Notes on an old soul
MANILA, Philippines - It was always a resonant and somewhat strange facet about my family background that my name was derived from my father's name, Renato.
It’s a variation of the Latin name that means “rebirth” or to be “born again,” which also means that I'm another version of him. But I’ve always believed I took after my mother's, shall we say, taciturn disposition rather than my father's vocal and frank manner.
My mom was never the type who nagged, but my dad, in his own funny way, did. Especially when he wanted to correct his children, or protect us from making mistakes.
My father also loved to cook and the kitchen was his, and not my mom’s, domain. An early retiree, my dad chose to be a full-time househusband after his stint at the Ministry of Education as it was called then and another job overseas. He helped mother set up various businesses but he was obviously more the homebody while my mom went off to attend to business.
I always thought that my mom was the more deliberate type and my dad the more outspoken as to be quite imperious.
As a feminist-activist in my college days, I would often challenge his stereotypes on women and his machismo, alongside his being riled up by such talk as politics.
Yet he had a sensitive side that I found easy to warm up to. He knew how to make his children feel at ease. He acknowledged our need to have our own private space, but he also knew our need to be drawn to his company.
There was something old-fashioned about Renato or “old school,” as we call it now, that appealed to his children, a connection that was emotional, yes, heartfelt and tender.
One of my endearing memories of my father was his volunteering to drive for me wherever I needed to go, to ballet recitals, parties, college org meetings, the dorm, and later to the apartments I moved into when I started working.
He would sometimes joke that his car had never been at anyone’s service as much as it had been in my behalf. Along with his cooking for the family, driving for the family was the next thing he loved to do. These small favors were almost chivalrous to us in a way.
My dad also preferred to call me by the nickname, “Inang.” Even now, as my parents live in the United States, he still calls me by that pet name over the phone. It’s a term of endearment you hear in the province. Perhaps he sensed at last that his youngest daughter was a fellow “old soul” to him, despite my admiration for my mom’s more modern, let us say, demeanor.
Some people say I’m my dad's favorite. I'd disagree, for he had a way of making each of his children feel special. (That's another story my two siblings can relate better.)
My dad is very much old school now as a grandfather. After my sister gave birth to her firstborn, my nephew Gelo, Papa at once became a doting Lolo Boy, devoting his ample time playing and talking with his only grandchild.
Gelo, now 6, has turned out to be just as assertive and opinionated, the typical warm-blooded, flamboyant Filipino. He also shares with Lolo Boy the same fascination or even passion for cars.
I suspect Gelo will grow up to be just like his Lolo, cooking, driving and serving the family with the same wholehearted devotion. – Rappler. com