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I couldn’t have said it better.  Even though as each year renews, I am fully aware that this day and that day will come, it is never any easier.  It is always a shock, like a jolt to the body, an unexpected swing to the head.  And I wish that my maturity can catch up to my age, but it doesn’t, at least not yet.

It’s not even halfway through the year and already, someone joined the Dead Daddy Club.  Yes, my friends and I have a sick twisted sense of humor, simply because it is easier than actually acknowledging the loneliness of not having them walk you down the aisle.  Still, I have to remind myself that while it does feel lonely here, I am not alone.

And maybe he isn’t too.  Maybe his space now is the space he needs.  Maybe he didn’t need to see how far we’ve all come because he found his peace in what he’s already seen.  Maybe — just maybe — this is all meant to be so I can be where I am now.  After all, if it weren’t for that day, I wouldn’t have gained clarity.  I would have been too scared to make the choices that brought me here, that afforded me the happiness I feel today.

So I hope maybe — said in a tone drenched in melancholy with a pinch of regret — one day, I can find a way to be happy about this day.  Because all I can think of is the day when I got married and he wasn’t in the family picture.  And the day when I packed my bags and he didn’t tape up my luggage.  And the day I got engaged and he wasn’t there to hug my then-fiancé.  And the take-care-of-my-daughter speech he never gave.  And the father-daughter dance we never got to do.

And that there are so much more ahead, and he won’t be there for any of it.

Maybe one day, I could find some sort of happiness that the peace he needed was not within the space I could have shared with him.

Happy birthday, Tatay.

The Taste of Home

My first taste of spring was optimistic, to put it lightly.  I was welcomed by Blizzard Jonas, and while my husband was slaving around shovelling snow, I was jumping in them.  Spring, though, looked exactly how I pictured it:  a true rebirth.  Everything that was dull and grey suddenly became bright and green, full of life and bloom.  So that only meant one thing:  it was time to fire up the grill.

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I meant it when I said that I miss my father’s cooking.  A part of me always struggles to bring that to the table, whenever I cook for our family or for a gathering.  In a way, I’m making sure that my father was not forgotten, and he was always known for being a good cook.  He’s a mechanic by the way, like my husband, but when he starts working in the kitchen, he will blow you away.

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My father always loved to grill… and I never liked it.  I found it difficult tempering the fire (especially back in my country where we do it in coals), it was too hot to keep cooking (since our normal day temperature was at least 95ºF), the food either cooked too fast or too slow, and you always ended up smelling like smoke.  But grilling was my father’s forte.

Imagine my joy when I heard from family members that my husband’s grilled pork belly tasted so closely to my father’s.  Since moving here, I requested for that pork belly every other month or so, and he would make it the same way, and it would taste the same way.  And it would always be perfect.

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Each time there’d be a gathering here, I try to volunteer his cooking.  Most of the time though, they’d request for it, just like when people requested my father to grill.  I feel blessed and fortunate to have the past, the present and the future all existing in the person I chose to spend my life with.

I truly am living the dream.

Day 6: From a high angle

My dad has never completely left his provincial roots, so you can just imagine his joy when it comes to caring for plants.  If you look in our frontyard, it’s not really the ideal planting area, but somehow my dad managed to grow two indian tress, a bougainvillea, and an atis tree.

And he climbs this ladder when it’s time to pick the fruits.  I love his mini harvest.  They’re always the sweetest.

 

I think I know already what his habit will be after retiring.  And I better get him a much better ladder then. :)