MANILA -- When both parents are huge fans of The Beatles, expect that the offspring will be given a name associated with the Fab Four.
That’s why when young actress Janella Salvador gave birth last October to her baby with actor-boyfriend Markus Paterson, their son was named – not Paul, John, Ringo or George – but Jude, after one of The Beatles’ biggest hits, “Hey Jude.”
“Well, me and Janella planned for J if it was a boy and M if it was a girl,” Paterson told ABS-CBN News, referring to their respective initials. “We were also researching J names and the one that stood out was Jude. Meaning praise or to be praised.”
A young dad at only 22 when baby Jude was born, Paterson bid farewell to his footloose and fancy-free days as an eligible bachelor. Those were the days. Today, he attested fatherhood has changed his life in a big way.
“Fatherhood has made my life go a full 360-degree turn,” Paterson said. “From my priorities changing completely to becoming a clingy hands-on dad, I love doing all the little things to put a smile on his face. As soon as I laid my eyes on him, I knew my life was about to begin again.”
This early, when baby Jude is turning only eight months old, Paterson has been making constant discoveries about his son. The boy takes after him, although the baby has his mom’s traits mixed in there, too.
“There are so many new discoveries to be made with raising a baby,” Paterson acknowledged. “Not just with him, but the whole family dynamic with me and Janella, too. As of now, Jude is taking after me."
Last June 3, Paterson marked his 23rd birthday, his first being a dad. It would have been a different birthday for him this year, with baby Jude around. Sadly, however, he spent the day in a lock-in taping for a teleserye.
“I couldn’t even spend my birthday with them in person,” Paterson rued. “The teleserye is my comeback to acting after the long hiatus. It sucked to be apart from Janella and Jude for my first birthday as a dad, but it’s the job. Everything I do is for the benefit of my family.”
Although he and Janella have been often deprived from sleep since baby Jude was born, Paterson is not complaining, as he realized that he has experienced yet the most challenging aspect of being a dad.
“Some nights, you convince yourself you’re used to it, but other nights, it’s a nightmare for your body to awaken,” Paterson honestly disclosed. “Best moment for me being a dad is waking up to him squiring all over me with the cutest smile ever made.
“I don’t really know if there is a hard part to being a father or at least not yet. Jude is only turning eight months old, so he doesn’t have the emotional range for us to struggle with yet, but it’s something we’re preparing for.”
In September last year, Paterson and Salvador both flew to the UK, where baby Jude was born. “I wanted Jude to be born in the same hospital I was born in,” Paterson said. “That was a huge factor, but also the fact that it would be much quieter. And I trust the healthcare system there a lot better. Just in case there was a complication.”
Yet, even after only a few months when baby Jude was born, Paterson and Salvador readily decided to return to Manila. They did that last February when they flew back in town with their precious bundle of joy.
“We both knew that we couldn’t leave the Philippines,” admitted Paterson. “We both work here and to throw away the opportunities here would be a silly decision.
“We love what we do here. Our careers here are what’s going to give Jude the life he deserves. But in the future, when life is more comfortable, UK is the best option for his education.”
Now that they are both first-time parents, Paterson disclosed nothing was easy when the transition happened. “But I’m thankful that Janella is such a patient partner with every tough situation we go through,” Paterson said.
“It’s not so hard to balance the duties, but now, since I’m back to taping, it’s hard to be so far apart. Since we don’t have a yaya, it’s not easy for Janella and Jude without me there at home. It breaks my heart.”
As he acknowledged the lessons and heartbreaks of being a young dad, the only immediate plan of Paterson and Salvador is to raise baby Jude well. The baby’s baptism has been scheduled in October, his first birthday. As for the couple tying the knot, that has yet to happen.
When baby Jude gets a little older and he expresses his desire to join showbiz, Paterson will not hinder his son.
“If he wants to join showbiz, then that’s his decision,” the dad said about his son. “All we want is for him to be happy with whatever he chooses. But I wouldn’t mind if he fell in love with football, like I did.”
With all of the requirements as a parent and as an actor in these challenging times, Paterson banks on today's technology.
“The Zoom auditions and script readings are only effective with consistent Internet,” said Paterson, who endorses PLDT Home. “With Jude learning more and more every day, we love making him watch the educational shows like ABC’s.”
Every parenting style is unique and each one has the power to connect and build a better home for every family. There’s no way to be a perfect parent, but there are a million ways to be a great one.
The second half of 2021 will see Paterson returning to acting and revitalizing his showbiz career. He is part of the cast of the teleserye “Viral,” marking the first team-up of Charlie Dizon and Joshua Garcia, with Jake Cuenca and Dimples Romana.
“I’m so happy ‘Viral’ is the project to launch my comeback after a long hiatus,” Paterson said. “It’s such a good project, story wise it’s so exciting. My goal as an actor is to act and to act well. Constant learning and improvement are on top of my goals.”
The actor’s role model in life, then and now, is his dad, the person who molded him into the kind of individual that he is now. “My first ever role model and still is my dad,” Paterson said. “The most valuable thing I have learnt from him is the respect and manners that have made me into the man I am today.”
Since his dad is in the military, Paterson’s initial ambition in life was to become a royal marine from the time he was a young boy. “To serve my queen and country [in England],” he unabashedly offered. “But having a Filipino mom, she told me that she would kill me before they even got the chance.”
Paterson obviously built his foundation not in shifting sands, so his career will not topple even if nasty intrigues, brewing controversies or daunting challenges swing around. His second wind in acting and now as a first-time dad will readily prove that.