Off to work one day, I gave my little daughter a hug and a short chat. Just as I was leaving, she held her arms tightly around my nape and pleaded me to stay.  I had to leave her crying and it felt so heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

Later in the jeep, my wife kept blaming me for earlier teasing my daughter of taking her with me to work. I thought she was just so jealous that my daughter wanted to go with me rather than with her.

Last year, I dreaded receiving any text message or wall post greeting me a happy father’s day for I cringe at thought of being called a father, but this day seemed to change it.

Yes, I used to dread the thought of fatherhood for fear of failing in many respects.  Honestly, I didn’t have a good relationship with my own tatay so there was no one I could look up to as a good model. My father even died four years before I had a son and married Queen, my wife.  I have kept this fear to myself for many years until now.

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My children know I’m not pogi, they refuse to call me such but cares not about my appearance and loves me unconditionally, even surpassing my wife’s affection.

All my life, I have known only a handful of grown up men I had no idea whether they were good fathers themselves. I grew up very close to my nanay who was always there for me because my father works stay-in in a factory in Mandaluyong.

Most of the memories I had with my father were full of regrets: the few moments spent speaking to him when he addresses me; the day I didn’t know he came to take me home from a boystown in Cavite but because I didn’t know it was him I refused to be taken home. I regret the only time he sat beside me on a bus on our way to a hospital and attempted to engage me on a conversation. I wasn’t so used of talking to him I could only nod and say a few words as an awkward reply.

I also regret the time I did not spend taking care of him in the hospital days before he died unceremoniously.

You would ask me why this post is entitled Joys of Fatherhood when all I do is to take a litany of sad moments with my father. Well, it’s because I’ve wholeheartedly accepted fatherhood now not because of what my father failed to give me personally but of what I can learn from the very little he has given me.  I know he loved me but he wasn’t just too affectionate.  Nevertheless, I do not regret that he was my father I could even proudly say I am my father’s son.

Learning to accept your role as a father despite of your many fears and being able to draw inspiration from your own father reflects the first joy of fatherhood for me.

Being able to love your children even when at one point in your life you once felt deprived of it is an accomplishment that should bring you immense joy.

Realizing that your children loves you back and accepts you for being who you are is a gospel to share. My children know I’m not pogi, they refuse to call me such but cares not about my appearance and loves me unconditionally, even surpassing my wife’s affection.

Recognizing the small things that could bring joy to your children without worrying too much about the cost is a deal so glorious.

Telling your kids wonderful stories again and again even ones you just made up, sharing with their laughter and amazement is a bliss nothing compares.

Hoping to see your children grow up God-fearing, people-caring and knowledge-loving is a joy you could look up to.

I could add more to this list, things I am yet to discover as a father.  At the moment, allow me ruminate on what I already know and relish my present joys of fatherhood.

Next week, many parts of the world will celebrate Father’s day. Please greet your fathers a happy father’s day for me as I already did for my father in Facebook.  Hoping that sa langit ay may Facebook.

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