“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13
when we were kids, my daddy manifested his love in the oddest way one could imagine. whenever we had fish for our meal, he patiently removed the fishbones and carefully rolled the fillet into small balls, then arranged them like petals on the edge of our plates so that they looked like huge flowers.
daddy is a relatively quiet and stiff kind of a man, especially when it comes to his way with us. his kids. we never heard him say anything nice to us. well, that was if we hear anything at all. he seldom spoke when he came home from work, and if he did, it was just to mommy. or to scold us because we sung during meal time. or halt our non-stop kiddie chatters.
we were oftentimes, terrified to see him get angry, because that would mean a date with the belt (and sometimes with the buckle too). i remember how he used to slam me onto the bed and make my behind sore with spanking. and boy! he spanked hard. but as we grew older, the spanking stopped. so did the scolding. and so too, the lesser we heard him utter a word.
daddy never set foot in any of our schools, nor watched any activity. and sadly, he never even attended any of our graduations. but although he was stingy in sharing himself, he was generous in providing our material needs. though it was only during the later years that i realized it was mommy who mastered the art to make both ends meet, our daddy maintained the atmosphere that we were kinda well-off. whenever we asked, he gave.
growing up, there was always a bit of envy, whenever we see other fathers’ pda (public display of affection) towards their children. but even then, i never took it against my daddy that he kept everything to himself. i never doubted that he loved us. and i never expected any more from him than he had already given.
you can just imagine how relieved my siblings and i were that he was present during each of our weddings. and when his grandchildren were born, we were surprised that he kind of softened up. the rate of his tenderness grew directly proportional to the number of kids that were added to our clan. he displayed tender, loving affection to our kids that somehow, my brother and sister felt that affection redirected towards us. despite his outward manifestation when we were young, or the lack of it, deep inside i knew my daddy was a loving man. and though he had such difficulty to let his guard down with us, he couldn’t resist his grandchildren. all his pent up emotions through the years just burst out like a dam, and love flowed out spontaneously, starting with megan and miguel. then to bianca, ian, abby and bon2. and of course, to igi boy. he is now daddy to all his grandchildren.
a couple of weeks ago, daddy was diagnosed with a tumor in his prostate. just to hear the word “tumor” would already make one cringe with fear. and even more, when one already advanced in years has it. so how much more when that one is so dear? the first thing we did was pray. and until now we continue on praying that it will go away and just disappear. we wanted the best treatment and first-class hospital facilities for him. but with our very limited resources, we’re afraid we have to settle for less. we just hope and pray that the healing power of Jesus would ease his pain and suffering. and if He wills it, my daddy would be free of the tumor absolutely.
but as hard as we pray that daddy would get well, there is a desire as strong in my heart to soften up too. you see, i am my daddy’s daughter. although being sweet and loving is an acquired habit which i tried very hard to learn through the years (pda’s towards my children are spontaneous with me now); i could be as quiet and as stiff as he was too. these are inherent traits that he passed on to me, and sadly i am just too shy to publicly display my affection towards him considering the circumstances. if i try hard, it wouldn’t be natural. and he would notice that. and for sure, it would be an awkward and embarassing situation for both of us. and i would not want to put him into that kind of emotional confusion. not this time. not with his condition.
the Lord used only one mold for each human being. that is why we differ from one another entirely. we should realize that it is in the acceptance of each other’s uniqueness that we shall be be able to live in harmony. that is how i see our family now. unique human beings who blend together into a family of kaleidoscope personalities.
with this i try to forgive myself if i lack the theatrics in expressing my love to daddy. when we come home for the holidays, and whenever we’ll have fish for our meal, i would just patiently remove the fishbones and carefully roll the fillet into small balls, then arrange them like petals on the edge of daddy’s plate so that they looked like huge flowers. then he will know…then he will feel that i love him so.