By Nino Aventajado
The most beautiful parts of my life have been watching you grow into the young lady that you have become.
You make me so proud.
The way you love, the way you care for others, the way you listen, the way you understand matters of the heart, the way you always try to solve problems even if they aren’t even yours to own, the way you love your family, the way you love your mom and the way you love me (most especially) has given me 18 beautiful years of joy.
I never knew being a father could be this fulfilling. From the time I caught you in my arms all those years ago, until now, I have learned the gift of a daughter’s love through you.
I’m so blessed not just by the little girl who had spiky Monchichi hair but even more blessed by the young lady who now takes an hour to put on her makeup when we go out on dates.
I am grateful you share your dreams of wanting to become a doctor—for your sister—with me.
I love being on the roller coaster ride with you, in your love life, and learning to understand the young men who court you. But as your father, all I want to do is protect your heart.
I love listening to your dreams of how you’re going to get your own place, and how you will fix it up. I can’t wait to see how you will fix up your kitchen according to your plans. I can’t wait for the day when you will cook for your children and even me and your mom as we turn over hosting special meals to you.
I’m not sure there is anything more comforting than hearing your daughter say, “Dad, I will take care of you.”
You’re one of the best parts of my life. I could never imagine living without you near.
Please know that I’m here for support in all that you do.
I will always listen to you.
I will always give you my best advice.
I will always give you my best effort.
When you need me, I will be with you.
I won’t fail you.
I celebrated my first Father’s Day with you in your mom’s belly, but I never knew each Father’s Day would get sweeter watching you and your siblings grow.
I love you,
Nino Aventajado is a proud father of four children—Gia, Miguel, Diego, and Gelli. After living in New York for 18 years, he decided to move back to the Philippines with his wife Michelle. He is currently a Land Development Consultant based in Manila and an inclusion advocate in Best Buddies Philippines.