Thanks for the Music, Daddy

My father, just like most of the Filipino dads in the modern age, was a weekend father. He was the typical corporate person who would leave early in the morning and come home at night. Typical you may say. Generally, indeed, the situation is. But the details of his character are the ones that made the greatest influence on what I became today. The moments he spent with us after work and during weekends left a legacy.

From him I learned to love literature, writing, and poetry. He introduced me to the Bible, to Edgar Allan Poe, the Reader’s Digest and even to MAD magazine. He may look strict but he is a man who loves humor. Puns and satire are part of our regular conversations. When he proofreads my written term papers and written works, I remember him saying “before you print your work, make sure you show it to me, so we could laugh at it first, then we do the corrections.” It taught us to accept criticisms in a light-hearted manner.

Though he is a man of few words, he was always appointed as leader in church, in school PTA, in our Village Association, and led the groups with integrity and discipline. He is a man known for his no-nonsense talk and intellect. When he talks everyone listens.

He taught us creativity, resourcefulness and frugality. I needed a jump rope once in grade school. Unfortunately, we lived far from the department stores then and it was already late night when he arrived from work. He got a few pieces of electric wires, 2 pvc pipes, and a few minutes later, I had a jump rope ready to be used for my PE the next day.

He is my biggest influence in my love for music. Because of his broad range of musical taste, I was exposed to classical, sacred, gospel, opera, broadway, jazz, and latin through his LP records that he plays during weekends. One of my most unforgettable dad-and-daughter moment in my life happened when I was 7 years old. I never realized how important that was until 30 years later. When my teacher made me compete in a singing contest, it was dad who taught me the lyrics and melody of ABBA’s Thank You For the Music. He coached me every night until I got it right. He was so patient even though I did not know what I was singing. He believed in me, and trusted I would do it, but my first solo public performance was a flop. Out of stage fright, I forgot my song. I did not quit on music, though. Eventually, years later, I became a musician. This experience was the pivotal point in my life. And I thank dad for what I have become now. I may not have sung the song that time, but I lived its message of music throughout my life. For that, I am forever grateful to my dad.

His greatest and most important influence on us is his example of faith in God. Life may not have been easy most of the time. We even spent some birthdays without cakes and balloons, but never a day or a celebration without prayer. He taught us not to trust solely on our abilities and intellect but to rely on God in everything.

Many would see him as a strict, formal, corporate-type person, but I see him more as an educator and an artist, a family man, but above all, my father is God’s faithful servant. He is not perfect just like everyone else, but as a dad, as mom’s faithful husband, and as a grandfather, he’s just the right one for our family. I love him and am thankful that he is my dad.

Here's a memorable song for you, dad. Happy Father's Day.