February is the month of love. I am not just talking about Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month of my wedding anniversary. On February 11th, my husband and I celebrated 19 years of being married. We went out for a lovely dinner for two and we reminisced about our wedding day. Here’s a picture of us on that special day. Boy, we look young. 🙂
There are so many wonderful memories associated with this month of February, but these are overshadowed by another memory. This happens to be the month my dad passed away. In fact, it was 9 years ago today that my father died. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to write about the first man in my life. . .my father.
Lots of people say I take after my dad. They say we look very much alike. My mom used to say we had the same personality. If you said that we were both passionate, emotional people, then I would tend to agree. However, my mom said that we shared the same stubborn streak and that we had the same fiery, Filipino temperament. She said we were both “hot-headed.” I like to think we were just spirited and energetic.
Growing up, my dad was always away. He was in the United States Navy and seemed to be on deployment all the time. It was tough when he would come home, especially when we were little. It was like we had to get to know him all over again. As soon as we did, he would be gone on another trip overseas.
My dad was very set in his ways. He liked peace and calm. He would get angry if my siblings and I were getting too rambunctious. We were afraid of his temper back then. As we got older, we realized my dad was a big teddy bear. He seemed to mellow out with age. Things didn’t upset him too much, except when the San Diego Chargers, or the San Diego Padres, or the Chicago Bulls (during the Michael Jordan years) lost their games. My mom was fearful of his blood pressure getting too high or that he would have a heart attack. Yet, another example of our similar personalities. My husband and children know better than to talk to me after a Charger loss. 🙂 I will argue that it was Dad’s passion and love of the game coming out at these times.
Even though my dad wore his emotions on his sleeve while watching a ball game, he hardly ever expressed his love for us outwardly. I think it was just his generation. My sister, brother, and I knew he loved us without having to say it out loud to us. He showed it everyday in the way he provided for us. He retired from the Navy and the U.S. Postal Service just so we could have a better life. My dad’s work proves that love. I am reminded of the song, by Reba McEntire called The Greatest Man I Never Knew. I cannot listen to this song without getting emotional. But, that is just the way my dad was.
As I am reminded of my 2014 word of the year (love), I think about this month and how it encompasses that word. And, I think about my dad who I loved very much. I remember all the sacrifices he made and all the things he helped me achieve. I remember all the fun things we did, like singing karaoke together and dancing at my wedding. I wonder if he can see me and see what I have become. I wish everyday that he were still here to give me advice and to watch his grandchildren grow. He was the first man in my life, and I miss him very much.