First off, a confession: gathering through piles of photos of you and our son for this father’s day letter, got me worked up from having this frog in my throat, to getting all teary eyed to weeping for joy. I feel so utterly blessed, honored and privileged to have you for my son’s father. While I know letters ideally gradually progress to climactic conclusions, I’d really rather say that out loud in my first paragraph. Blame it on the overwhelming realization of God’s favor and love. Affirmed daily as I see how our son loves and adores you with all of his being.
You and our 4 month old little man
When we became pregnant in 2004, after more than three years of waiting, I had no clue what kind of father you were going to be. Sure, you were a good husband. But a father, I can only hope that you are going to be everything I have always dreamed for my child to have. Your being with me through labor as we did those synchronized Lamaze breathing exercises the doctors and nurses interviewed us about in between contractions, were not even enough to guarantee that. But as you read with me parenting books in preparation to venture with me the then unknown world of “parenting,” I kind of had an inkling you were going to rock fatherhood. And what do you know, I discerned aright.
“The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him!” Proverbs 20:7
Your fatherly instinct began when you led me to have this resolve in parenting for you and me to be one in our hearts and minds in raising our then yet unborn child. Remember when we were reading through Steve Farrar’s, “Standing Tall” book gifted to us by your sister? Your passion got me all ears and I will never forget how that jumpstarted our being intentional parents.
It was not so long ago, Jed was a wee 2 year old toddler, never letting go of your hand in the water.
Now, he is this self-reliant 8 year old little man who recently learned how to swim on his own. All because you let him go. You figured out all on your own that all the cajoling for him to learn to swim wasn’t getting anyone anywhere. Moments from letting go and I came to the pool surprised at his newfound skill. Well, aside from him clearly taking after you on this since you learned to swim on your own around the same age.
I might not be able to let go as easily as you do of our son but you sure have made me see that letting go can get a lot easier when our confidence is in the fact that we have trained him right. He might not be bright and shiny every single time but he knows his basics and that should mean a great deal in the long haul.
Learning to swim on his own is clearly not the lone thing he took after you, Mahal. As early as 5 years old, he has blurted out the corniest jokes a toddler his age can ever drop. You being the title holder of your high school alma mater should have a lot to do with that gene.
It may be a guy thing too, but you have been roughhousing with our boy ever since his bones were strong enough to carry his weight. Something I will never attempt to compete with you. You always take the upper hand because as intertwined as we are in our parenting-resolve, you are simply the more fun parent of us two. He will choose you any day and that’s totally fine with me. Seeing you love each other like you do fills my motherly love tank like nothing else. I just love how you love our son, Mahal. From sharing the silliest of jokes to the deepest of what makes of life itself.
It was never too early for you to impart God’s word to our son. I remember when you read to him the very intense chapters of Judges 11 & 12 when he was 5.
You made sure that we have instilled God’s word in him early. He started reciting his first ever memory verse, Ephesians 6:1, just before he turned two years old. Here’s a video I recorded of Jed reciting two verses when he was three.
Ephesians 6:1 “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
While you knew the importance of a well-rounded education, having had the privilege of going to reputable schools like Marist, Quezon City Science High School and Ateneo, still you made sure that the knowledge of the Word of God is given the most value in our son’s life when you learned about the School of Tomorrow and what its graduates are made up of. Again, your passion and determination of providing our son the best education through the School of Tomorrow program radiated through, that you influenced me to embrace homeschooling like I do now. We are happily homeschooling since 2009 and counting!
When I wonder sometimes why God only allowed for us to have one live biological child (after losing two through miscarriage), I get pointed to the souls of youngsters that you have been a father to in our church family. For some of them, you will be the closest they will ever get to an earthly father. This did not occur to you much until one of them actually said, “Don’t worry Pastor, you are actually as old as my mom.” And as we share the burden of discipling them, we now see them faithful in the Lord, blooming in their talents that you have encouraged them to pursue and are themselves influencing lives for the Lord.
Happy Father’s Day, my love! I love how you love the Lord, Mahal and as it shows in your walk, as you lead me, our son and our church family to press on towards the goal, you are not just a father to our son but to a lot of souls who you have impacted one time or another as you led them to the Lord. “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last” is the one legacy your life spells out and I am sure, our son will grow up realizing the honor of being called your son and even right now our little man says, “salamat sa pamana mo, Papa!”