UDOY: The Young King

Filipinos learned Cara y Cruz during Colonial Spanish Rule shortly after Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival and the introduction of the  teston or Spanish silver coin .

The snitch Albina paid to spy on her son, just told her that, once again, Udoy sneaked from his duties to play Cara y Cruz, a heads and tails coin gambling game. Hurriedly, she clutched her whipping stick and rushed to the sidestreet where the young boys played.

Angrily, she picked Udoy up by the ears, whipped him a few times and dragged him home. She reminded him over and over that he was the “Man of the House.” His job was to help look after his four sisters and their livelihood.

The 12-year old  boy’s dad passed away when he was in grade school. The responsibility he shouldered, at that tender age, gave him a sense of purpose and pride. He became a real family man at 12. He was willing to give up his youth to help in family affairs. But, he also needed a break once in a while. Cara y Cruz seemed to satisfy such needed escape.

Albina understood this but as a mother, aware of the addiction that came with gambling, was very concerned. She could’ve spent the money she paid her spy for the family’s basic needs, but saving her son from the evils of gambling was far more important. Having no father to mimic, it was her job to raise him into becoming a “Good Man.”

Fearing the threat of embarassment in front of his peers, Udoy gave up his favorite past time completely. He focused on being the man his mom wanted him to be. He wanted to erase all her assumptions of juvenile delinquency and in his own way, make his mom proud. He never gambled again after that. He focused all His attention on what mattered the most.

A watchful Emperor Penguin guarding his chick

This story was uttered by my dad when we talked about my grandma over dinner last Friday. His eyes welled up as he narrated how my grandma’s concern saved him from squandering money on gambling. He shared it with much love, gratefulness and admiration. Never had I seen that, all at once, in any man’s eyes. To be loved this way can quench anyone who thirst for love.

My dad raised us with a long invisible cord attached to our hearts. We were free to fly as far as we wanted but pulled back when we went astray or came close to danger. He protected us like the great Emperor Penguin who ensured his young were fed before he ate and struggled to protect his family in the harshest conditions to secure them. He never let go until we were ready to dive alone in the water much like the way he was raised by my grandmother.

Udoy grew up and became a loving husband who fathered six daughters. My grandma spoke of him with much pride way back then but never mentioned the Cara y Cruz story at all. If only she knew how this act of endearment changed my father’s life forever. Yes, she raised the Young King well and I know, in my heart, God gave her laurels for this in Heaven.

Udoy means little boy, used in Southern Philippine provinces.

Someday, our children will retell stories about how they were raised like the folktales of old, passed down from generation to generation. May those testimonials be of love and inspiration to those who will come long after we are gone. May our lives  and family history become the mirror from which they can learn from and base their lives upon.

Happy Father’s Day Papa.  Lola is smiling down at you from Heaven.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6  

via Daily Prompt: Assumption

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