Dad’s business trip to Chicago this year had been in negotiation since December, but it was only finalized and approved sometime last month. Initially, I thought of flying solo to see Dad. I assumed that Roan couldn’t go with me because he just asked for a two-week off from work last April when he flew to Manila to get me, but Mom had a better idea. We got Dad a ticket to San Diego instead, since he’s never been to this part of California before.

Two days before Dad left Chicago, Mom had been telling me how excited Dad was to see us. What they didn’t know, it was us who were looking forward to Dad’s visit. Roan, in my opinion, was even more excited than I am because he actually planned our itinerary for the weekend. It goes without saying that we celebrated Father’s Day ahead of everyone else.

Dad’s purpose of visiting was more about making sure that we’re doing OK on our own than just giving us a once-over. More importantly, he wanted to know how I’m coping with living here in the US. I guess he felt relieved when he saw our living space, and was even impressed about San Diego in general.

I only had one chance to have a father-daughter chat with Dad when Roan was at work on Friday, and it was a precious moment I wouldn’t trade for the world. Talking to Dad felt so natural; it was like I didn’t leave Manila at all. I didn’t want Dad to feel like I’ve become a total stranger to him, so I told him everything that I’ve so far experienced since coming here, including the battles I go through life every day.

I’ve only been away from home for two months now, but it feels like I’ve been gone for much longer. That night before we left remains fresh in my mind. I went to my parents’ room to say goodbye, but no words were spoken; we just hugged and kissed each other for as long as we can. Just thinking about it brings me to tears to this day.

Dad is an amazing father, but most importantly, he is a man of wisdom. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to hold back tears, most especially during those parts when Dad started talking about our family back home. I miss all of them so much, it hurts. Dad has a new mantra he lives by—T.G.I.F., which means Trust God; it’s (going to be) fine. In spite of a few hiccups on family matters, Dad is always positive about the future. Our family has been through a lot, and every difficult situation we’re in only strengthens our faith in God. If Dad is holding up, we have no reason to give up.

Roan and I may not be there to celebrate with the entire family on Sunday, but we’re more than fortunate to have been given the opportunity to spend quality time with him again even for just a couple of days. Perhaps God knew I needed that extra time with Dad because we both failed to say what we wanted to tell each other before I left. It’s sad, but it doesn’t hurt as much anymore.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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