June 18, 2010 It’s not that I have not sung enough public praises for this man, the father of my three children, but that I don’t think he has really seen or truly understood what is etched deep down in my heart. For occasionally, in our rare moments of disagreements, he would tell me how insensitive I was to his feelings. How I had hurt him with my jokes. And just how much he resented me for my ‘cruel’ words.
During these emotional confrontations, no one was willing to listen to the other. Both of us were too preoccupied with our own personal hurts to bother stopping and paying attention to what the other was trying to say. And to spare each other from further aggravations, I’d shut down our communication and choose to spend a few hours away either in solitude or in a shopping mall, in the midst of those nice clothes, shoes and all things a woman uses for consolation in moments like this.
For a while, my thoughts would get lost in those racks of enticing and impressive new arrivals. I’d let my tired mind rest on the sight of these clothes I’d love to wear, if only they’d fit. Darn it! None of the styles I really, really liked fit. Then I’d know it was time to go home. Three to four hours was all it took to jolt me back to reality. Suddenly I’d find myself loading my purchases, the end product of my perilous therapy, in my car’s trunk, where they were bound to remain hidden till “the coast was clear.”
And I’d let myself into our home. Quietly and without looking where he sat, I’d slip into our bedroom. I’d check my email and then go to bed and I’d close my eyes till I fall asleep. But dinner time would beckon this dutiful wife and like always, I’d prepare our meal. Quietly, I’d cook and set the table, never looking at this man who, after thirty-five long years of marriage, still couldn’t get used to his wife’s brand of humor.
Once the table was set, it was time to break the silence. A cold announcement that dinner was ready would cut through the still of the moment. And he’d come wearing his usual grin, ready to say sorry in his own peculiar way. There would be tears on my end but after the ‘storm,’ peace, love and harmony would once again reign in our abode.
This brief anecdote hopes to go beyond the public confession of a petty “quarrel” typical of my husband and me or of some other couples for that matter. For greater is my purpose than a public confession of what’s supposed to be locked behind closed doors. I want to apologize but more than anything, I want to open my husband’s eyes to a world where, next to our Lord, he reigns supreme.
I urge him to pay no attention to my jokes. They are words uttered in complete belief he’d get the real thing. That he’d know that underneath the rough coat of what he calls ‘insults,’ lie a genuine respect and awe for his person, for all the good he represents.
SUFFER NOT THE SMALL STUFF; THERE’S A BIG PICTURE YOU SHOULDN’T MISS.
Need I count the number of times I had unabashedly told people as long as situations allowed them, how you had passed the CPA Board here in Illinois without the benefit of a formal review class? How by just reading books and experimenting on your PC, you learned to automate your work and write programs for your accounting practice without going to a computer class… How you dared to start Philippine Time publication using Adobe Pagemaker after just one hour of listening and watching an $80./hour tutor demonstrate the use of this software? And how your insatiable thirst for knowledge had opened new doors for you and led you into this fast changing world of information technology?
Without any feeling of insecurity, I have always attributed to your genes the good traits and abilities of our three children. Your organization skills, photographic memory, mathematical prowess, ingenuity, industry, self confidence and more…
I’m sincerely happy that you are who you are, bold and fearless, frank and extremely honest, confident, unrelenting and full of dreams. I thank you for these qualities for I know these same qualities nurtured our children while they were growing up and formed the sinews of their character.
As a father, you were never the strict disciplinarian who could silence your children with a mere look or with one roaring warning to put them in their place. I wondered then if your easygoing attitude could be the reason our children didn’t seem half as serious with their studies as we would have wanted them to be. I wasn’t sure how each of them would fare in life when they were done with college and living on their own. Honestly, I feared the worst, not because I had little faith in you or in our children but more because I was afraid we didn’t do half as much as we should have done with them.
Thank God none of my fears came true. Our children grew up to be the fine men and woman any parent will be proud of. Each is now carving his or her own niche in a world that’s challenged on every front. But I don’t worry anymore. You have put that confidence in my heart and our faith in God has enhanced and multiplied whatever we have.
Finally, I thank you, the loving father of my children, for everything that you have done and didn’t do. Regardless of what I say or don’t say, please know that you are great just the way you are. A loving father and patient husband, our one and only Bart SG Tubalinal, Jr.
We love you so much. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!