MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 18 June) — For the one who first thought that there should be Father’s Day inasmuch as there is Mother’s Day, I give my gratitude to him/her. As a father, though, and as an advocate for gender-sensitivity, I must admit that the mother deserves better accolades and recognition than the father. This is not pampering nor an excessive advocacy for gender equality but rather a recognition that being host to a child in the womb for nine months is no ordinary task if not an ordeal altogether.
This Sunday, June 21, 2020, is Father’s Day here in the Philippines. Of all special events and holidays this is the least celebrated, I think, and if ever, it is celebrated with less fanfare and candor (I am not being sentimental). Simply stated, the celebration of Father’s Day (at least in my part of the world), except for some few, is largely superficial and less significant.
As a father, I am laying down the terms and conditions on how I would want celebration of my ‘own day’ so that I would feel more honored and pampered, thus to me, making it more meaningful and significant. Also, with the hope that this will somehow guide children of other fathers and mothers in terms of approximating what may make their father’s day celebration much better this time. This greatly varies, though, from one culture to another as there are different preferences from one father to another.
While I like most my children and wife to show they care for me, that care doesn’t have to cost a whole lot – which means that material things do not count so much for me at my age now. Instead, I yearn for gestures which tell me our relationships had improved a lot. That would be the best gift of all.
Of course, if only to express family bonding in terms of material things, I would not turn down an offer from them to have lunch or dinner from our favorite fast food chain or food courts from our favorite shopping malls. I would love, most of all, to take the grandchildren with me as we stroll around inside those cool shopping malls. (Too bad, this is not yet possible, for now, due to the COVID pandemic).
I know too that I can’t stop my children and wife to give me some presents but I always tell them to avoid the expensive ones. I give them some hints, though, on what to give me – like, I tell them to consider my hobby (gardening) and favorite sports (lawn tennis and practical shooting). Last year, one of my sons (there are three of them plus a daughter) gave me pumpkin and cucumber seeds to sow, plant and nurture. I was so happy with them.
A framed photo showing how we were when they were several years younger (preferably from their elementary and high school days) would be a pleasant surprise too. Once in a while, it’s good to reminisce how our bonding looked like when they were in their tender years – when they were so innocent and lovable. It gives me the thrill of imagining and comparing how we have become different in dealing with each other now, like – when they were small kids, they were uncomplaining, obedient and very respectful. I mean they were so easy to please then. Now that they are grown-ups and with their own respective families, we (I and my wife) have to assert our way through an argument to convince them that our idea is better. Otherwise, there will be some kind of resentment, obvious or subtle. Well, once in our lifetime as parents, we really have to come to terms with how fast the kids are growing. It’s one of the realities of parenting that we have to be prepared with anytime.
Maybe, a little unique thing from them would be to reach out to me, when say – for example, we are not in talking terms with any one of them. There is nothing that would please me so much if they make the first move, and I say unique, because in my almost forty years now as a father, it never happened that way. I always make the first move and I hope it means that my anger subsides much faster than theirs. Or, could that be part of the never-ending pampering that parents usually do? Maybe, it’s not a good idea but I always succumb first. While I want to look strict and firm as a disciplinarian, the soft spot in my heart refuses to cooperate. Should they make the first move, I promise it will give me an entirely new feeling as a father.
Or, offer me surprise advice on how best to keep our bonding with their babies – a bit different from the usual advice they give me like – “this baby’s dress is so becoming with baby Drew or baby Yarrah” :-). That is almost always an unwelcome advice but we always end up buying them just the same.
A little creativity like a handmade gift is also a great trigger that excites a lot, as far as I am concerned. Sometimes the best gifts aren’t the ones you order from the online shops. In fact, there’s nothing that says “I love you” more than a nice handmade gift. Aside from the personal touch, the loving efforts that go with it touches me most.
And best of all, I must admit, I am so happy with my four children (and their spouses and children) and my wife. They never miss to greet me with their “I Love Yous” on Father’s Day. Having them with me at home is already a gift much better than anything else. They make me feel like everyday is Father’s Day.
[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid, PhD (FB account: Maxim Sense) is a freelance writer. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics in the graduate school]