That is me and Digong in the picture. He never missed my school’s Recognition Day because he always wanted to be the one to pin my ribbons and medals.
How could I forget how he sounded like a broken record playing in the background of my childhood when he repeatedly said “education is everything.”
He did not emphasize excellence in academics though. The medals were merely a bonus.
One late evening several years ago, I was having a hard time in my third year of law school and I wanted to release a good cry. I did not call Mama because I did not want her to worry about me.
I wanted to talk to a lawyer. I rarely talk to my father. We have a love-hate relationship and I can imagine Digong’s surprise when told by his aide that I asked for him to call me.
When I heard his voice I couldn’t speak. Every word disappeared in the surge of emotions. I could only cry. His first question was “asa ka (where are you)?”
I howled like a wounded wolf. Then I sensed that he was already alarmed as he repeatedly asked me where I was. At that point, I thought, he could be thinking I was raped.
But you see, I was dejected. I cried non-stop — like a dying dog.
There was silence at the other end of the phone before he asked me: “Buntis ka?
That was the moment when I started to laugh. I laughed so hard, really hard — like a hyena desperate for air. That kind of face.
I thought to myself — why do men think women who call them crying are pregnant. Gentlemen, why?
As I continued laughing, he blurted out “nabuang ka (are you going crazy)?”
I thought he’s now thinking I’m drunk.
I tried to catch my breath and simply said “naglisod ko sa akong Wills and Succession (I am having a hard time with Wills and Succession).”
I could hear the exasperation in his voice as he retorted: “The answers are not in your tears. Go back to your books!”
Yes! That was the very reason I wanted to talk to a lawyer — no comforting words, no baby bunny stories. I just wanted to listen to the heartless stop-crying-because-it-will-not-get-you-anywhere answer.
I ended the call. I looked at my books and said to myself “I’m hypothetically pregnant so I can cry myself to sleep.”
And I did.
Someone told me my father cried when he learned that I passed the Bar Examinations. I think he cried because I did better than him and that made him successful.
I also think he cried because I am his personal trophy in making sure that the next generation get the education that they needed.
And yes, I think he cried tears of joy.
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