Saturday, June 16, 2007
He's the Man
I once called him "Papa" when i was younger. I shifted to "Tatay" when i heard my cousins calling their father with this address. It sounded better, dearer and sweeter than "Papa" from my young mind's point of view that's why. I could even remember the period when children my age would be very conscious with the addresses that they call their parents. It seemed that such name-calling is equivalent to the financial status of the family. Daddy for the affluent, papa for the middle class and tatay for those below or in the poverty line. This was no big deal with me. Yep! Even if some classmates would judge me with the way i address my parents. As far as i was concerned, we didnt grow hungry, my father provides for our family and i didnt even care with the financial status thingie or whatsoever. Tatay sounded better. Period.
There are a lot of things that i could remember about Tatay. Might as well enumerate those fond memories ive had of him:
1. He is both strict and sweet. He is very strict with time. Better be early than be late. This is the reason why i always find myself alone in a meeting or in school. I usually come to school early for tatay was my alarm clock. Sunday mornings were full of tension. He wakes us all up for church way too early. Sundays were supposed to be precious for we could extend a little longer in bed but not when Tatay wakes us up. He is soft-spoken to the point that we could determine when he's angry with the change in the tone of his voice. Such change could trigger our tearglands to function. His is the last word at home. In short, He's the man.
As to his sweeter side, he never goes home from work without "something". "Something" was the word that we used when we refer to pasalubong. A giant burger one evening or a siopao in the next and not to forget those ice creams. Most of the time, we played treasure hunting, looking for those "something" that he hid within our vicinity. When we were younger, he put us to sleep with his lullabyes. He sang to us some ilonggo songs that we still could remember until now. He writes sweet letters too. No wonder Nanay fell for him. I found some old letters that he sent to Nanay and I when he was working in Manila. I was 2 or 3 years old back then when he wrote those letters yet he always had a paragraph in those letters that's addressed to me. He reminded me how loved and special i am.
2. He's a verrrrrry good cook. I missed those tinolang manok, bakareta and many others when i left bacolod for medical school. The reason why i was picky with the food that i eat and that i am a good cook myself (im feeling a strong gush of wind in my room right now), is because i got used in eating good food at home especially when it's Tatay who prepares them. But then, for the whole four years that i was away, they made sure to send me some of Tatay's dishes through LBC if not twice, at least once a month.
3. He's not particular with money to the point that he's never frugal. Quiet a negative trait but his principle would be that he couldnt bring those bucks when he dies. He doesnt know how to haggle. I remembered how furious Nanay was when he bought us our toy pots made of clay at twice its original price. He bought the item right then after asking for its cost. He gives large tips too. Sometimes im even tempted to think that he never values hard earned money. I realized though that this trait of his could go a long way for he's able to help a lot of people. Ok, lemme describe him now as generous.
4. He's got good interpersonal relations. I guess i got this from him. Hmmm maybe from both of them. Tatay is close with the elderly and the young. The reason i guess why i preferred internal medicine is because im close with the elderlies too.
The rugby boys at the public plaza know Tatay. In fact we could always get a good parking when we go to church for even if were still a few meters away, his friends could already recognize him. He onced stopped the car somewhere and opened the window only to see him giving out his spare shirt to the barker whom he know. Once stopped at the middle of the street to give the traffic enforcer an umbrella for it was raining hard yet he has to keep on working. The elders in our community love him too that he has been constantly cajoled to run for office in the barangay. He's not just a politician though.
5. He is one of my very strong pillar in this profession that i took. I remembered that time that he told his friend that he'll never allow me to bring those huge bags that medreps carry. He'll send me to medical school for whatever cost just so ill be spared from having to carry those big bags. He didnt realize that my books were heavier than sample meds.hehe When i decided to have my training, he was one of those who prodded me to take it in this government hospital where i am currently in. He assured me that it was not just i who was prepared in this training but them too. He was the one responsible for my toxicity because of his prayers...hehe Seriously, i get his 100% support 24/7. He drives and fetches me from work and he brings me my dinner when im on duty.
6. He's a renewed smoker and alcoholic of more than a decade and a good patient. He started young and fortunately stopped young too. He has been keeping promises to Nanay that he'll stop his vices and eventually, he was able to, without any withdrawal symptoms. Maybe, he was thinking of our sake. When i was in gradeschool, I remembered how he allowed me to finish a small glass of beer while he was drinking at home. I asked for some for me to taste. In a few minutes, i developed wheal all over my body and my face became bloated making me look like a puffer fish. This is the story why beer was banned at home. As to cigarettes, we all are sensitive to smoke. In short, our place is a smoke-free zone. At present, he has hypertension and dyslipidemia. He takes maintenance medications for it and he has good compliance. He watches his diet too. If there's one thing that a doctor is happy about is that when his/her patient heeds his/her advise.
If i were to write more about tatay, i might be able to once again post my longest blog. I just cant help but recall those times and be thankful at the same time to the One in power who gave me my Tatay. I am half less the person that i am right now if not for him. I am never where i am right now if not for him too.
So for tomorrow, here's for the Man of the House, "Happy Father's Day Tatay!" And this goes to all of the Fathers out there.