Dear Daddy

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When I was five, I believed you were a superhero and the best in everything you did. You had my world revolving around gaining every single bit of attention I could get from the awesome you. Damn, I was punned.

You were the best musician-bass guitar player, amazing badass tattoos, wonderful singing voice. A rock star! Hey, you were a good cook, too. To top it off, you were the best driver and car salesman in the world. Everybody said you looked good and were so young to father a child – you had them all believing you had me at eighteen when you did when Mom was seventeen and you, well, twenty-two (or three?).

See, you got to be proud your baby grew up pretty smart and figured things in a different light. I saw and followed the beam called reality that is beyond your fantasy world. You took me to your beer-drinking sessions when I was barely four. You hopped from job to job because of negligence and-see, the real adults, they call it laziness and irresponsibility.

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Daddy, three-y/o me, and glass of beer

I used to feel horrible for having been born out of wedlock and to be coming from a broken family, with my parents so young and separated. I perfectly recall each of them girls you brought home to Grandmama’s house (because you never really had your own place). At least three of them’s a Cathy – but, I specifically recall the bitchiest Cathy with whom you did drugs with. I was seven at the time she was your chic and when I called to say I missed you, you said to me:

Honey, listen. Never call this house again.

“Why, Daddy?”

Because I said so.

Wow. I am not being emotional or remorseful – please don’t get me wrong. Those words broke the seven-year-old girl, sure. But, they also made the woman I am today. Thanks to you, I grew up tough and brave.

I have to say great choice on my Mommy, though. While she never emphasized, I grew up to recognize she was beautiful, strong, and just naive when you had her. She learned, too. We both did and we both fought.

These days, you call me a lot and as I am not to upset Mommy. I pick up, be polite as she taught me. But, Daddy, I got to admit it felt terrific when we last talked –

Baby, I miss you. Will you meet me, at least?

“I am sorry, Daddy. I am terribly busy.”

Forgive me if I was a jerk or if I have never been a good father.

“Wow. You knew that? Holy macaroni. I need a drink. Will you buy me a beer?”

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Me and Daddy, 2016. In good terms. What does one get out of anger?

Recognize.

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Day 1: Saturday Mornings

 Day 1 of telling your stories: Saturday morning.

Write about Saturday mornings, either now or at some time in your past. How late did you sleep in when you were a kid? What did you have for breakfast this morning? In college, did you spend Saturday mornings getting ready to go to the big football game? Do you take your kids to your parents’ house on Saturdays? Do you get up early to run?

Growing up in a family of seven siblings, I rarely tasted boredom. I am the eldest (Sophia Nicohle; I don’t know about you, but there’s something about describing selves–you can get to know more of me later), then there’s Ivan Angela (now 22, the only chubby one among all of us – first to have a child at 21), John Carl (20 years old, video game lover & a sweet funny guy, went to aeronautics school), Dianne (fondly called Wawi at home; 18 year old psychology student, thrifty and smart – you don’t mess with her), Ernesto II (17, named after his grandfather – all 7 of us are from 3 different fathers), Maria Scarlet (16, a beautiful young lady with a brave soul…and some teenage troubles), and Anna Patricia (14, the apple of my eye, my darling, our little angel, and forever baby).

Ivan (r) and I (l) playing

Ivan (r) and I (l) playing; We looked the same age, but I was four and her two here

Except for Ivan who moved in with us 8 years ago (she was with her dad’s family), we all grew up together. Although Ivan was with us almost every weekend back then. Our beautiful mother who had me at 17, is the most adorable person. She loved each of us dearly and dedicated her life to taking care of us. She’s the kind of woman who, for her children’s sakes, doesn’t need a man to complete her. It was our Mom who taught us to love each other (siblings) first, and it was her love for us that never made us feel any different from one another (no half-sibling issues).

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Ernest, Anna, and Wawi

Our Saturdays were full of fun-filled activities that rarely needed spending since (1) there are a lot of us to take on a trip and (2) our mom is the coolest, most creative who always  finds stuff for us to do. Saturday mornings, we usually wake up to Arroz Caldo for breakfast–a Filipino rice porridge with chicken, topped with hard boiled eggs, roasted garlic, and spring onions. Then, we’d either go to Quezon City Memorial Circle (a park where you can rent bikes and roller skates) or our Aunt Joanne’s house in Pasig (or they come over). Our Aunt Joanne is my Mom’s elder and only sister and she has 5 children. Hence, if not biking or rollerskating, our Saturdays were playdates with our cousins. I’ve actually got to admit, my siblings and I like being in the park, having picnics, and biking/rollerskating better. Whatever it is that’s just us. Staying at home, lounging or playing with water guns in our inflatable pool (the biggest you can find) is also cool.

Now, obviously, I grew up to fun Saturdays. It all felt normal back in the day and we rarely felt time flew and situations shifted. 2008 is a very important year for me: I went to college, the University of the Philippines Los Banos–a 2-hour drive from our home in QC so I had to stay in a college dorm, away from my siblings for the first time in all my life. The same year, our family had gone through some trials that led to my Mom having to work overseas, away from us for the first time in all our lives. We were all aching inside, silently. The Saturdays of the year 2008 were my favorite days of the year: I get to come home and see my baby brothers and sisters, spend time with them, and be able to catch up or help out with school projects and homework.

Image Source: Matthew Mendoza

Image Source: Matthew Mendoza

Slowly, each of them went to college or grew up to be teenagers with different sets of friends and hobbies. Each of them had their own busy schedules and we’ve seemed to have gotten used to seeing Mom once, for two months, each year. Although I have my own life I’m pursuing, I can’t help but crave and wish for even just a moment to get one of those Saturdays with Arroz Caldo my Mom made and some crazy, fun day with my baby brothers and sisters.

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