12/7

Rohan,

It’s the 7th of December. and although the winter winds have descended on this little country we’ve come to call home, hearts are warmed as we look forward to; and await your arrival.

I will never be able to fully articulate the happiness i feel. i will never tire of telling and retelling the tale of how you came to be. how we, your mom and I, went through all this pain blindly pushing on firm in the belief that you are there; that you are ours. I will always tell you the story of how your dad was the only one who never wavered and said you were going to be a boy at the beginning of your mom’s pregnancy. of course i shall embellish the stories with mythological fights with giants and under the table deals with trolls under old bridges, and a whole lot more, but you will get to know fact from fiction, and either enjoy as your imagination soars to include you riding on dragons with your mom and dad, or roll your eyes in exasperation as the tales get taller and taller with each retelling.

Rohan Riccard. you will no doubt have questions someday about how you got your name, where it comes from.  I now have this devilish thought to tell you that it was the name on the box when we got you from this alien at half price because he needed money for Ice cream, which is the fuel of intergalactic spaceships. but a person’s name i believe, will help you forge your own identity and personality as you learn it, understand it and take that name for your own. so here goes.

Rohan is a fictional land of men in middle earth, home of the riders of Rohan. !(middle earth being the setting of lord of the rings…. ummm more on that as you grow older. but one thing, i really wanted to call you boromir. vetoed, rightly so because as bad ass as he is, well… ) Anyway, the riders of Rohan were warriors of renown, who take fierce pride in their love for country and the steadfastness of their resolve to protect it from the oncoming darkness. men, as men should be. passionate, caring and with a deep love for protecting their own.

Your second name, Riccard, is a modernized version of your great grandfather’s name, Ricardo. who in my own biased opinion, is one of the most simple and honorable men that ever walked this earth. you will get to know about him, thru stories, thru faded out photographs, and you will have to forgive your own father if I start crying when i tell you about him, because even now, i still miss him so much. He was my coach, my teacher, my earliest shield from the harsh words and actions that rained on me growing up. my first father figure. you will know him, you will love him and i am sure, you will proudly carry his name with you and add to it.

but you know what? here’s a little story for you son. right before you were about to come into our lives. i was outside on the balcony, it was a balmy night and the stars were out in full force. i looked up at the heavens and called to your great granddaddy. I told him i was ready to be your father. that i was ready to pass on the things i have learned to you, to help you, to love you to guide you and to always be there for you without judgement or reservation. and right that moment, i knew you were coming. i knew it was gonna be you Rohan, i just knew.

Now I know fathers and mothers have all these plans for their kids. a basketball star, a rockstar, an awesome author, anything… even as your mom interjects, what if he wants to be an accountant?? They say there is no step by step guide to parenthood, and that fathers more often than not, destroy their sons psyches. well, i won’t be that father. your mom and I, we will love you no matter what you choose to become, whatever field you want to be in heck, whatever preference you choose. we will be there for you without any rancor or judgement.

just promise us son. that you will dive head first into this life and never lose hope. that you will give your best effort in everything you do. that you will never back down from life. that you will always be caring and kind to the world, even if it is not always caring and kind. Challenge everything and seek truth for yourself. blaze your own path, and always always love with all your heart. promise that you will try to be the best version of yourself and  we ask that you never be scared to talk to us about anything.   you know what my little rascal? be anything you want to be. anything.we love you.  THE WORLD IS YOURS, ROHAN RICCARD, REACH OUT AND EMBRACE IT.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Hello son.

It’s actually 1:20 am the 24th of December. Messi is snoring somewhere in the bed and so is your mom. Mom was tired baking the christmas eve cake, (i’m sure by the time you get to read this, it would be your favorite christmas tradition. )messi endured three hours of grooming while i waited for him.

I can’ t sleep. And it’s something that you’ll find is all too familiar with your old man.yesterday i was watching the clippers game with your mom and she said you kept moving around, til we realized it was because you were listening to the game we were watching! Good job Rohan! Let’s go clippers indeed.

Then tonight, you were moving around again inside your mom while she tried to rest. I put my hand on her stomach and you know what you did son? You stopped moving around and started behaving. As soon as i removed my hand, there you went again! Playing games with us! So i had to keep my arm on your mom’s belly to appease you while watching fruitvale station (damn awesome movie) and crying my eyes out.

Rohan, someday i hope you will realize just how much happiness you have brought. Not just to us but to everyone who ever cared bout mom and me. Someday i hope you would be able to meet them all so they can see just how special you are. I love you more than life itself,son.
You are the best thing that ever happened to me. You inspire me. To be better. So that you can proudly say one day, that your dad…. was the best dad you could ever have.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

My dearest son,

It is 2 am, January 1st 2014. and i’m sitting at the dining table alone with a bottle of wine wearing your mom’s christmas gift, a Sons of Anarchy leather jacket; and somehow i feel like jax teller writing a letter to his own sons.

I cannot wait. I count the days til i can hold you in my arms. but that does not mean that you should hurry up and come early. take your time son, we’ll be here. daddy’ll be here waiting.

2014 Rohan, is the year everything changed.It’s only the first two hours son, but i can tell you right now that i am looking into the future and i can see, that this is our year.

I try to think of something profound or illuminating to tell you tonight. but you know what? let me tell you a story instead. a story that happened almost as if it were a lifetime ago. it was a new year’s eve, much like this night, rainy and cold and i was a young man of 19, turning 20. back then i was just this skinny kid secretly in love with your mom, who was then being courted by one of my best friends. we were back in Kiangan for the holiday break and i found myself accompanying my friend as he walked your mom home from a new year’s eve party.

at that time i was having issues, going thru a rebellious streak and i thought (drunkenly and stupidly) that i looked so cool with a cigarette tucked in my ear, while holding a lighted one in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other.

I challenged my friend to a contest of who was able to finish his beer first, thinking this would impress your mom, seeing that i’m such a bad boy. we finished at the same time and we just… threw our bottles up in the air behind us and screamed happy new year at the top of our lungs in the middle of the empty street.

As the bottles shattered behind us i was grinning from ear to ear til i saw the disgusted look on your mom’s face. We walked on in silence and as we reached their gate, i just said goodbye and left them there and headed on home, her disgusted look still etched in my mind.

I guess you can say that that’s when realization hit me. how i was such a stupid fuck to think that being a drunken buffoon who blames his parents for what he has become was like a me against the world thing. everyone goes through shit at some point son, it’s how you deal with the shit, and the people who dish it that matters.

I wish i can say that i sobered up the very next day and straightened myself out. nope. i made a lot more mistakes and a lot more stupid stuff before that ever happened. but eventually son, i found my way back. i guess what i want to say kiddo, is that whatever you go thru, you are not the only one going thru something like that, or have gone through something like that. the difference is, i never had anyone to talk to about these things.

I can assure you though… you’ll always have me.

happy new year son.

January 28th 2014

Hello Rohan,

your old man just turned 35, and you are a couple of days away from your 33rd week. I’ve been doing the math, and i think i can still hold my own in a game of 1 on 1 with you when you turn 15, by then i’ll be 50 and enjoying watching you grow into the man you will become. but then again, we are getting waaaaaay ahead of ourselves here. a lot of years are between now and then, a lot of memories to make.

There’s this country song i came upon by chance called, Anything Like Me by Brad Paisley, in it he talks about how he was okay either way, if they were gonna have a boy or a girl, until the doctor pointed out that he was gonna have a son and he started picturing how the son was going to be, and how he’d have his payback, if he was anything like him.

the exact same thing happened to me at your ultra sound.

The lady doctor painstakingly went through every inch of your body and reassured us that everything was fine, at the very end, she looked at me and must’ve seen i was about to throw a fit

“oh i’m sorry, did you want to know the gender?”

i could’ve strangled her.

so she pointed to this part of you that was jutting out and i was pumping my fist like crazy even before she said, he’s a boy.

but i still could’ve strangled her.

just kidding.

Rohan at this point, no words can ever express how i feel. i’m beyond ecstatic.

i love how when i put my hand on your mom’s belly you always move, like yer telling me, it’s ok dad, i’m right here, nothing to worry about,you’re not dreaming dad… let’s fistbump.  every goddamn time!

I love how i play with you where i put my hand on different areas of your mom’s bely and you always always move right where i put my hand.

I love how you made me quit smoking.

i love how you made me a better man.

i love how i look forward to every day now Rohan. and it all started with you.

whatever i will be, whatever the future brings. the fact that i’m looking at life so differently now. is all thanks to you.

thank you for making me the best version of myself.

i love you Rohan, see you soon.

love,

Dad.

FEB 15

it’s been an eventful weekend Rohan, a scary eventful weekend that had me in tears for most of the past couple of nights. i swear i have never been so worried and scared, but atleast it brought home the fact that we are not alone.

During your last check up, the doctor noticed elevated acid levels in your mom’s blood test. he told us to go to the hospital asap. it kinda cast a huge shadow on us since we were at 35 weeks, we were just supposed to sit around for 5 more weeks and wait to welcome you full term.

Unfortunately Rohan, life has other plans. your mom started feeling  pain at around 11 PM two nights ago and after a little debate, we opted to go to the clinic.

and it was a good thing. i won’t need to go into specifics kiddo, just that the doctor said it would be better to bring you out into the world 5 weeks early rather than run the risk of something happening to the two of you; something that could happen at any moment.

your lungs however, were not ready yet so they pumped you full of meds to help you, give you a fighting chance. They wouldn’t let me stay with mom at the hospital, so i got home yesterday, and sent a message to your uncle Andrei, he was very supportive and informed everyone of your aunts and uncles. and tita Data kept my mind off things, tito dash called, tito Jigs and tita monique sent their love, everyone worried, but everyone saying, it was gonna be fine.

I just got back from the hospital again and messi is sitting on a chair next to me watching me as i type this. Doc said it was highly possible that we would have to deliver you in the morning to lessen the risks for you and mom.

Rohan,  i wish i could promise you a rosy future. i wish i could say that you will never be in danger or hurt or make mistakes. but thats the beauty of life, we take what we can, we wing it, we learn, we are taught, and eventually we emerge, better people. that is what these past months have taught me. nay… that is what you’ve taught me these past months. i thank you.

I know you are a warrior Rohan, an Ifugao prince.  nothing that you me and mom cannot handle.

.

FEB 18 3AM

mom called, today’s the day. we’ll see you in a few hours Rohan.

WE GOT THIS.

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