Today’s my dad’s birthday. He’d have been 79 years old. I thought I’d get back to a story I left hanging a few months back.
I mentioned before that we, meaning the men of the Librero family, are not particularly showy when it comes to affection towards loved ones. Me and my dad certainly were not showy towards each other. But there were a few exceptional moments, like this one.
It was probably around 1985. I was 7 or 8 years old. Dad went to Perth, Australia for two months to do what I would later learn was his post-doctoral study. Up until that point I was only used to him being away overseas for no more than a week. So two months was an eternity. I remember the short phone calls (which were pretty expensive and paid by the minute) and the occasional packages and letters (my first encounter with Cadbury’s chocolate). But it didn’t make that time away any less bearable.
Around two or three weeks before dad was scheduled to go home, I started tracing Disney graphics from my pencil case and coloring books. Then I drew my own captions — welcome messages for him. I did this everyday, I think. Mom put together the best of the bunch and hung them over our dining table as a surprise for dad when he got home. I remember being embarrassed about these things on display. True, they were the best I could draw at the time, but these were hardly works of art. I have classmates who didn’t need to trace anything and were miles above me with their drawing skills.
I don’t remember how he reacted. Maybe a laugh, a smile, a hug and a thank you… Still, this was certainly one of those rare moments of me expressing my feelings towards him.
I’ve actually forgotten about these. I only discovered them again a few months ago when I was sorting our old things for disposal. I was surprised mom kept these, which by now are well over 30 years old. I guess these meant something to my parents after all.