Friday, June 17, 2005

Fatherless Day

in anticipation of Father's Day on sunday, Bea's preschool class wanted to celebrate it today with a special activity where fathers are supposed to come to school and play games and do learning activities with their kids.

Bea's teacher gave me the note yesterday, and as i read it my heart sank. i told her frankly that Bea's father and i are annulled and that he doesn't live with us anymore. she said we could bring any other adult male member of the family, like an uncle or grandfather. i flatly told her that Bea's grandfather is not physically fit enough to join the activities, and that her uncle is far away in Manila. the teacher lamely asked us to just ... "try".

even during our marriage, it was one big production to just coax the ex to attend his children's school activities. when he did, he always acted as if he should be somewhere else with better things to do, that ive learned to not expect him to deliver anyway, even if i keep the invitations coming, out of a basic respect for his right to be their father, whether he exercises that right or not. but yesterday, the thought of inviting him again, and getting a refusal again, just really depressed me, that i decided to not even bother.

while driving home, i ran through my head who i could invite. there are platonic male friends and colleagues, but the thought of how Bea would take it and how my male friends would take it tired me out. ours is still a conservative society and i haven't exactly introduced my friends to my children, much less put them together to face other people.

i thought of my brother-in-law and i was almost sure he would agree, as my sister would help in convincing him (not that it would take a lot of convincing), but considering that he's still recovering from his accident with his one leg left, and their own concerns, too, i felt it would be too much of an imposition. i did bring the matter up with Bea though and she smiled at the thought of having her Tito Ping come instead.

so that was almost settled. i planned to talk to him later in the evening when he and my sister would pick me up for a meeting, even as i also planned to go to the Mall on my way home late in the afternoon to buy the materials Bea's teacher requested me to prepare.

but it rained heavily yesterday, and i have trouble driving in my old car, not being able to see clearly, with the water leaking into the car. going to the Mall became too much extra trouble, so i didnt go after all but went straight home.

then too, i had a late night meeting with the top officers of the local chinese chamber of commerce for a writing project they wanted me to do but which i really didnt want to do (considering my already loaded writing projects schedule), with my sister facilitating the meeting. i thought that would have been a good time to bring the matter up with my sister and my brother-in-law... but then i remembered i didnt't have all the materials prepared... and the meeting taxed me too much...

then too, it broke my heart yesterday when Bea innocently told me in the car that she tried "negotiating" with her teacher to let her Big Brother come instead. the teacher initially said yes, but when she found out that her Big Brother was still small-- our 7-year-old Paolo-- the teacher withdrew her yes. : (

on our way home, she thought deeply and said, "Ma, you could come instead. you're our father, too... you bring us food and pay our bills and keep us safe, don't you?"

i smiled at the thought, although it further broke my heart, but i kept that idea in reserve. ... yes, why the hell not? : )

but today, i woke up just plain tired and groggy, with not enough spirit and no chutzpah at all to go through with it.

so finally, Bea and i decided that she just will not go to school today.

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