How I Married Your Father 5 Years Ago

image

Your father and I had 90 days to get married from the moment I entered this country. You see, I came here on a fiancée visa and we were in a long distance relationship for 7 years before he proposed to me.

The Proposal

image

We have already finished and passed the interview for visa approval at US Embassy in Manila. To celebrate, your Father took me to a bed & breakfast in Tagaytay called The Boutique, which I had been raving about. We walked in and asked for a room. To my surprise and immediate suspicion, the best room had already been booked under your father’s name.
That night, we had dinner at this fancy place with a view of Taal lake called Firelake Grill. There I was, waiting for him to pop the question. But he didn’t.
We went back to The Boutique and your father requested champagne for our room. I gleefully checked my flute, hoping to spot an engagement ring sitting in the bottom. But there was nothing.
My heart sank. Having been a drama queen my whole life, even if I knew better not to expect a formal proposal (since we had already agreed to get married so that I could migrate and be with him) – I still wanted it. With the night as good as over and me tipsy from the bubbly, I lost hope in getting engaged and started crying.
That was the point your father nervously asked me what’s wrong and told me that all he wanted was to make me happy (he said other things too although I forget due to my drunken bawling). He was comforting me by the bed and next thing I know, he was grabbing a tiny box from the side table drawer, kneeling with a diamond ring and asking me to marry him. Of course, I wept even harder and of course, I said “Yes.”

The Wedding

image

Our wedding was beautiful. The ceremony happened outdoors in the gardens of a park in Tenafly. Until the last few days, the forecast warned of rain. But on that day 5 years ago, the sun was up and it was a tad warmer than usual for October.
I think what made our wedding so beautiful was how so many people pitched in to make it happen. Your father and I didn’t have anything saved up for our dream wedding so, your father’s family and family friends offset most of the wedding expenses by contributing time and/or money.
We didn’t have to pay for the reception venue and food, our clothes, my hair and make-up, the flowers and decor, the video/photographer/s, the DJ and giveaways.

image
We were truly blessed with love and friendship that day. My only wish was that my sisters (your aunts) were there. Their visa application was denied so they couldn’t make it. The younger one, Denise (whom you will be meeting soon) made a video for me. I cried and ached for my family to be complete that day.
What helped eased the sadness was this: I had not only gained a husband that day, I had also gained his friends and family.

Son,

Your father and I have been married for 5 years. The first year was the toughest especially because our relationship took a gigantic leap from long distance to close quarters. From being his only priority during his trips to the Philippines, I had to start sharing his time with his work, his folks, his buddies and his hobbies. The next years offered different challenges but as your father and I got more comfortable communicating with each other, I think we found each year of marriage a little bit easier.

Now, here we are. I am 35 weeks pregnant with you, on our 5-year mark. There is a lesson (I’m afraid there will almost always be a lesson) from all this:
There will always be disappointment in life. Every expectation comes with risk and more than once, the results or lack thereof could upset you. But Son, if you give life a chance, if you wait a little bit, if you keep your heart and mind open, only then can life surprise you with something even better.

image

The Family Photographer

image

My life on earth is reasonably well documented in photos, thanks to my father, who had always owned some kind of camera and had been snapping away since I was a baby.

Growing up, I realized the value of capturing memories through images I could readily access and look back on. So, when I was younger, I collected older photos in print. As I got older and as technology progressively allowed, I stored digital albums in one platform or another.

I never had the discipline to learn the basics of taking a good photograph like my father could. But I do credit him for my acknowledgement and love of pictures as reminders of life’s greatest moments.

More importantly, I credit my father for being there not only during most of my life’s greatest moments but also many of the little ones. The ones that are too small to be photographed but are engrained in my memory nonetheless. Like when he soldered some wires into overlapping sine, cosine and tangent graphs, so that I would have the most banging project in Trigonometry class (nerd). Or when he randomly initiated popsicle and ice cream bar pickups from convenience stores. Or when he set shopping budgets for me and my sisters, allowing me to waste money on stuffed toys as my older sister bought books and my younger sister kept the cash to save for bigger, better things.

I believe a lot of my weirdness comes from my father. But I am thankful because having him as a father had given me stories that go beyond what pictures could tell. Having him as a father had both literally and figuratively made the snapshots of my life… a lot more colorful.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa. I miss and love you!