I’d call it my son’s finest moment so far, even if he disagrees. On May 19th, under the expansive canopy of a half-century old acacia tree at Panyesanan in Lipa City, Al-Francis Librero (a.k.a. King, my son) and Vanessa Liwanag (a.k.a. Vannie) exchanged vows, with Rev. Ver Bernardino officiating. It was a very simple ceremony with just immediate family members and very few guests. It was a garden wedding, perhaps one of the simplest and briefest I’ve ever witnessed but solemn and meaningful. It didn’t include the glitter, pomp and glamour of most wedding ceremonies I’ve seen. Well, that probably was partly my fault because I told King and Vannie months before not to spend all their financial resources on a mere public ceremony mainly for the delight of others but to make use of their funds to start a good life together.
King is the only son and child, and her Mom died nine years ago. If she were alive today I know she would have preferred a more grandiose celebration, but to me meaningful simplicity is so much more powerful. This plan of King and Vannie fitted so well with such an idea and Jegs and I certainly didn’t like to intrude into it. We just watched from the sidelines making sure we didn’t unnecessarily interfere with their planning process. It was their wish to make things simple. We had appreciated that. Well, it’s the more practical (almost a must) way of doing things these days, anyway.
This occasion was the first time Jegs and I met Vannie’s parents, Mr. Honesto Liwanag (a Pastor, I was informed) and Mrs. Cecilia Liwanag. It was such a great honor to meet them. During the brief reception, I was very much honored to announce publicly the formal ties between the Liwanag family and the Librero family through the unity of body and soul between King and Vannie. It was such a nice occasion to welcome Vannie into the Librero family. Now, I not only have a son but a daughter as well.
During the “wishes” portion of the reception, some of King’s friends were asked to say something about him. They said they had noted that he has changed, that he has become more open and outgoing. I was glad to hear that observation, too, because King has always been sort of a loner, perhaps because he grew up mostly with adults (Filipino graduate students at Indiana University) and not kids of his age during his first three years. In his growing years, he was with a family that had very strong family values, even with certain amounts of Spartan flavor.
As a father to King, I didn’t take the role of a verbal and guiding-by-the-hand father, hence King learned to decipher on his own whether or not he was doing things right or wrong. When he wanted to ask for my opinion, he did and I responded appropriately. Largely, he learned on his own, however. But he was a good and independent learner. The things I wanted him to learn he learned through experience and observations, not directly from my mouth. Rarely had I been vocal about the things I wanted him to do. In fact, just about the only thing I’d tell him when I thought he’d needed some guidance from me would be “see if you could make it work.” Out of such episodes, I knew King learned from the experiences. It may not have been easy for him to grow up normally.
Well, King, son, if that’s what happened, I’m really sorry. But as you know being independent is one important value for us in the family.
Independence is a powerful value in the Librero family. If one needs help, one must seek it. We don’t always volunteer our help because we’re acutely aware that if such volunteered help is not needed it would only interfere with the life and circumstances of the concerned individual, which could even lead to future problems. This unnecessary interference is one that we always want to avoid. Of course, we voluntarily offer our help when we see the need for it and any member of the family would normally accept such help if it was needed.
Anyway, to King and Vannie, this is what I’d like to leave with you. Marriage is a partnership that can work out only if the two of you perform your roles appropriately. This relationship is not one sided, it’s always give and take and consultative. Jegs and I know you’ll both try to resolve your own concerns. Still, should you feel like you need a sounding board, Jegs and I are always ready to be your sounding board. Of course, we could always get together, even for the flimsiest of reasons.
Congratulations and best wishes. Enjoy your travel.