- Posted June 15, 2014 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From My Father: A Lesson on Humanity
Scrolling pages on FB to see about Father's day posts that I can fully relate with, I can hardly find anything that described fathers other than superheroes, a far cry from who my father was. My father was fully human.
His strengths came with his weaknesses. He drank, he smoked, and showed he was weak when he followed my mother to the grave barely a year after my mother's death. I wished he was stronger to be there for us but he succumbed to loneliness. I was the youngest and had to find my way in this world to find my own place after he died. That was not clearly a nice thing for a father to do. Aren't fathers supposed to be there to make things as easy as heaven for their children?
I remember one night out with my high school barkada at the Kiamba Plaza to watch a singing competition. I came home late to find out that everyone was out to the plaza and that my grand mother Apong Emmang was left alone in the house. I got a good beating with a belt that night. I went to school the following day with visible belt marks , my eyes swollen from crying and stares from classmates. They did not know that I had ice cream from my father later that Monday and that was the only beating episode my entire life.
In grade one where I attended first grade in Luan, Sarangani, Philippines, there were times I was left with only with my siblings or my small classmates to cross a huge river to go to school. We would hold hands as we jump from one log to the other as the logs roll. With a small mistake, we could either be crushed in between the logs or drown in the deep river. Why did my father allow this?
I am now in the US where every single child is taught to call 911 if a parent hurts them. Kids are brought and fetched from school in cars and children are clearly protected.
I recall my father giving my favorite doll away, probably thinking that I didn't like the doll anymore. He also gave way to my classmate getting the color I wanted to have as a costume for a dance. Come on, he was the school Principal and his kid can get the color she wants but this did not happen. These were other crying episodes because of what my father did.
I would also recall many nights where we have to spend many hours washing dishes, or in early mornings where he would wake us up to cook breakfast for a steady streams of visitors coming to the house, especially on weekends. They were natives who came to trade their "ugsa meat" for his fish catch or just came to tell their stories. We had live deer and monkeys for pets and deer horns for coat hangers. Those times he spent with his visitors were quality times taken from us.
In retrospect, I now clearly see that his being human has taught me a lot to be human myself. In his eyes, I saw that there are others who did not have any toy and poor enough to even have a choice of any color of clothes to wear. He gave rice and fish away but we never once missed a meal.
In his fishing trips where he brought us, he would allow us to swim in the deep sea. Knowing that we can swim, he probably thinks that we can manage to cross the river alone.
Papang you were right. Leaving us alone meant that we have to discover the God given elements given to all men to survive. Thank you for the lessons in responsibility,generosity, humility, kindness, patience and love. You believed in us, allowing us to explore the world yet fully grounded in the knowledge that all things will pass and it is okay to be human.
If you were here to day, I would tell you I was happy to have known a father complete with his strengths and weaknesses because if you were perfect, you will take the place of God who in His perfection does not wave a magic wand to make life wonderful for his children, but rather make them discover the wonderful creatures they truly are.
Happy father's day to all the imperfect fathers including mine! He is Lucio Asistin Peralta.