happy father’s day mamow!
June 15, 2014 § 5 Comments
I tried sending this to yahoo PH but apparently it didn’t make the cut. :( Anyway, what are personal blogs for? :))
We call our father “Mamoti”, a term of endearment derived from his imposed “Ama”. Mamoti was always a disciplinarian. If my brother and I did something gravely wrong, we knew we we’re going to receive the appropriate “palo” or “squat” once he gets home. We used to envy all our cousins who seemed to be able to do whatever they wanted. Unlike other children, we strictly had to finish the food on our plate before getting up from the table, sleep during the afternoon, come straight home from school, go to Sunday mass together and never answer back. Whenever we asked permission to play, Mamoti would tell us to “play the piano” or “play the violin” instead. Of course we’d get to play after, but not without the hour of classical torture, as how we looked at it back then. He forced us to go to summer activities like swimming and taekwondo even if we pleaded against them.
Mamoti was not the conventional father. Aside from being the designated handy man and driver, he was the one who used to sterilize our baby bottles, get up to change our diapers, do the laundry whenever we didn’t have a maid, and has ever since voluntarily taken the task of mopping floors. He was more absorbed on maintaining the cleanliness of the house than my mom. Occasionally, he would even volunteer to painstakingly take out all the fish bones whenever my mother cooked bacalao, or mince ox tripe into thin slices when she fancied cooking callos. It was to his advantage of course because he was the most eager one to eat those things after all. There was even a point in our lives that he was the one who cooked pancakes for me and my brother during breakfast, because my mom wasn’t good at waking up too early. We had a maid then, but for some reason he insisted on making our meals. I hated pancakes, and I regret never being able to appreciate his effort during that phase. He made us bring “baon” to school, which he personally packed, instead of giving us lunch money. I used to think I grew up in such a restricted environment, where I had to ask permission for every single thing. I couldn’t even go to the mall with my friends without permission until I was in college. And up until now, I am constantly the kill-joy to my friends who have to go home early, skip the bars, and not be available on most weekends. But looking back, it was that restricted environment that taught me and my brother a lot of the values that we have now. Mamoti was the one who taught us to be simple and humble. While he is the school doctor where he works, he taught me the value of being friends with all types of people, especially those who worked in a lesser position than him. He taught us not to look down on others, but at the same time not be envious of people more fortunate than us. Mamoti was the one who taught me to help other people without any exchange or expectations. Every Christmas, he would buy groceries and pack them up to sets. He’d then take me and my brother to drive around and look for hardworking people and small children in the streets who could use a little help. His heart was content with a simple “thank you”, and he never felt the need to brag about those things to other people. Watching him as we grew up taught me to love being in the background of things, rather than always yearning to be in the spotlight. But most importantly, Mamoti taught us what true love is. He was a devoted and dedicated husband to our late mother, who passed on last December due to cancer. She was able to survive 17 years of that ordeal because my father was always there, regardless if she was becoming unreasonable and short-tempered or if she was emotional and depressed. He never got tired persuading my mom to continue the fight, look at the brighter side of things, be grateful of our blessings despite our tribulations and always seek God whenever everything seemed hopeless. He always insisted us to be at home during the weekends because he wanted us to make the most of the time we had with our mom. While my mom successfully fulfilled her milestones in her career as a lawyer, Mamoti was contented and happy to support her in the sidelines. He never complained or regretted anything. He was extremely proud of my mom. Mamoti taught us the value of family and as Antoine de Saint-Exupery would say, the things essential yet invisible to the eye.
As my brother and I grew up, Mamoti knew when he had to loosen the rein and allow us experience things on our own. He has always made sure that we pursued what was best for us, even if it meant being apart from us. Despite everything I think I know, Mamoti never fails to give me sensible advice when I most need it.
My father is Dr. Emmanuel C. Asuncion. While his name might have never appeared in any major publication, those who know him personally always have good things to tell about him. He will always be my brother and I’s role model when it comes to leading a life that matters.
Happy Father’s Day Mamow! :) We may not be together today but you’re always in our thoughts. :)