I guess you could call me a Daddy’s girl.
While I spent most of my infancy with my Mom, it was my Dad who had more time in his hands when I started going to school. He would help me get ready every morning by tying my hair into pigtails, a cute memory that would later make me think if it was his decision to have my hair chopped off so I can sport the then trendy (but ugly) “apple haircut.”
On weekends or during vacations, I would remember having short walks with him — to the nearby store or club house. Sometimes, he would carry me on his bike (One day we both fell off and I had a nasty wound on my knee, which was also the reason why I have vowed never to ride a bicycle again).
I have always attributed my decision to write for a living to his influence. Being a pack rat and a lover of stories, he kept a lot of old magazines and books, which I read when I got bored of playing with the other kids (which was often). And that was how I was introduced to Louisa May Alcott, Reader’s Digest, Mad Magazine, and even the Treasures of Tutankhamun (a photo book of the majestic tomb of the pharaoh, which featured hundreds of priceless artifacts and golden objects).
On lazy afternoons, he regaled me and my brother with stories of aswangs and local folklore from the Visayas (or how he survived a shipwreck a few years before he met my mother #truestory). I knew that he made up some of the supernatural things he said but I still hang on to his every word. He was and still is the best storyteller in the family.
It was through his stories that I came to love reading, and later writing. I saw books and stories as a portal to another world or a faraway land.
It was also his adventurous streak (he would sometimes share with us how he got into a motorcycle accident once or some random funny anecdote about his old barkada) that made me look at the world in a different way. Later on, I would come to realize that life is not about growing up and getting a good job but about adventures and friends and good stories to pass on to your children and grandchildren.
While it was my Mom who forced me to take singing lessons when I was young, it was my Dad who taught me how to play with the guitar. On rare occasions, the three of us (with my brother on the drums) would play together and annoy the neighbors.
To make the long story short, my Dad was the first person I met who was into arts (he drew well), music (he used to play in a band), and literature (he also wrote poems for my Mom). He was the only one like that in our extended family (now it’s the two of us).
I guess I am now closer to my Mom (because…girl talk) but included in my list of little things that make my day is driving with my Dad. Dad knows the importance of silence (unlike my Mom and other female relatives who tire me with stories). And while we have different views, I like talking to him about politics, world news and…well, Facebook. He also knows how to handle me and my brother — not through scolding, but by sitting us down and talking to us like adults.
I am who I am now because of my parents. And from my Dad I got my love for arts and literature. Most importantly, my Dad taught me that it’s okay to be silly and to dream about the impossible (like meeting fairies or traveling the world).
Dad, we love you. Happy birthday!