Exactly 30 years ago, JJ (a young lawyer) and Leah (a preschool teacher) tied the knot and made it official. Look how radiant my mom was on her wedding day! That’s added pressure on my part!I need to look at least half as pretty as my mom..that’s the bare minimum. One of the things my dad used to reiterate to us as we were growing up was this… “You should find a man who always sees you as the ultimate prize. In this day and age, men look for their equals and settle for the girl who fits the bill–which is fair–but as a man, it’s always better to find a girl who you feel you don’t deserve. If you choose someone who’s a notch higher than what you would expect for yourself, you’ll always fight to keep her. You wake up each morning feeling like you’re the luckiest guy in the world! That’s how it is for me and your mom”. Although objectively speaking, I don’t see my dad as any less as compared to my mom–and I believe that my mom is also lucky to have found a good man in my dad–it’s just this acknowledgement of my dad that makes their marriage so simple yet solid. Because in his mind he knows one truth “God gave me THE BEST and this is IT for me. No other woman can top this!”
I’m sure you’re familiar with the quote: “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love and respect their mother” and this is truer than true. It is because of my dad’s open display of integrity and fidelity that I understood two fundamentals: 1) That it IS possible for a man to be FAITHFUL even if all the odds are against him 2) That a REAL man values a woman as a whole: her looks, her thoughts, her convictions, her opinions and her ambitions. Because my dad showed me and my sister how it is to love and honor a woman, this shaped us into strong and secure women too. They are far from the perfect couple, I’ve seen my parents fight a million times. They’ve had their share of marital woes and I’ve been a witness to all that–but even in their moments of disagreement, they always practiced respect for one another which is one thing I hope I can apply in my own marriage.
Here’s my jolly Grandpa, Lolo Gali, who passed away when I was in college. Uploading this photo got me teary eyed. It pains me to acknowledge that he won’t be there at my own wedding. I got 95% of my humor from this old man! He used to play pranks on us as little kids and he even built a bahay kubo in his backyard just for me and my cousins to play in during the summer. They say my Dad is the exact replica of my lolo, funny thing is–my dad is his son-in-law and not even related by blood!!! He’s morphed into my lolo, he now has the same jokes, magic tricks, and pranks! Halaka, Patrick–you will morph into a mini JJ soon! Proceed with caution!
What can I say, I have good looking genes!:) Cuteness runs through our veins! Bawal ang panget sa pamilya namin–they feed you to the wolves when you aint cute in our clan. Ok, we don’t have wolves in Manila—erase,erase. But you catch my yabang drift. Hahaha! I freakishly look like my mom in these photos!!! See how this works for me, when I say “Mom, you’re so beautiful” it’s almost like saying “I’m so beautiful” since we look alike! It’s like staring at a really sepia mirror every time I view these old photos. The resemblance is so uncanny that even I get confused “Wait?! I got married already ?! And I wore some flower thingy on my head?!?!…ohhh..it’s my mom..my bad, moving along!” And check out my daddy-o, before he crossed over to total geekdom—He once looked like a young Rudy Fernandez. Naks! Wait, so DA PATTY’s DAD is DA BOY?!?! Speaking of DA BOY, can someone please correct Brandy and Monica who keep singing “DA BOY is MINE” because DA BOY is forever Lorna Tolentino’s!!! Ok girls..OKKKAAYYYY?!?!?!
Looking at these photos gives me goosebumps because in a few months, I will be exchanging rings and vows too!!!! If there’s one simple thing I’d like to pick up from my parents’ marriage, it’s this—If you love GOD first then loving each other becomes easy. 🙂
To JJ and Leah, my parents and best friends,
HAPPY 30 YEARS of LOVE and LAUGHTER!