as if he didn’t want to let me go. “Magiingat ka Ineng dun ha.. iba na ang mundong pupuntahan mo dun sa Saudi.” Those were his words to me before his eyes were into too much tears. It was perhaps a warning of how complicated life could be ahead of me or maybe his silent way of telling me how sad he was to see his youngest daughter leave him for long.
That was ten years ago. I now have a family of my own and I have learned more about responsibility and commitment. I have learned not only to be strong, but more to be tough with life’s challenges. I have become more resilient with my decisions and stand up for things which do not only concern me but my family. I learned how to prioritize my children’s happiness over mine. I’m sure that my Dad will somehow be proud of me when I get the chance to tell him how matured his little girl has become.
If there’s something in me that hasn’t changed all these years, it’s my deep longing to spend time with my Dad again. My heart breaks every time my sister reminds me that he’s changed so much in the recent months. Maybe it’s because of his health condition, that he’s taking a lot of medications. Or maybe it’s because of his age. For whatever reason it may be, my Dad will always be the best father in the world for me. He will always be my strong confidante, my soldier, my number one fan, my mentor, my idol. In my lifetime, he is the only man who has loved me unconditionally. My Dad will always be God’s greatest gift for me in this world.
Happy Father’s Day Sarge!!! I miss you sooooo much!
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me- my family, my husband, my two beautiful girls, my friends and colleagues.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..