THE greatest crime a person can commit is to be ungrateful of the sacrifices of his or her parents. I am sure we all have our stories to tell of how we reached where we are. Almost always it would be colored with family dramas. Mine was no exception.
I grew up with an absent father. His job as a field consultant deprived him of the joys and pains of seeing his six children grew up and mature. He was not there in our highs and lows. He gets to visit us of course but for the most part he was physically absent. He just had to make that painful sacrifice so we can all be educated in good universities.
At first my young mind could not understand why only my mom had to juggle on our daily tussles. I saw the struggles that she had to put up as a single parent, and it practically took her health. We may have been well provided but we did not have the sense of security that dads provide. That explains how my siblings have grown too close to our mother while fatherhood remained just a concept for us siblings. Simply put, we did not have much emotional attachment to papa, we never had such opportunity.
When papa retired, he came home for good. By then our youngest had already graduated from college. We were all old enough to have separate lives and we did, not noticing that our old folks this time need the care and attention from us. One after another, we all got married and moved out of the house.
Again, caught up with the demands of starting our separate lives we forgot that our old folks needed our care this time around. A man of few words and in his old age, papa got out from retirement and decided to build his real estate company so as not to burden us with their needs and wants. His business clicked so successfully that even now he continues to help us send our kids, his grandchildren, to good schools.
Occasionally, we would visit our parents and would exchange stories and compare notes. It cannot be avoided that sometimes the issue on papa’s absence while we were growing up gets surfaced and wounds of the past get blown out of proportion. Since we never grew attached to him, there was resistance to understand that such was a sacrifice he had to make so we can have better lives. And while we shower our mom with our affection, we unconsciously deprived him of such.
Papa took our indifference as a gentleman and just tried to show us his softer side through how he spoils all his grandchildren. He obviously does not need our financial support; he is doing way better than us even now. But just like any parent in their prime, he too deserves to be treated as a father. Because he was, he is, and he will always be one.
We did not have a perfect life. But we have parents. And now that they are on their prime, it is our turn to spoil them, bring them to lunch, and leave them some shopping allowance even if they don’t need them. Because really, now that I have a 4 month old daughter, I got a taste of how hard it is to be a dad, and I would not want my daughter to grow up ungrateful of the sacrifices I and my wife make for her.
Looking back, I did not actually grow up with an absent father because his sacrifices made me now in better position to take care and be a good father to my daughter. How is that for a father’s love?