When I got married over two decades ago, I always visualized having at least three or four children. Sweet, cuddly daughters and fine young sons who would give us happiness and light up our lives. I assumed that with my husband’s brains and disposition coupled with my zest for life, we would raise dynamite kids. But today we have only one son and no daughter. Although he would grow up alone, he would never be lonely. He would be a special child.
My husband has always played a major role in the upbringing of our son. I give him a score of one hundred and one percent for all his endeavors although even with his ability and competence, the nurturing of this child was never easy. Since there is no school in fatherhood that lays down the groundwork in rearing up a helpless infant to adulthood, he has had to study the parenting course from A to Z.
Today, fathers share the ordeal and pain in bringing up the kids
from the delivery room up to the time he marches down the aisle with a son or daughter to give away in marriage. They take time out from their busy jobs to attend school meetings, play basketball and other countless games, watch sports on TV, tackle homework and do any of the 100 other things that define fatherhood. They leave impressions on their children’s lives in different ways. And I do know from experience that it’s the simple, common, ordinary things that seem to have the most impact on our children.
In the previous generation, the role of a father was solely patriarchal. All of us loved our Dads but we quaked in fear whenever he raised his voice. We respected and admired him but we were afraid to ask permission or rub him the wrong way. They always seemed to set certain standards and norms for us to follow and there was none of the intimacy, casualness and openness that kids have today with their fathers.
I am now remembering my father who was always roaming the world’s seven seas. He was seldom home and his infrequent homecomings were major events in our young lives. Even then, I always knew he played favorites and he always brought home the nicest gift for our youngest sister. My brothers and my other sister tried our best to curb jealous streaks but we could never rationalize the logic of it all. We accepted his decision and abided with his choice. We just learned to live with it.
And like everything else, what goes around, comes around. Life has come to a full circle. I have finally exorcised the demons of my childhood. Now that I have a child of my own, I quite understand why many fathers have a special child. Of course they try their utmost best to give equal and fair treatment to all their children but if they have a favored one, that’s perfectly normal. They cannot help it for they are only human.
I know my father kept a special corner in his heart for this one child who has inherited not only his coloring and looks but also his vagabond blood. This sister who never answered back when scolded, easily smiled and laughed and never failed to send him cute cards and funny letters. He found it easy to understand her moods better than the rest of us. She gave him fewer problems and was a very lovable and giving child.
Spanning this fragile and enduring relationship close to five decades now, I am now verbalizing these thoughts that lay buried within me. I want to tell him that I totally comprehend his feelings towards my youngest sister and why he was able to love and see her as the important daughter. I want to tell him that in spite of everything, I truly appreciate the time, love, regard and effort he shared with us. The beauty of it all is at this time I have come to realize that life hasn’t ended after my mom’s death. Rather, I am definitely doing my best to bridge the gap by being there for him now that he is alone and lonely. So for you Papa, belated Happy Father’s Day!