Advanced mag-isip? Julia Barretto and Gerald Anderson have stirred engagement rumors after a sweet birthday post in March that they’ve since denied.
But Anderson has been teasing that he’s planning on doing it and this seemed to have surfaced insecurities in Barretto’s estranged father Dennis Padilla who’s already insisting on his attendance to the future wedding, whether or not he’s invited.
Is that fair?
For Padilla, imposing on the wedding isn’t the same as gatecrashing if you’re just watching from afar. In an interview on his YouTube channel, Ogie Diaz asked Padilla, “Kung dumating ang panahon na ikakasal ang anak mo kay Gerald, in-e-expect mo na ikaw ang maghahatid kay Julia?”
“Hindi naman. Kahit ‘di naman ako i-invite, pupunta pa rin ako. Pero hindi ako pupunta doon para manggulo. Pupunta ako doon para mapanood ‘yung anak ko kahit hindi ako ang maghatid. Gusto kong makita ikasal ‘yung anak ko. Anak ko ‘yun eh. Gatecrashing ba ‘yung nanonood sa labas ng simbahan?” Padilla answered.
The actor plans on dressing up for the occasion and bringing flowers, “hindi para mang-asar,” but out of respect and admiration for his daughter. “Bawal ba ‘yun? ‘Yung mga fans nga nila, pwedeng manood. Alangan namang lagyan nila ng blackboard ‘yung simbahan na para sila lang ang makakakita,” he said, adding that he won’t be answering questions from reporters then. So he’s fully aware that he’ll be causing a bit of a commotion if he shows up uninvited?
Padilla also insisted that Anderson should keep in contact with him even if his own children aren’t communicating with him. “Kailangan ‘yun. Ako, lalaki ako. Kung may girlfriend ako, at itong girlfriend ko kaaway ‘yung tatay niya, kahit ayaw ng girlfriend ko, kakausapin ko pa rin ‘yung tatay niya,” he said. “Baka nga plus point pa nga ‘yun sa girlfriend ko. ‘Bakit mo kinausap tatay ko eh kagalit ko ‘yun?’ Hindi, bilang respeto sa tatay mo kaya ko ginawa ‘yun. Baka lalong mapabilib girlfriend mo ‘pag ginawa mo ‘yun.”
But is it really in your partner’s best interest to maintain a relationship with their estranged parent? And in this case, a celebrity parent who’s been called out by his son for “hurting his kids in public” by continuously airing out private matters and for lashing out when confronted. And what if Barretto had asked Anderson not to engage with Padilla? Would going against her wishes still be considered an act coming from a place of understanding and love?
Partial estrangement, or cutting one parent but not the other, is a complicated issue. We’ve seen it dramatized in so many shows and movies and, ultimately, the fallout and the healing from it feels like a case to case equation. Estrangement in general has long-term consequences that can affect generations of a family. But the same can be said of trauma from an absent or abusive parent.
Padilla raised two reconciliatory hypotheticals that can have two separate responses. One takes place on his child’s special day and the other is via proxy. Allowing for one thing to happen doesn’t have to mean accepting the other term as well if a child is setting boundaries. That’s what some parents need to understand when trying to reconnect with their children.
And what stuck to me was how Padilla’s comments come off a bit demanding, which toes the line of disrespect. And to me, it still seems rooted in a misguided sense of familial ownership. Like any relationship, there are some privileges that you give up the moment it gets strained. You wouldn’t attend your ex’s birthday or graduation party against their wish after a bad breakup, would you? If you answered otherwise, you’d be branded as toxic and obsessive. Why would it be any different in this case? True remorse doesn’t come with a sense of ascendancy.
But hey, maybe Padilla will end up receiving an invite to his own surprise. Good on him and his kids if reuniting ends up being their way forward. Forgiving is hard and so is being a parent.
“As adults, we have the freedom to choose whether or not to maintain a relationship with our parents, because we no longer depend on them for our survival. But another benefit of adulthood is that we have the ability to understand our parents as flawed and sometimes damaged people with significant limitations who, for all kinds of reasons, couldn’t be the parents we desperately needed. To be clear, no amount of adult perspective excuses their behavior or takes away from the pain they caused,” writes Lori Gottlieb for The Atlantic.
But I think the best way for estranged parents to honor their children on their special day is to center their children’s feelings and not their own. At least for the day.