I THOUGHT the day would never come, but it jumped up from just around the corner, and now it’s here to stay. I have now reached the age where my children, intelligent and discerning as always, have in so many words begun to reproach me from the things I never made accessible to them.
Here are just a few examples. At least two out of the three (Panganay, Ganda and Bunso of course) have inquired why they never had piano lessons; one has rebuked me for not enrolling at least one of them in a Chinese Filipino school (I attended one), and a right-brained child has asked why nothing was ever done to spur or trigger their creative side/s. To all these I furnish a motley group of excuses : economics, nurture vs nature, and all that bull-bleep, but I know deep down I have failed them in a thousand different ways, so that any success they have reaped is despite and not because of my pasang-awa parenting.
Chalk it down to a kinder, less selfish generation, cheaper tuition and simpler extra-curricular options, but I cannot say the same for my own parents, who made available a lot of things I didn’t pay forward for my own kids.
Early elementary, mom and dad enrolled me in a summer art class. When I didn’t show any promise, the following year I attended badminton sessions and was encouraged to learn racquet sports. And all through my youth (not that it helped) a piano teacher visited me weekly and I learned a third language in an excellent Chinese Filipino school that rivaled many of the best Metro Manila schools across the board.
My folks weren’t the showiest type when it came to hugs and kisses, but were right there when it came to advice and support, which as you know pre-teens and teens need tons of but won’t always admit. It didn’t stop them from exercising stern discipline and strict accountability, but as all good parents, they combined affection and hard knocks in a smart combination of tough love.
Best of all, they showed me, and a lot of people my generation, that you could sweep someone off your feet in a whirlwind romance and yet stay with that someone for years and years without losing the thrill of love. Some people call it being soulmates and lovers, and other people call it commitment. My folks just called it marriage.
As of yesterday (6th June), my folks have possessed all of these traits 54 years running, raising first five hard-headed but respectful sons, then helping seven grandkids, scores of nephews, nieces and cousins, and now dozens and dozens of people through catechism classes, community centers and livelihood groups to which they belong.
Through it all, they have relied on many comrades, but most of all they have relied on each other in the journey of life, towards happiness and contentment. I’m extra proud as their son to say that they’re already there, and will always serve as my models for self-sustaining love.
Thanks for being in our lives Joe and Linda, and happy happy 54th wedding anniversary from a grateful clan, Mom and Dad! Love you always!
- Chinese-Filipino traders may stop school program after tax evasion allegations (business.inquirer.net)
- Filipino leader calls for US intervention in island dispute mediation at Chinese dialogue (2016presidentiables.wordpress.com)
- Filipino, Chinese, Caucasian (hapavoice.com)