Revaluating Fatherhood While in the Land of Exile

Daughter, 5 years: Kailan ka ba uuwi, papa?
Father, in exile: Pag nakaipon ng pamasahe.
Daughter: Bakit po, magkano ang pamasahe?
Father, in exile: Mahal. Kaya nag-iipon ako.
Daughter: Magkano po kasi? May alkansiya ako, pauutangin kita.
An exchange between my daughter Francine, 5, and me

The new year brings in a lot of cheers, they say, and it is so.

We can only borrow the Aramaic "Amen" here and we concur, with delight in our hearts, that indeed joy has come knocking on the door of this exile in the land of the exiled, and say this is true and tell it as such, and accept it as such, and seal it in truth and love and faith.

The particulars of this joy can only come when I began to abandon myself to this laughter that seldom resides in my migrant heart, although I know full well that its germ is in there, because, when the world is not agog with all the meaningless and the vacuous, I can laugh to my heart's content.

But for the last several days beginning the 30th of December--31st in the Philippines--when I began monitoring the New Year's day celebration in the homeland, the youngest daughter began to bombard me with her cross-examination, as if she were fathoming the idea why I did not come home when her two aunties, one from the Middle East, and another from Germany, came home to be with their families.

I had thought of blogging our exchange so that someday she would be able to read what transpired between us during the transit of 2006 to 2007.

On the road to work each day, and during my free hours, I think of our usual exchange that now borders on the comical, with the daughter displaying such an exuberance I have not known, her verbal ability more than what you can expect from a five year-old, with wit that can make her siblings, far older that she is, laugh and forgive and tolerate her.

She can be the reigning princess of sibling sarcasm when she wants it, with a sarcasm that makes them sit up and think and rethink, and finally say, "Oo nga pala, ano!"

But today's blog from her elder sister is a surprise. Read up and you will laugh, that laughter the beginning of your laughters to come for one full year.

Francine--her Ilokano name is Nasudi which translates to "pure, immaculate"--has been quizzing me whether I have gotten her card, that one that she herself has made and that she has sent through a friend who vacationed in the homeland but has yet to come back to Honolulu.

No, I said.

Magugustuhan mo, papa, she said, eagerly and with confidence.

I know, and I thank you, I said. When I get it, I will let you know.

Today, I have come to know of a bigger truth: that since Christmas, that little girl has been obsessessed with card-making.

Her sister Camille says Francine a.k.a. Nasudi makes cards day in and day out--and this one card that she made and is posted by her sister, is a clue to what has been going on in her mind these days.

The signs are there: airplane, the sea, the lands, the home, the numbers, her age, her name, the skies, and two two texts: Grow Op and Abnormal Psychology. Where on earth did she get all those terms?

She makes me laugh, this girl. You can see the card at:

A Solver Agcaoili
Manoa, HI
Jan 4/06


Anonymous said...

You're blessed with two eloquent children there! How lovely. That card is indeed quite funny. I wish my dad could blog as well. So that I could have a piece of his brain every now and then. I miss the debates on the dinner table.

I like the picture of the leftie Adam pointing to his creation on your blog header. LOL! If that is the famed Michelangelo piece with God painted on an anatomically perfect picture of the mid-saggital section of the human brain.

I added you to my blog links, if you dont mind. Thanks.

Happy New Year!

Ariel said...

Thanks for visiting. I blog to document my exilic life.

It has become part of the creative process--or so I hope-- that an exile has to go through to seek healing and sanity and balance.

Wow, that medical term I have yet to learn, and memorize! Mid-saggital...

My children--ayi and camille, both bloggers--are
responsible for the artwork.

Happy new year to you as well.

Ka Iddo said...

saan laeng a dayta pannakapenned ti agus ti karayan ti bunga ti exilo no dipay ket ti pallayog dagiti saringit kadagiti sanga...hmmn...

Ariel said...

hola, jaime:
que pasa, amigo! ala ket nangiranud a talaga ni kabunian, ni lumawig, ken ni lung-aw. pagyamanan nga awan ressat.