Tomorrow is the kids’ first day of school and I really ought to sleep early. But I cannot let Father’s Day end without posting something I had been reserving for over a week.
It isn’t just Father’s Day today. It is also Speedy’s birthday. Speedy, the man I met some forty pounds ago and who became my husband and the father of Sam and Alex. He is an extraordinary man — sometimes funny, sometimes naive, sometimes infuriating but nevertheless endearing for all his imperfections.
When I was seven months pregnant with Alex, my water broke a little before midnight. I was lying in bed and, not wanting to wake up Sam, I spoke without moving.
“Speedy, pumutok na yung tubig ko,” I said.
“Patayin mo yung gripo,” he answered while half-asleep.
He didn’t even feel that the mattress was soaked. He was a heavy sleeper then — Sam’s wailing in the middle of the night didn’t rouse him unless someone shook him bodily — and he’s still the same way now.
But that didn’t really make him an ineffective father. Speedy has always been a hands-on father. He did not balk at chores like bottle-feeding the babies or changing their diapers. He did the laundry and he washed the bottles. In many ways, he was not a traditional Filipino father.
But, in other ways, he is a traditional Filipino father too. He is very protective of our daughters; sometimes, I think, to the point of being overprotective because they are girls. He used to say he would point his gun at any boy who comes to the house to visit the girls. He knows better now. He understands now that being protective, as a way of showing his love, should never be an excuse to refuse to give the girls a chance to grow up and live life. These days, he can even manage to laugh — with genuine amusement — when he hears stories about boys and crushes.
We met forty pounds ago. When we were dating, I gave him a bag of cheese cookies that I baked. I was very, very bad at baking and those cookies were an achievement. He took a bite, drank half a glass of juice and said he’d eat the rest later. Weeks afterwards, the cookies were still in his room — green with mold.
He couldn’t cook during the early years of our marriage but he can manage a pot of sinigang or adobo today. Not that he won’t make excuses to escape cooking. We have an agreement — I don’t cook on Sundays; he does. There were times when his cooking was inspired (like the time he cooked his steamed chicken). To encourage him, I even created a new category in my food blog — Daddy in the kitchen. But, after that, he would always have a reserved can of Spam for brunch on Sundays. Otherwise, we just ate out.
No, he’s not into cooking although he could make a living by being a food critic since he is so fussy about food at home. He won’t admit he is, though. His official statement is that he eats anything but that’s a lie. During summer last year, on a day when the heat was just so bad, I just threw some pork and soup in a pot. He said over dinner (that he hardly touched) that I didn’t have to cook if I didn’t feel like it; we could survive on sandwiches. That was his way of saying the food is lousy, please don’t cook anything like this again.
Speedy is a hoarder and he can be preachy. Friends call me a martyr for putting up with his snoring. He has faults and shortcomings. He isn’t a perfect man, husband or father. But he is my husband and I chose him to be the father of my children. Surely I did that because I saw something special in him — some uniquely wonderful qualities that overshadowed the imperfections.
So, Speedy, happy Father’s Day and happy birthday. You rock my world.