Issue of June 16, 2019

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A Father’s Day story:
From an abused son to doting dad of two
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Peter Ron’s childhood was left too much to be desired to expect him to escape unscathed physically and emotionally and to grow up as an upright person. For one who did not have a father figure growing up after losing his father when he was four, having an abusive stepfather, and an indifferent mother, people would normally expect a wayward adult who tried to heal the wounds from his formative years with every way of rebellion possible.

Aside from now handling important tasks as a top executive of a corporation run by a church, Peter Ron turned out as a foundation of a God-fearing family and a hands-on and doting father of two children, whose rare attachment with their father might go down to the book of the world’s best fathers.

Peter Ron said he took his experience as an unhappy fatherless and only child as a challenge to become a better person, as he vowed never to let his children go through what he had. Difficult as it may seem, he feels blessed to have learned to believe and trust God instead of harboring anger towards those who caused his deep “hugots” (trapped emotions) in life.

After fleeing home twice, first when he was seven and in high school to live with friends, Peter Ron went through the motions depressed, physically abused, and unappreciated. Letdowns such as being blamed for creating expenses because he was chosen as the third highest CAT official and he needed combat boots, or needing travel expense because he was being sent to a school competition hurt, but it did not crush him.

He strived to finish school, was able to find a job, as he dreamed of having a son whose name was already planted on Peter Ron’s mind long before his soon-to-be child was born. He also developed the habit of using his future child’s name as his code or alternate name to will that time to finally come.  

Instead of a son, his first child arrived in 2010 – a daughter.

The journey of the once abused son to fatherhood – one he set to be the opposite of what he went through – started, onward to being a stage father.

Homesick is real

Kristen Angel taught Peter Ron the meaning of homesickness. Having regrets for a bad decision of leaving a decent job in the Philippines for a supposed more profitable one in Qatar in 2013, he was not at first convinced to return home and become jobless.

In the time of emails, roaming mobiles, and video chats, Peter Ron later received a snail mail containing a one-page elementary writing pad, where two-year old Kristen scrawled, “Daddy, uwi ka na.”

It was all Peter Ron needed to break down and hurry home, never to leave his family again.

In her early school years, Peter Ron became a fixture in the life of Kristen as one of the “hat-sun” or hatid-sundo gang members, who are typically mothers, who prepares everything from the rituals of a school child at and after school hours.

Instead of his wife, Peter Ron is the other half that enjoys the chore of preparing Kristen to school and attending to all her school needs and grooming, once earning Kristen the recognition as one of the pretty faces in their school. He gets more excited and hands-on in preparing the daughter during school programs and extra-curricular activities, only wanting her to be presentable and for her to feel she is never neglected, like he felt when he was young.

It made Kristen a proud daddy’s girl and Peter Ron a stage father, which he never once felt ashamed of.

It came to a point when Kristen didn’t want to let go of her father when she was about to undergo a major operation. With both father and daughter very scared, the doctors allowed Peter Ron to stay at the restricted area and accompany his daughter but only until she was put to sleep for the operation.

When she opened her eyes later, she saw her father first, like he was there all the time beside her.

While lacking the benefit of a traditional family, Peter Ron has kept strong faith in God since he was young. It would only be symbolic that he found his current job after his unsuccessful stint abroad when his soon-to-be employer, a priest, spotted him as a regular visitor inside the church, where things, as they said, led to another, by God’s will.

The arrival of Peter Simon July last year might seem miraculous but to Peter Ron and his wife, the son he long prayed for came just in time, which also for them is truly God’s will.

Both healthy and of age since Kristen was born and as a devout couple who does not believe in birth control, the birth of Peter Simon almost 10 years after his sister was puzzling, yet when he was born he was the perfect embodiment of Peter Ron’s dream of a son.

But as if taking a long time to arrive wasn’t enough, Peter Simon’s birth was difficult that it almost cost his life, his mother’s, and Peter Ron’s as well. He had to be delivered by cesarean section because his mother bled dangerously. Peter Ron, who suffered from vertigo two days before and had yet to fully recover, prayed for energy to drive his wife to the hospital. He did, but suffered relapse later, leaving all mother, father, and son confined at the same time.

At one point, Peter Ron had to be wheeled over to check on his family, who eventually were out of danger.

Having survived and looking back, Peter Ron said questioning God why he and his family had to go through all that hardship occurred to him, but he kept the faith that the thought easily vanished, thinking only that He did not leave them through the difficult times.

Ang bawat magulang ay may sariling pamamaraan sa pagpapalaki ng anak, which may be the reason I did not harbor anger against my father for dying early, my mother for not loving and appreciating me then as mothers are expected to. I took everything I went through as a challenge and I am what I am now because of what I suffered. It made me want to be the best father that I can be, even to the point of styling my daughter and staging her activities so that she would not feel she needed to need a family’s love and ask for things,” Peter Ron, who by the way, has maintained a close relationship with his mother and stepfather who once mistreated him.

He knows they are proud of him and somewhat ashamed of how they treated him, but his thoughts are only of being grateful of being able to turn things for the better, when he was blessed with the chance to have his own family, one that he could leave as a legacy and one that his children could be proud of and emulate when their time to create their own history comes.

In celebration of Peter Simon’s first birthday next month, his family will offer their thanks for his son’s rather miraculous entry to the world by spending time with the less unfortunate, as a way of giving back to the favors granted them and blessings they received in God’s perfect timing.

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