It had always been just the three of us ever since my Daddy left to work in the Middle East. I was eight and my brother six when he left. Both of us too young to understand why he had to leave. Both of us too young to understand why he will not come home to us everyday and why he will not be here to celebrate our birthdays and Christmas with us.
But with God’s grace, the three of us made it through every birthday, Christmas, and New Year. And now with only a few days left before Christmas, I suddenly remember every holiday spent without my Dad. There were no family reunions and big parties.
Christmas without Daddy was simple and quiet. If I will be truly honest about it, it was always with a tinge of sadness. But my mom made sure we had enough of what she can give us.
Our Christmas tradition always started with Mommy putting the chicken to cook in our good old turbo broiler. After this she would make the sauce for our spaghetti and me and my brother would set the table. With the chicken and pasta sauce cooked, the three of us would go to church. The spaghetti noodles would be boiled when we got back. Walking to church at night in the cool December air was one of my favorite parts. The other one is when we would buy puto bumbong after the mass and take it home with us. It would be our dessert along with our favorite chocolate roll from Goldilocks.
At twelve midnight, our phone would ring. It would be Daddy calling us via long distance. The three of us would take turns talking to him. Each with a hurried greeting. We tried to say as much as we can while keeping it brief. Long distance phone calls cost a lot at that time. To make up for the short conversation, we would send Daddy a greeting card with long letters written on yellow pad. These letters have to be posted a month before to make sure it reaches Daddy on time for Christmas day.
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