The Fatherid daddylus, commonly known as “Dad,” is a common yet perplexing species, usually dressed in a nondescript polo, black slacks, and last season’s leather shoes.
Often at war with the Daughterum rebelde, commonly known as “Daughter,” “Dad” often finds itself caught between the desire to protect “Daughter” from all harm, and the desire to throw it out the window. Nevertheless, there is a special bond between the two: a bond that is both unconditional and unbreakable no matter the generation gap.
I myself am a Daughterum rebelde, and in fact, I do have my very own Fatherid daddylus. And it just so happens that this Sunday is the day we celebrate the existence of this species, and it is a holiday most call Father’s Day.
It is no secret that my Dad and I have had our differences. How could we not? He is a conservative, a traditionalist, a doctor and a very practical man. I, on the other hand, am a writer, singer, liberal thinker and adventure-seeker; a free spirit that is easily suffocated. One would see these differences as almost irreconcilable, as the opposite ends of a (very long) pole.
But I’ve come to see us as the two sides of a coin: complementary and necessary. We balance each other out, my Fatherid daddylus and I. While my head is constantly swimming in the clouds, his two feet are firmly planted on the ground. I show him what could be, and he shows me what is.
One night, he entered my room and sat beside me on my bed as I tapped away on my laptop. “Can you read me what you wrote?” he asked. And I did. I’m guessing he didn’t like it all that much by the look on his face, but I don’t blame him. He was never really into the things I was into.
There was a short pause. “Can you write about me sometime?” I nodded. “Sure!” “Can you say nice things only?” Why would I say not-nice things about him? “Sure!” Another pause. “Can you lie a little?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Here I am honestly writing about him and not a single not-nice thing has been said. (Yet.)
Are there not-nice things about him? Of course. There are even more not-nice things about me. But I am very lucky, because my Dad has more very-nice things about him than most people.
For one, he is patient. And I cannot stress enough how much that counts in a house with three women who cannot shut up. Once, I told him about a very bad day I had—it was catastrophic, really. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but I guess that’s who I am.
The point is, after my long and tiresome monologue, I only heard one thing in reply: “Tasty!” And that was from the Candy Crush game he was playing under the table. He keeps us in check that way.
Don’t get me wrong, he really cares, especially when it matters most. On one of the rougher days I had recently (you can tell it was catastrophic for real because I wasn’t talking at all), he again popped in through my bedroom door. “Hi, baby!” he said playfully, his expression slightly making fun of my glum demeanor. “Why you sad?” he asked, in the same tone. “Nghhh,” I groaned.
I was in an extra bad mood because we had run out of seats for “Maleficent” that night, and I was already excited to get out of the house. “Want to watch movie with me tomorrow?” I tried not to smile. “Yes,” I replied. “Great!” he enthused as he bounced out of the room. He really does make my day a lot.
My dad is pretty silly, but sometimes the things he says actually make sense, I’ll give him that. Something he’s said that has really stuck with me is: “You don’t do it for the money. You do it because you want to serve.” This was when I asked him about being a doctor. “King, wala na sa anak mo ang magiging doktor, sige ka!” my mom teased. She has always teased him about his “noble principles.”
But true enough, my siblings and I no longer want to have anything to do with medicine. “Thirteen years of studying for service?” I also liked to tease him.
But the truth is, I’ve taken what he said to heart. Because of the simple and yet meaningful ways he has taught me to live, I’ve stopped thinking about money. I will do what I love because I’ve realized, this is the way I was meant to change the lives of others. Money will come and go, but their gratitude is something that will always remain with me.
Though we now have a great relationship, my Dad and I didn’t use to get along this well. In fact, we barely spoke to each other. I didn’t understand his views, and he didn’t understand mine. But we’ve learned to meet halfway. You learn to do that with the people you love.
Compromise is key, relationship “experts” would say. But what kind of love is one that needs you to give up a part of yourself that is not nice? What kind of love is one that makes you think that the other person needs to do the same? The nice and not nice—you’ve got to either take them both or leave them. We’ve learned to accept the whole of each other, and not only the parts we care to deal with.
I love my Dad. I love him because he’s nice, but also because he’s not nice. And I know he feels the same. There’s no use fighting what will always be—and he will always be my Daddy. And I, his baby girl.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you more than chocolate-covered potato chips.