(The author is raising his niece’s son Miguel, now 17, and his nephew Andrew, 12, as his own children. He has not legally adopted them.)
Dear Andrew and Miguel,
When Miguel’s mom and I were still teenagers, I told her, “Don’t worry about growing old. I’ll take good care of your children.” I’ve kept that promise to your mom, whom I treat like my own sister. Miguel and Andrew, when your parents separated, ako na ang sumalo ng lahat. I told myself, “I have no choice but to give these kids a good life.”
You may know your respective fathers, but our relationship is different. We are very open to each other. Even when you were still small, I already told you that I’m gay so you wouldn’t be surprised by my actions. Until now, we still have our casual conversations.
In fact, we talk about everything. It makes me happy when Miguel says, “When I grow old, I will buy Dada a car,” and then Andrew would say, “Ako naman, I’ll buy him a house.”
What I really want for both of you, however, is to become successful in life. I want both of you to be able to raise your own families well. It’s okay with me if you don’t get to make your little dreams for me come true as long as you have happy families of your own at kaya ninyong itaguyod ang sarili ninyong pamilya. I hope that both of you would become responsible parents.
Miguel, I want you to realize the importance of the things your mom and I do for you and the value of the money I invest in your education. As early as now, you should be responsible for yourself because you’re no longer a little boy. You are already a teenager, and you’ll soon become a man. Life has various stages. If you don’t do well now, what would happen when you metamorphose into a real man? I’m always here to guide you and to help you look for solutions, but the motivation has to come from you.
Andrew, you are such a sweet and sensitive boy. Be strong, and grow up a little more. Don’t cry easily when you don’t get what you want or when you lose. May mga bagay na ’di dapat gawin at ’di dapat ibigay sa ’yo, at may mga bagay na ’di mo pwedeng galawin at ’di mo pwedeng hingin. I may scold and reprimand you at times, but the good thing about you and your kuya is you don’t bear grudges against me. I hope both of you would also show the same level of respect to your moms.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
I want both of you to know that although there are times when your actions disappoint me, I still give you the same amount of love every day.
I wish both of you would look up to me and say, “I want to be like you when I grow up”—not to emulate my being gay (not that it’s a bad thing)—but because of the values I show you and the relationship we share.
This letter is an excerpt from "Love, Dad", a collection of letters from different fathers, which were originally published in the June 2013 issue of Smart Parenting. Minor edits have been made by Smartparenting.com.ph editors.