First of all, I would like to pay tribute to my Daddy, who until this day, for me, remains to be the greatest man that ever lived. I’d like to say “I love you” for being the best father a person could ever have, for nurturing me and taking care of me from the time I was young until now, for protecting me from any danger (real or perceived), for loving me unconditionally, for being a model of integrity, for being dependable and for always being there when I needed you. Thank you for making me feel like the most beloved child in the entire world, for making me aspire to reach even half of your greatness, and for making me strive hard to make you proud of me in everything I say, do, or even think. Thank you for the memories of a big, strong, powerful man cradling his youngest daughter to sleep with a softly-sung lulluby and the gentle drumming of his big fingers on her wide, vulnerable brow.
Secondly, I would like to pay tribute to Tatay, my father–in-law, who has shown unwavering love and care for my daughter, Jamie. Because I was so weak after giving birth and Nestor had to wake up early in the mornings to oversee the construction of our house, it was Tatay who took care of Jamie during the night and the wee hours of the morning, never uttering a serious complaint even when there were times Jamie insisted on playing, being fed and being cradled at 2 a.m. When everyone’s muscles have started to ache and everyone’s patience has run thin, Tatay will always lovingly play with Jamie, until she finally gets groggy and goes to sleep. It is Tatay who always ensures that Jamie never sleeps without her mosquito net, that Jamie never sleeps alone, that Jamie is snug and comfortable and that all of her things are clean and repaired periodically. Tatay is always the first to console her when she cries and the first to always make her smile.
Last, but definitely not the least, I would like to pay tribute to my husband and Jamie’s Daddy, Nestor. I never thought it would be possible for me to fall in love with him again many months after we got married. But I did, over and over again.
I fell in love with him again…
…when I saw his face light up like that of a little boy’s when I told him I was pregnant.
…when he assured me that I would still be his original baby even when we have tons of kids.
…when I saw him take on most of the household chores because I got tired easily during my pregnancy.
…when I saw how patiently he tried to understand my mood swings and my somewhat unreasonable requests/demands during the course of my pregnancy.
…when he accidentally sawed his palm (twice) just so he could make me a bookcase for all my books, and he even had to rush to the hospital himself to get treated.
…when I saw how he was with my family and friends, how he made them his own as well.
…when I saw how very conscientious and painstaking he was in overseeing the construction of our house, from the start until the completion. There were many times when he was almost single-handedly doing most of the work, from mixing the cement, to smoothing and painting the steel grilles, to raking the garden soil, to planting the grass sods, to landscaping the front garden, to cutting tiles, to checking all nooks and crannies for any defects, to preparing the weekly payroll, to buying all the materials himself, just so we could finish the house within our budget. He had become sun-baked in his dedication and has retained many “battle” scars in the process – scrapes, wounds, deep gashes, you name it, chances are, he’s got it.
…when even though he was super busy, he found time to decorate our apartment bedroom with balloons and flowers on valentine’s day (which happened to coincide with our first wedding anniversary) last February, 2000, just so he could surprise me. He even had to walk through the mall holding this huge heart-shaped balloon, braving the stares and the smiles from everyone he passed by.
…when he had to shuttle between the hospital and the construction site when I gave birth so he could be with me and yet ensure that the construction was still proceeding well. Most of the time, he would just crawl in beside me in the hospital bed and sleep soundly from sheer exhaustion.
…when he took care of me during the few days after I gave birth – from giving me alcohol sponge baths, to even cleaning after my mess, to helping me overcome my fever and pain when I was full of milk that Jamie couldn’t suck, to just understanding my brief depression and crying jags.
…when he had to stay overnight at the construction site alone during the holy week, because the workers all went home for the holidays and no one would be guarding the site against thieves and robbers.
…when I would see him pick up and cradle Jamie in his arms.
…when he would play with Jamie and make her scream with laughter.
…when he would powder her and change her diapers.
…when I would see his features in Jamie’s face.
…when he would look at me gently and tell me he loved me.
…when I would wake up wrapped in his warm embrace.
Three different and extra-ordinary men — My Daddy, Jamie’s ever-patient and dependable Tatay, and my husband & Jamie’s Daddy. Jamie and I will be forever blessed that we have the three of you in our lives. Happy Father’s Day! May this tribute convey to you that you are very much appreciated, respected and loved.