Driving and Life Lessons with my Father


My Dad, Deo Ipapo andtheir ride for the weekend, the Toyota Camry. The Camry is super comfortable, with ample legroom. Its a good chaffuer-driven car, but easy to drive on days you need to drive yourself.

My Dad drove me every day to school from nursery until college.

I would always ride in the passenger seat—from the time I could barely see over the dashboard, to the time I could use it as my breakfast table while rushing to school.

He would patiently wait for me in the morning while I was getting ready, and would always be 30 minutes early for our agreed pickup time.

He didn’t mind waiting, as long as he had his newspaper, crossword puzzle, and the choice snack of the day.

During my teenage years, I was always up and about, and couldn’t stay put in the house, perhaps due to adolescence angst and my innate rebelliousness. In short, I was difficult.

Yet, even though we had a driver, he would continue to drive me whereever I needed to go.

When my brother started driving, my dad eased up a bit. He found a worthy alternative.

I wasn’t allowed to go out without my brother. So my barkada and I would bribe him and his friends a round of drinks if they would drive us to Mars or PEPS.

When I started having serious relationships, he had one rule: I couldn’t ride with them alone in the car. So dating me was like dating my group of girlfriends who lived in the same area. It was like a school bus with a strict route, drop me first, then my friends.

It was my Dad who taught me how to drive. He would take me around the village. He took me to his friend who worked in the LTO so I could get a license.

He made me drive in the Quezon City Circle so that I could learn how to switch lanes. He also taught me how to face my greatest driving fear—hanging.

He didn’t talk much during our rides together; he never asked me how my day was or what my grade was. He would ask me if I was hungry, and would share with me his latest snack find.

Before I got married, he set me aside and told me that I should take care of my husband and let him be the man of the house. He told me never to sleep away from him for a long time lest he forget the feeling of me being beside him.

My dad wasn’t the best driver—I found that out when I married a race car driver. But he was just so chill that he would never get frazzled even though people would honk at him for taking his time to make a turn or park.

Looking back, people might say his behavior was normal because I was the youngest of two, and the only girl.

My Dad’s driving dedication, though, was not only to me, but also to my Mom, who incidentally is as complicated as me.

Until today, having been married for almost 45 years, and even though he is almost 78, Dad continues to drive for my mom.

When I got older and had kids, I looked back at this simple act that spanned through decades: He made me feel that driving us to where we needed to go was his utmost priority.

This simple act made me realize what commitment meant.

In the age of instant gratification and convenience, where divorce is more common than staying together, it is nice to have a model of what “’til death do us part” looks like.

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