“Naging masama ba akong ama?”
I’ve been asked this question so many times that the last time I was asked again, I began doubting my answer.
And that disturbed me.
There’s a lot of shitty things in my life and I can easily point out to my family as one of them. Since childhood and family creates a big impact to a person’s personality, then that easily answers the question why I have a jaded side.
My parents separated when I was two years old. Young as I was, I somehow understood that my parents were not going to live in the same house anymore, and I will only see my father twice a week, every weekend when I don’t have school. He will pick me on Friday evenings and take me home on Sunday evenings. I don’t remember much of my bondings with my dad during these weekends, only fun times with my cousin since my dad and his brothers’ family were always together so they can play cards, and the kids can play videogames or house.
So really. Even when I spent enough time with him (technically), the emotional connection was probably never established properly. He was busy with work, perhaps finding another woman to hold, and I was just going with the flow.
They said I was an obedient a child. A strangely quiet child who was mature for her age. So I basically followed what my parents agreed with, received and said thanks to obligations provided (schooling, gifts, time), but in retrospect, no wonder my father is so wounded to have his “angel” grow up to be this independent, outspoken, always going against his thoughts and plans kind of daughter.
Oh, how time changed…me.
But to answer his question, NO, HE IS NOT A BAD FATHER. In terms of providing for what we need and fulfilling obligations, he provided well. Yes, we hear a lot of complaints and sarcastic remarks in the process of asking them from him, and specific requests for gifts he specifically asked from us set aside for his own preference (style and budget) in the end, and us getting the “hindi nalang kayo magpasalamat” line from him when we express disappointment, but yeah, he provided. Perhaps it’s his parenting style that does not match our personality, especially the personalities we developed while he was absent for most of our formative years.
Sadly, my dad does not understand this.
He’s too proud as a father, as the padre de familia, to accept that we have grown out of the image he crafted of us. We are not the ideal children, nor is he the ideal father. We’re not in a film because real life is much more complex than what movies could ever offer us. We are not robots. We cannot be as easily malambing and caring just because he is family. A person who came from a complete family would probably disagree with me, and I understand that, but this reality exist where I’m coming from.
I probably have a different definition of family than others. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be that movie-type of daughter for her father if I could. My dad is 58 years old, he’s alone, and he doesn’t know what he is doing wrong, and he doesn’t even want to admit that he is wrong in the first place. Believe me, I want that turning point in a movie like Tanging Yaman just so I can fix our relationship; just so our whole family will be fixed.
So dear Daddy, no, you’re not a bad father. You just don’t know what’s going on because you chose to just put forward your achievements and what you have done for us to get our sympathy, not our love. I know you try, I know you really do. But there’s not enough time for us to be together, and I think a month long vacation is going to fix years of a heart’s absence.
So please, please, don’t ask me this question again. It’s always so hard to answer, especially when the answer is morphing into something unfavorable, but real.