I GOT married to my wife in January some 26 years ago, first by a justice of the court and later, the pastor of a church.
During our first 10 years of marriage, my wife practically taught me what it is like to be a married man.
All I know was that after the ceremonies, marriage is about living with my wife and together we raise a family.
It is not as simple and hard as I thought. To my wife, the marriage ceremony is just the beginning. Every day of our wedded life is a celebration. It is a good reason for my pay envelope to be surrendered to her in full.
Well, this is how our married life, which is a daily celebration unfolded throughout the years.
Important to our first 10 years is the celebration of our anniversary together. It is not always splashy but certainly befitting of a young couple very much in love. When we had children, they joined in the celebrations. Today, with three children, we always look forward to celebrating this event together, usually outside in a restaurant downtown.
I am not particular about celebrating birthdays, even my own. It was celebrated in my family but I have not given it much thought and importance. With my wife and new family, the tradition and celebration of birthdays continue as an added list to our family life’s observances.
When I was a child, it was as if every day was a mother’s and/or a father’s day. Mom and Dad seem to be always around. Even when dad was away, he was still around. In fact, we felt them almost anytime anywhere whatever we are doing. It was their day, not ours. But whether they hound you or bring cheers and fun – you know they are not monsters, but Angels.
In my marriage, we celebrated Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day through the eyes of our children, like the way they decorated our bedroom wall with expressive cutouts of their own thoughts regarding our 26th wedding anniversary. When work and the day are done, we dine out. It is simple as that.
I am writing this on Father’s Day and the greetings since yesterday are still fresh to my eyes and ears. It is certainly a lovely and special day today. My wife bought some inexpensive gifts like hair lotion and brewed coffee. Later, she brought out the most expensive gift – a LeAmoure perfume brand - which she bought out of the savings she silently scrimped overtime from various sources in our expenditures. Now I know why I felt cheated from eating the dishes I liked.
Before they went to worship services, she cooked simple dishes again for all of us to share. Father’s Day is a domestic and will remain a simple affair, you see, unlike Mother’s Day, because that is up to me. God help me if I forget.
Today, my son thinks that it is the thought that counts when celebrating Father’s Day with me. He brought his future wife around for a visit. The poor lady, she has no choice, if she wants to be fully accepted here. She must learn how the girls have domesticated us. Today’s lunch is plain “pinikpikan” and chayote. It will not help me any in writing this column. I can persevere and do it with black coffee.
The married life is a continuing exclusive university for me for acquiring a platform, a step by step guide for engaging and connecting with people, my family primarily and relatives, in a crowded world with its multiple distractions.
As an indigenous persona, I am particularly inclined to recognizing our cultural social and community observances whose roles, purposes and objectives are quite similar to current traditions and practices – particularly in ordering individual even group behavior, attitude, and respect for others.
Such observances like “National Grandparents Day,” “National Children’s Day,” “Christmas,” “the Lenten Season,” and other formal and religious holidays, if given serious thought by the elders of our tribes would not have been observed individually “as you please” but by the community as a whole, in the public square, usually in the dap-ay, to deliberate on lessons, purposes, objectives and advises as they have always done during “obaya” (Western Mountain Province) or “teer” (Eastern Mountain Province). These are solemn holidays, where people are not allowed to go to work in the fields, or leave or go out of the village. It is a time of rituals and deliberations pertaining to community affairs.
I am done doing as I please with my days, shifting to celebrating the days of marriage, which under my wife’s care, gives both indigenous and non-IP perspectives on observances equal chance and weight with our kids.
School breaks can thus become grandparents and children days when they unite and live in their grandparent’s house in the old village. There, the children are exposed to cultural practices with Christian grandparents. The practice makes them discerning and not judgmental about the ways of men. It has been enriching to us who are involved in it.
The platform we wish to evolve is yet in progress and it is about giving of ourselves, not evolving a position mindset, placing importance and focus on the self and its accomplishments. Happy Father’s Day!-30-
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on June 20, 2017.
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