Sanchez: Daddy

Nature speaks

FRANKLY, I hate Mother’s and Father’s Day. These special days remind me of cherished memories denied us of being with our parents.

Mother passed away when I was five years. I was not even studying then. But my siblings consider me fortunate. At least, I can still remember her roses, her baking, her rules that we drink milk daily, our family excursions in Baguio. My siblings have none of these.

With Dad, we have memories, both good and bad. Mostly good. When we matured, we realized no parents are perfect. He has his favorites which didn’t sit well with some of us.

We were raised as a middleclass family. As a provincial fiscal, he has his own official car, one of the cheapest, an Austin Mini.

In my case, I can still see my Dad in how I think and act. Like him, I commute, even haggle. We thought of buying as a game of wits. In a conflict with a poor seller, I should give way.

For Dad, he thought of his purchases for its utility, not for displaying social status. In my case, most of my clothes are ukay-ukay. Even in UN-sponsored events abroad, I wore ukay-ukay coats and ties.

As a widower and single parent, he made sure we all get new clothes every Christmas time. But his clothes and shoes remained the same, year after year.

He has his own Ohner jeep, and a Ford Fairlane. Nothing to be proud for us. We thought of the car as a jalopy, a relic, a museum piece. My sibs all dreamed of buying top of the line car when they can afford one.

In elementary grades, I wanted to become an Oblate missionary priest. Well, now, I’m not a priest, but a Franciscan lay missionary of the Prayer and Life Workshop. And like St Francis of Assisi, an environmentalist. I think that’s an improvement. That was not much an issue in Dad’s time.

If not, follow his footsteps as a lawyer. I did not. But as a court-annexed mediator, like him, like him, I ended up as an officer of the court, as a peacemaker.

I realized that I can never be like him. But maybe that is what growing up is all about. Learned from our parents, but thread our own paths.

I missed you, I love you, Benedicto M. Sanchez. That is probably why you never taught me to write Junior as part of my name.

When I think of it, like you I am a Benedicto with a Q in honor of Mommy. But I am my own man, not your clone. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. (


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