A “dance” to remember

WE ARE a group of ladies who are doing well in our chosen professions. Recently, we decided to have a post-Father’s Day celebration in honor of the special men in our lives.

An after-dinner gathering, we started with an In Memoriam part for some of us whose fathers have passed away to share memories. One lady described her father as “larger than life” not only to her, but also to others since he was a much-loved, well-respected politician for two decades. She is forever grateful to the man who shaped her, the man who was her guide, protector, punisher and No. 1 fan. The only time she saw him shed tears was when she sang on stage when she was young. That image struck a chord in her, so she vowed to never let her father down. This was her inspiration to achieve and excel. Father’s Day was an emotional day for her as he is greatly missed. Another lady, an only child, remembers beautiful times with her parents. Her father was a self-made man who was very generous, at times seemingly more giving to others than to his family. She talked about a time when the circus came to town, and she was beside herself with excitement. Unfortunately, a business partner swung into town, and her father called to tell her that the circus will have to wait. Naturally, she cried so hard – that’s how a child holds his father to his word. Her father did come home, and they went to the circus, but somehow it wasn’t as good. Since then, unless he was certain, he would just say, “Let’s see.” We also talked about a father who loved his daughter so much even though he was a priest. She grew up in the convent with the social stigma “anak ng pari.”

No Christmas or special occasion was spent solely with him since the day was shared with parishioners. No matter, she is proud of her father who stood by her despite the odds. One lady told her story of not having a father. “My mother was jilted on the day of the “pamalay.” My father never came. To mend her heart and save face, she went to Manila and gave birth there,” she said. So she grew up not knowing anything about her father. And she had all sorts of questions about how it would have been if she grew up with one. As time passed, the questions didn’t matter anymore, but her determination to succeed and take care of her mom became a strong drive. “I vowed to give my mother all the things she never had because she devoted her life to take care of me.” Another lady, another only child, said her father made sure she would grow up independent and self-reliant. When she entered high school, she was sent away to study. She was given an allowance to budget for food and needs. The father wouldn’t say when he was sending her allowance, so she learned to save up. She had to wash her clothes, cook her food, etc. When she got to college, her father gave her a grill and a supply of two kilos of pork but also cut her allowance. She had to sell barbecue during non-school hours to fend for herself. That’s how she learned to handle business money, to always have the principal capital revolving and spend only the profit. Later, she realized that her father left money with her uncles in case she was really in need. Her father also emphasized travel as another educational avenue. She got a licensed course and then took another course, moved abroad for a while and now handles numerous business concerns. For all her success, she credits her father for molding her into what she is.

Though most of our fathers have passed away, they continue to live in our hearts, and we think and pray for them. We ended the night holding each other in a circle, loving tears flowing and swaying to the song, “Dance with My Father Again.”

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