RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Dad

Things That Make Me Happy ( A BC Bloggers Meme )

For some happiness, is a state of mind . It can be a place where you can just be yourself without a care in the world. Some people find it elusive while others still do not know what it is. Wether it is a fleeting fancy or an infectious thing, happiness is real. You cannot  find what you’re looking for unless you search for it.

Below are just some of  the things that make me happy :
1. Listening to my kids’ laughter.
2. Sharing stories with my mom and being grateful that she had chosen to move on in spite of all  the challenges she had been through.
3. Writing and getting comments from readers even from other parts of the world that they like what they read.
4. Music.
5. Remembering my dad and how he loved telling me stories on almost about everything.
6. Remembering my simple life as a kid with my family at our old nipa hut.
7. Watching my favorite shows.
8. Running and getting fit.
9. Meeting old friends  where you cannot get enough of the stories and laughter shared in between.
10. Learning new things until you become good at it.
11. Watching my awesome nephew make a name for himself in Philippine Basketball wether live at the hard court or on television.
12. Keeping in touch with my relatives by just a simple message on facebook.com.
13. Seeing my kids’ initiative to be independent including making simple decisions for themselves.
14. Getting a gift from my aunt who is also my godmother at the age of forty and seeing her usual greeting,”How are you  Sarah?”
15. Waiting and knowing that one day, I will be able to see most of my relatives in the US, most of whom I had not seen for a very long time including my one and only sister and her family.
16. Meeting and knowing there are  people who understand my kids’ specialness .
17. Getting a hug from a very good friend who I rarely see.
18. Having me rest to catch up on my sleeping only to wake up with my meal ready to eat.
19. Simple acts of kindness from strangers to friends.
20. Dreaming  that  financial security and emotional contentment will happen any day from now.
21. Eating fruits, veggies, ice cream and almost anything I find delicious with no guilt at all.
As one continue to look at the brighter side of life, happiness will always find its way to those who search for it. A door might closed on you one day only to learn that a window was already open waiting for you to get in. Life anyway consists of many chances and  it is  not really that hard to always count your blessings.
If you are one blogger who love to meet other people and joining memes, you can join BC Bloggers at http://www.mommydiary.net/join-bc-bloggers-here
It will definitely be worth the experience. 

BC Blogger Meme

Of Bicycles, Friendships and Fort Stotsenburg

Anybody who loves history would know that Clark Airbase used to be called Fort Stotsenburg. Situated three miles west of Angeles City and eighty kilometers north of Manila, it was not just the main base for the US Cavalry in the Philippines but a place of opportunity not only for Kapampangans but for people who  wanted to earn a living in other parts of the country even then.

We often heard stories from old people that life before was very hard. Money was scarce and that kids were  encouraged to help their families financially. Children’s rights advocates were unheard then, so is child labor. It was the time before Pearl Harbor.

In my dad’s family, two of my uncles enlisted in the Military. An aunt worked for the Bases’ laundrymat and my dad worked at a bicycle shop. He also became a houseboy to some military families.  Our family hails from Lubao which is the last town of Pampanga, just a few kilometers away from Bataan and Olongapo.

My dad ‘s family was dirt poor. He was orphaned at an early age and grew up without  a father.Though he was a product of a third marriage and had three siblings,  he also had half brothers and sisters which really did not matter even then. Grandma tried all sorts of jobs, so she can feed her kids. Dad once told me that they would have cooked rice and salt for their meals. He and his is youngest brother  Pinong, whom he was really fond of,  would add some water on the cooked rice,  so it would have some taste. These were days when they were lucky. Some days were not. And my grandma could not help but shed a tear, while they were gathered together at the dinner table. That was enough for my aunt Afric and my dad ,who was the second eldest in his brood, to leave Lubao,  and try his luck at Fort Stotsenburg. And true enough he did.

At the bicycle shop, dad’s boss was an American, thus he learned his English firsthand. Day by day, my dad did not only  earn a living, he also earned a teacher and a friend. The American would teach him the basics  of  his work and my dad would follow. Day by day, he learned to forget how lonely it was to leave his family in Lubao so they could eat regular meals, choosing not to be a burden instead. My aunt Naty who was the youngest, once said that he once took her and uncle Pinong to the bicycle shop as a treat. He bought them bubblegum which were too big  for their small mouths to chew, that they could not even open them to speak. And my dad would laugh at them, because he knew his siblings were overwhelmed not only with  the taste of candies but of the stories that needed to be shared for the short time they were together.

When Pearl Harbor broke out, life became chaos. It became survival.  Dad was trapped in Angeles City where as his family in  Lubao evacuated. It may have been months, maybe years. Most people were not mindful of counting how long the war will last then , but how soon it would be over. My dad’s family thought he was already dead. They lost track of him. It was very painful but each of them hope, that one day they will all be together.

It turned out that  dad’s boss hid him.  Perhaps, in a way,  the American felt like a father, protective of his son and his welfare. He too, wished that both of them will survive. After a long time, when the war  was nearing  its end, and it was safe enough to come outside, my dad had to say the inevitable. He told his boss, that he need to go back to Lubao. The American, was hesitant to let him leave. He  told my dad that he may not find his family anymore, that they may have not survived. He even offered him to have a life in the US, adopt him as his son, so he can have a better life. He was so touched, not only by my dad’s sense of professionalism  but his love for his family as well.

But my dad declined.

He told him that he will always be grateful for his kindness but he will try to pick up the pieces of his life, or of what’s left in Lubao. And that he can never leave his family behind.

It was then that the American let him go. I am not  sure if he even helped my dad  assemble a bicycle so he can get to Lubao much faster. In a way, the bicycle was not just a gift,  but a bond,  a reminder of a friendship that will never be forgotten.

The trip from Angeles to Lubao was a painful one. My dad let go, not only of an opportunity but a dream that could have changed his life.  Still, he chose to be with his family, if he will be lucky enough to find them.

After passing many towns,  destroyed by the war, asking around about his family, he finally found them.  They had all survived. The emptiness that he felt so long  suddenly was replaced by happiness now that he is back. The pain of waiting was all worth it.

This story was a product of the bits and pieces of  stories, randomly told  by my mom , aunt Naty and sometimes by my  dad. Now I know why we  he  named his kids  with American names. Now I know why we grew up  watching mostly American shows, even documentaries in which I am  now thankful of.  Maybe this explains why, when my dad had a bicycle for a  gift,  took  good care of it even to his last days.

Perhaps, he remembered, how it felt to have a father and how he found a friend during the time of war.

And just maybe he remembered, his humble beginnings, at  a place once called Fort Stotsenberg.

(image credits  to wikepedia.com)

Finding Your Way Home

Most of us perhaps feel that one of the most defining moments in our lives was when we braved our way to get home from school on our own. For those who were not well off to have a car and hire the services of a family driver, join the school bus even, and just simply do with the help of a guardian, household help or a kind neighbor, that time will come when one just wished things will be different, that one will be allowed to take care of himself and not continue to burden anybody else. I remembered that day when I decided to take command of such things. Too clearly, that it was one of the most told stories I had shared with my kids.

 

I went to a school where my mom taught. It was an accident prone area were most provincial busses going to Olongapo and Bataan would pass by. During the  70’s , the ratio of the accidents was one student a year but that had grown tremendously through the years. At that time my dad would not even entertain the idea of letting me or my siblings go home on our own. He may have been over protective but he did not care. Until that time when he did not have any choice, that is.

 

My mom was sent to the Division Office to attend a seminar. She asked a fellow colleague who was also an aunt and a neighbor to accompany me home. And since working mothers were good in multi tasking , my aunt went first to the market  which was close to the school before we head home. Since there were a lot of people , she left me  in a stall, told me to wait for her when she was done.

 

A few minutes had passed while waiting for my aunt. Those few minutes lasted for half an hour, then for an hour. I was already bored and worried because it  started to get dusk. The kind lady who was the stall owner happened to be my dad’s relative as well. She told me that she will bring me home because it seemed, my aunt had forgotten me.

 

I felt terrible as one feels rejection easily when you are left out, be it accidentally, worst intentionally. You feel helpless, alone and afraid. And that feeling stays with you for a long time.  Later I learned that my aunt was preoccupied and was in a hurry to get home because one of her kids were sick. I had no choice but to  understand.

 

I told myself then, I will not let that happen again. Strange enough, it did but this time I finally had the guts to decide for myself.

 

When my mom had a miscarriage and filed for a leave, my dad had no choice to trust my mom’s colleagues to see me off, each time I leave and head home from school. I think that lasted for almost a month, until I cannot take it any longer. One day, I decided to take my own route, went home early, and told my dad what I have done.

 

“Why did you do it?” “What had gotten in that stubborn mind of yours again? Have you not thought that something might have happened to you?” Concern was written on my dad’s face. I almost regretted what I have done but I have to tell him the reason why.

 

I told him I do not want to be accompanied when I leave for school anymore. That I want to be with other kids when they walk their way home  That I do not want to be left out again after relying someone will be there for me, only to learn that I am alone afterwards.

 

He became quiet. Trying to understand what I said. Thinking if it was about time for me to take that giant step. Finally he said, “Starting tomorrow, you can go home on your own but  I still cannot trust you to go to school by yourself. I do not want you crossing the street when some drivers think they own the road. I will not wait for that day for somebody to tell me, you are not going home anymore.”

 

Those words had been etched in my mind until now. Now that I already have kids. Now when all of them go to school. Except for my youngest, who still needs my guidance, all of them have to rely on themselves, brave the streets, trusting them enough, that they know what they are doing.The story that I told them many times  was done intentionally so that one day, when they feel that I had gotten used to their independence, when they thought they felt I had cared less because I am swamped with the demands of my work, to always remember  that when they head for the door, and feel their old enough to decide for themselves, that it will always be left open, waiting for their return, hoping finally that they had  found their way home.