Ten things Papa did for me that I will forever be grateful for

Most of my treasured memories are from childhood. As far as I remember, I was that naughty, brave, and curious child. Every day, I would be busy tinkering, creating, and making mess around the house. My parents gave me freedom to explore as much as I wanted to–as long as I would do after-care, of course. One could say that I was the sort who looked for danger and trouble, but I always came out unscathed; if not, only with minor scratches.

I guess I grew such bravery from the security, trust, and joy that our parents gave us–especially my faithful playmate, Papa. He is patient, playful, creative, and above all, fond of children. And I think my childhood would’ve had never been as beautiful if Papa wasn’t my Papa. Here are 10 things he did for us that I will forever thank God for:

  1. He created doll houses out of toothpicks and barbecue sticks, tents out of blankets, and played with us. If he wasn’t playing with us, he was keeping his eyes on us from a distance.
  2. He told us stories before sleeping. Once lights were off, we would huddle to him. We would imagine the scenes in the dark until we fell asleep.
  3. He allowed us to wash dishes, to launder clothes, and to do other chores when we told him we wanted to “try” even though our hands were too small to get the tasks right.
  4. I would always sit beside Papa in the movie house and ask him questions while watching. He would answer them all and not get mad at me.
  5. Papa talked to us about God and explained things in a simpler, child-friendly way.
  6. Each time we fell asleep in another room, he would princess-carry us and gently lay us down on our room’s bed.
  7. He drove us from Manila to Baguio every Christmas–and never complained about it.
  8. He gave us those painful-eventually-soothing massages, the most effective remedy to our tensed muscles.
  9. He took care of Mama when we were all busy working, even though his own legs were hurting.
  10. He inspired us joy despite pain, despite lack, despite loss.

We age, and so our parents. Apparently, we now live where things can no longer be what they used to. No more tents and doll houses, no more evening stories, no more princess-carry, no more long drives to Baguio. It’s sad to think that some of the beautiful things in life pass, impossible to bring back. And sometimes, all we can do is stop, recall, and write a list…for us to not forget. For us to remember.

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