Every man ought to be a macho macho man,
To live a life of freedom, machos make a stand,
Have their own life style and ideals,
Possess the strength and confidence, life’s a steal,
You can best believe that he’s a macho man
He’s a special person in anybody’s land.
(Village People – Macho Man)
gift of laughter
Dad dancing Village People “Macho Man” at a Christmas Party in the late seventies
It’s the booming laughter I remember the most. It’s a laughter that runs across the room that never failed to cheer me up. My father may have passed away 17 years ago today but his sense of humor, the laughter and the positive attitude remains alive in me.

My earliest memory of dad was his round belly that looked like a pillow stuffed under his polo-shirt. I was convinced that fathers also got pregnant just like mom. As I grew, a little older and a little wiser, I realized his paunch stayed the same way, and no baby would ever come out of it. That often puzzled me. I often laid my head on his soft paunch, but only just for a minute because dad would find it uncomfortable.

My sister , Myrna believes that dad’s legacy is his example of strength and perseverance to us, the seven children and eighteen grandchildren. I learned by watching him suffer from the ravages of Stroke, that I should never give up on life, and to hold on to every precious moment with my loved ones, fully aware that, like a candle’s flame, life can flicker out in an instant. His laughter just resonated . Enthusiastic, effervescent, so full of life!

Above all these, the best thing dad gave us is his legacy of true love and family devotion. Even though he is gone, that love and strength of character live on as we now pass these to my daughters, to our granddaughter’s’ children, and so forth down the generation line.

Listen to my podcast of this post

Today, I want to remember my Daddy old boy, round and pudgy, full of life, his voice confidently booming across a room, his loud laughter rising above a crowd. He may not have the body of a muscled macho man, but he lived the style, the ideals, the strength and confidence of a true-blue macho man.

gift of laughter

My dad has always been my role model. I may have been a late bloomer in citizen empowerment and community work, but Dad was always at the back of my mind all these years. I hope he is proud of his children, who in one way or another are following his lead. My Dad, Jose P Lardizabal, was our role model for community service and leadership. Dad was an accountant and a corporate man but he was very active in PICPA, Jaycees, Rotary (a Past District Governor), Caritas (Board President), Sacred Hospital and Southwestern Univ, St Martin de Porres (for special children), Enercon (chairman), Sinulog (Chairman), UP Cebu MBA, and many more.

Dad is a special person in anybody’s land. He is alive and well in my treasured box of memories. May Dad still be smiling down upon us from Heaven, happy about how our lives have turned out.

I miss you, dad.my father

“All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye.” – Margaret Atwood

““A father is always making his baby into a little woman.
And when she is a woman he turns her back again.”
Enid Bagnold
Happy father’s day to all the fathers and single mothers out there.

Happy father’s day to the dad of my three children.

Unlike most couples I know, I have never called my husband , “dad”. I told him from the start of our marriage that I would always refer to him by his first name, “Butch” because I think it is more romantic than “dad” or “daddy”.

““My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Clarence B. Kelland
“Dad” is reserved for my dad. Even if my daddy old boy is not around, he will always be a daddy in my heart . Daddy taught me to live, love, laugh, to be strong , and committed to God , family and community. Dad gave me the greatest gift : he believed in me. Though a late bloomer in community service, I always think of my dad who showed me how to be passionate to a cause. That is why I always sign with my maiden name in honor of his memory.

This photo was taken in 1999, the last Father’s day
that my husband celebrated with his son.
For fathers who have lost a child, there is a sense of remembering how much fun it was and how terribly sad it is not to have their child

to hold and tell them of their love. My husband wrote once on this feelings of loss and quoted Gordon Livingston “And so, as I contemplate the western horizon of my life, I think of my son with exquisite sadness and profound gratitude. He evoked in me a capacity for love I did not know I had. Those feelings did not die with him, nor will they, I pray, die with me.”

““Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad”.

There are two special dads in my life.

My dad who I often call, daddy ole boy and my husband, the dad of my three children.

There is this quote about questions we ask our dads in various stages of our life. I only had my dad till I was 45 years old.

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad’s idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

It’s true. I often wonder what my dad would have thought of my work today. He never knew me as a blogger because he passed away in 2003 just three years before I started blogging. Much of who I am today is because of dad . Even the way I smile is from his “wide-smile genes”.

Daddy didn’t tell me how to live life. He lived and let me watch him do it. He tried to be a mother to us when mom died during my teens. I adored my dad so much that I thought husbands were made like my dad. I was so wrong. A lot of my early marital problems was because I compared my husband to dad. Hehe, I think my husband also compared me to his sweet mom. Eventually, I learned to treat these two dads as separate individuals.

In honor of my dad, I started signing as Noemi Lardizabal-Dado in 2006. I feel the presence of my dad in the wide smiles of my two lovely girls and in my work. I can just imagine my dad smiling at me as I do service to others.

There is the dad of my three beautiful children who sometimes acts more like a mother at times. How he nurtures them especially when they are sick and spoils them by driving the girls around. I wonder what my girls think of their dad. Do they think he is too old-fashioned? or just being a dad? I hope they know he is just being a dad.

These days, it is an empty nest but the father of my three children took time to bet with my two girls here in Singapore. Being together no matter how short the stay , is enough to make us happy.

Today is that special day to honor the two special dads in my life and to all the active committed fathers who make a lasting difference in the life of a child.

father's day

my husband the father of my children

A few weeks ago, I was horrified to see Mead Johnson Nutrition ads in this blog that supposedly honor fathers on Father’s day. Why would Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) spend so much money on gadgets to entice everyone to submit pictures of fathers and their kids? Why will they spend on ads in all TV stations this afternoon? Do you think MJN cares about the nutrition of their children. Think about it.

My friend Jen explains it best in her comments at the Chronicles of a Nursing Mom

Think about this. Mead Johnson, a milk company (yes, the ENTIRE RANGE from forumla to older people milk), focuses on dads. Dads feel good (marketing nga eh, diba?)! And who wouldn’t with the carrots they’re dangling (gadgets, etc). One day Mom has a new baby and she might be having a difficult first 2-3 days. Dad remembers MJN and says “honey, bili nalang tayo ng ********, para di ka mahirapan.” Then that can RUIN the REAL BEST START ng baby — ang Breastfeeding. When Dads do this, MJN HOPES that the dads remember them. (this is where it translates to sales for MJN).

By convincing dads that the best start to life is Mead Johnson Nutrition, I feel they are undermining breastfeeding ““by removing a crucial factor in the successful breastfeeding relationship- the dad”.

In an exploratory study, “paternal emotional, practical and physical supports were identified as important factors to promote successful breastfeeding and to enrich the experience for the mother and subsequently the father.”

Dads do make a difference.

The father of my children has been so supportive of breastfeeding since day 1. He never had any sleepless nights because our babies just latched on to me and slept peacefully. In those days , I had no peer group or websites to give me the moral support. It was just my husband and myself believing that we were giving the best nutrition to our children.

It is just the two of us right now but we have not forgotten our child-rearing days. I told Jenny that we should honor our husbands, the father of our children through a live-stream chat. Much to my delight , my husband agreed to participate in this live stream chat of “#BreastfeedingPH discussion with moms & dads #BestStartswithDad”.

butch my husband

In the first part, moms talk about the support, the love and dedication that their husbands gave them when they were breastfeeding their babies. In the second half, we discuss the importance of being breast feeding advocates. The breastfeeding advocacy includes protection, promotion, and support. “Protection means you fight those people who are fooling us. Promotion, that you make mothers want to breastfeed. And support, because even mothers who want to breastfeed need to be supported.

Lastly, the moms sent the sweetest Father’s day message to their husbands thanking them for their support and their recognition that the #BestStartswithDad is Breastfeeding

Listen to their father’s day greeting in this video (around the 1:00 hour mark):

Happy father’s day to all the dads for their dedication, commitment, persistence and support to breastfeeding, as the best start to our children’s nutrition.