The ‘other’ Dad

The second son, Enrico, in 2014 and the youngest, Yna at 2 years old, with their surrogate father. / PHOTOGRAPHS BY DIANA NOCHE FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Parenting is notoriously difficult. Don’t expect a picnic. It’s an ugly task.

To be a parent, one has to nurture a certain wisdom and self-subordination to deal with the complexities and fragilities of life.

You can’t fight evolution — parenting is a law of nature. A family and its children go through participative journeys of wonder, discovery and awareness of each other.

There is much to appreciate about having descendants despite the many accompanying emotional entanglements. Children absorb what they hear and see while growing up.

Yna shoulder-sits on ‘dad.’

The power of examples, worked into a child’s consciousness, lingers long and large. They take inspiration from their parents. They think their parents walk on water. They look up to them as heroes.

Such idealized images of the perfect family can get shattered. Aberrations unmake a domestic core. Heavily conflicted and under the stress of tugs-of-war, the linkage breaks into smithereens, making family members suffer in an emotional rollercoaster.

The law of impermanence prevails when the going gets tough and there are no grips to hang on to. Although he’s the anchor, the father often takes the easy way out, abandons the family and children (sometimes even before the last of them are born).

Yna in 2015.

Society’s expectations of a biological father have now become a caricature. Parenting challenges render him unable to act and stand like a man.

Such cultural anomaly, a father who leaves his family, is the opposite of the typical image of machismo.

When the biological father is unable to deal with the de facto responsibilities at home, he leaves behind family members who sometimes wallow in bitterness and develop low


A second father, the “other” dad, is a welcome addition in single-parent households. The surrogate father figure is often the mother’s sibling.

He has a selfless commitment to be there for the children, watch over them, and even help do their math homework.

ENRICO in 2016.

The other dad helps the kids grow, calms the squalling boys to get over with their circumcision, plays harum-scarum in mud and grime, happily indulging his inner outlaw, but with eyes peeled like a titanium cop, shepherds them through their adolescence until the children are properly psyched about their future.

The other dad gladly engages in hypocorisms, smart-aleck talk, as well as deaf-and-dumb ‘huh?’ responses. Oh, to be in trouble and have uncle on your side! He’s like the lube oil. He keeps the components running smooth.

He’s the good and able captain, the kind of guy anyone would wish for as a real father.

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