My father was born to a generation when having males in the family was given such a premium. Of 10 siblings, he had merely 3 sisters and the rest were brothers. Surely, it made my grandfather proud to have so many sons to carry his name. And when it was my Dad’s turn, he fretted that he can only rely on Manong Butch’s line to continue his surname. But Tudoy took a long time coming. Poor Manong Butch was already under so much pressure and people were speculating about his teenage-onset of mumps. My Dad was getting impatient for a grandson, although Angel, the first grandchild courtesy of Ate Annette, was already around. One day, I replied to my Dad’s chagrin, “so what’s the problem..I’ll just have a kid out-of-wedlock so he can carry your last name.” That shut him up for a time.
Finally, Tudoy came along, followed by the twins, Michael and Mark, c/o Ate Marie. Daddy didn’t mind trekking to Pasig back when it was a no man’s land, or flying to faraway San Carlos City in Negros if only to see his grandsons. Be careful what you wish for they say, and when Roy followed a few years later, and then Marben came along, and finally Arneil arrived…Daddy finally had a dream come true. Manong Butch came through for him after all!
Sadly,our father didn’t see Gayle’s own contribution to the bunch. He was several years in the ground already when Troy and Tristan came along. But oh, I can imagine what delight it would have been for him to see his grandsons, spoiling them with toy guns, toy cars or whatever games he thinks “appropriate” for boys albeit “un-politically correct” nowadays.
Fortunately, this generation of young boys grew up in an environment “dominated” by women. There were just simply too many females in the family, you see. Besides the grandma and the mom, they were around too many Titas and aunts, yayas and maids, cousins and playmates who were girls. So I do hope they learned a thing or two about dealing with females.
Recently, my nephew Tudoy married his long-time GF, Hani, while Michael became a new father to a baby boy. From what I know, both Tudoy and Michael are comfortable in the kitchen. Ate Rhoda even has a story of Tudoy knowing how to sew back a button on her blouse. But if the women in the family had their way, our ideas about what a good husband and father is, would be our greatest legacy to these boys. Remember that spouses or life- partners are to be loved and respected always, never to be hit or taken for granted; while children are to be loved and cared for to the point of much self-sacrifice; providing for their needs is of utmost importance, so strive to give them the best. Even if boys-will-be-boys, and you will have your fun and crazy days, a time will come when you need to grow up and be the men you were reared to be – husbands and fathers we could be proud of.
Indeed, behind every man is a woman who helped him become who he is. And if he turns out to be a rotten scoundrel of a man, well…that could be some woman’s fault too – probably his own mother! 😉