Jack-of-all-trades, master of my heart.

He reminds of good things. And some bad.

He was my hero. The voice that filled my childhood with memories of bedtime stories and charming lullabies.

Beautiful girl, wherever you are
I knew when I saw you, you had opened the door
I knew that I’d love again after a long, long while
I’d love again.

He used to sing me this song before he tucks me to bed at night. I remember that when we were kids, my sister and I never went to sleep until after he tells us a story. We lay in his arms listening and imagining the scenes of his stories: Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel and some which he made up himself. One story per night. Some stories got repeated over and over again but we still listened to it with as much interest each time.

Time passed, he changed. Or rather, we changed. Or maybe the way we perceived him changed. And we drifted apart.

He was not the lenient and sweet man anymore. He had become the disciplinarian. And he never had patience for any kind of incompetence. He was far-looking. He had long-term plans for the family. At that time, I even viewed him as far too rigid, too calculating. A wet blanket at times. But he never raised a hand at us and was always our protector. Someone we knew would fight and defend us with his life.

After years of being away from home, I realized that he was the only man I had looked up to and respected so much. He was ever the Jack-of-all-trades. He knew how to do a lot of things. He was an engineer, a farmer, a fisherman, a businessman, an attorney, a healer, a fighter. There was nothing he can’t do. I grew up thinking that men are all like him or should be like him. All-knowing, like God. Sometimes I look for those qualities in guys and most don’t measure up.

The last time I saw him, I looked at the face of a man who endured so much. He had laugh lines and a graying head. And all through summer we talked and talked of our plans and dreams for the family. I thought of the things I wanted him to experience. The farm he always wanted to have, the car he wanted to drive–were among the many things I want to give him and soon if I can. He is, after all, growing older.

I knew him to be man who throws around second chances for everyone. For a bad business partner, a traitor friend. You only had to give him time enough to forget and all will be back to the jolly old times. Despite all the betrayals and the lost cash, he never grew tired of trusting people. He said he knew he was getting all the good karma looking at us, his children. That stuck. He was never the sentimental type.

So to the man I love with all my heart, advance happy Father’s day! I guess I will always be Papa’s little girl.


Light of my life

She was my first teacher. Always patient and encouraging. She taught me my abc’s, my 123’s. She taught me how to do laundry and cook. She taught me love.

She is my fan. Always been and always will be, I guess. She believes so much in me that, unintentionally, she put some heavy weight on my shoulders. I’m not complaining. I can’t. Because I saw how much she herself endured throughout the years. I remember asking her one time if she ever grew tired of all the hardships she continues to face every day for and because of the family. She said no. But she told me she hopes some kind of let up someday. So I try to be strong for her.

She is my bestfriend. I can tell her things I’d not willingly tell my friends. I told her about the boys and the crazy things I did in college. I sometimes catch panic in her eyes. Maybe she’s thinking I’ve become so wild being away from home but she doesn’t say anything. She trusts me to the point of practically giving me a carte blanche for my life. And I have not the heart to break her faith. I love her so much for that.

She showed us that love is more strongly expressed in actions and service rather than words. She sacrificed her life for us, giving up her career the time the gave birth to me, becoming a homemaker and the kindest, best mother in the world. I think of her and one scene always plays in my head and I find myself on the verge of tears, a knot in my heart.

“Happy mother’s day Ma.” Then I kiss her on the cheek. She kisses me back and smiles. And I’m thinking, “Oh God, she has no idea how much I love her.” I smile a little ruefully. She really doesn’t know.

She has no idea how that her memory gave me comfort during the times I was away from home, all throughout college. She has no idea how I never look at adobo, luggage, well-pressed clothes, and kitchens without ever thinking of her.

She is the light the beckons us home. And I fear that if I lost her, the world would also lose its colors.