Life Parenting

Flowers for my daughters

One day, flowers will arrive at the house and they will be for my daughter.
I was once on the other side of that doorbell  –  the teenager carrying a nondescript box of chocolates waiting for the door to open. Flowers tend to elicit a few too many stares. At least that’s how I saw it in my mind.
I have tried all possible ways of delivery. I have tried the typical way of buying from a store that makes home deliveries. I have asked a cousin to deliver for me. I have had to walk from the guardhouse to the inner subdivision when I didn’t have a car. When I finally got a car, my options of girls to visit expanded from Far-view all the way to Paraña-Q.
I had butterflies in my stomach. Every single time. What sort of dad will I encounter? Will the dad have a gun? Should I bring a gun? (To compare notes of course). There’s nothing like having the same hobbies to start a conversation. Why do the prettiest girls have to be the general’s daughter? Why can’t they be the banker’s daughter? The worst they can do is perform a credit investigation on me. I had zero debt as a teenager. I also had zero assets but who’s counting?
I did not like the silent dad. He’s just there staring. Summing me up and looking at his watch –   waiting for when he could have his couch back and watch the nightly news or the basketball game. Come to think of it, did I sit on his spot?
I liked the newspaper-reading dad. I didn’t have to see him. I could just imagine the dad smiling behind the newspaper with a pipe on a stiff upper lip thinking this boy is a good catch.
I loved the conversationalist dad. We talked about everything under the sun and reminisced about the good old days and how he used to be in a band. He showed me his classic Fender Stratocaster. I remarked on the outstanding condition the electric guitar is still in. I imagined we high-fived for no apparent reason and I left the house forgetting to give the chocolates to his daughter. I want to be this dad, and have the boys leave without ever seeing my girls.
If the dad were not around, would the mom like me? The moms always liked me — the well-mannered me who knew when to say “thank you” and “please;” the well-mannered me who rang the doorbell and came into the house instead of honking the horn to pick up their daughter.
A few years from now, I will have to make a decision. Am I going to be the absent dad, the silent dad, the strict dad or the extremely strict dad cleaning a gun in front of a suitor? Not that I’m planning on purchasing a gun. But with the number of spoiled boys growing up these days, I may have to purchase a fake gun just to scare the S@#% out of these teenagers.
I definitely do not want to be an absent dad. My wife’s father passed away when she was nine. Her memories of her father are few but in all of them, her father was the silent hero who rescued her from sleeping alone in the dark, taught her to read her letters with Manila Bulletin, let her play with scissors while he worked.
Those few years are held precious. I could only hope that my years with the girls are just as treasured.
I may not even have to decide on what kind of dad I should be. By default and not by choice, we become absent fathers. We are not present in the online world they inhabit. Also by default, we should not even be present in their online world in the name of privacy.

Relationships are now being formed and lost without both parties meeting face to face. I have not yet decided on where I stand with online privacy.
I trust my daughters and in the way we have taught them, and continue to teach them, but I don’t trust the bigger online world inhabited by a billion strangers who are anonymous by choice.
If women eventually use their fathers to set the bar for whom they marry, I pity my daughter’s prospects. In terms of looks, I set a pretty low bar. I don’t mind seeing my reflection come through the door one day. I just wish he would be a way, way better version of me.
The wife is helping me out here. She has the girls deluded into thinking I’m quite a catch. Better yet, she has been “brainwashing” the girls that they should be looking for brains.
Because, now, I’m on the other side of the door waiting for whatever hooligan who will never be good enough for my daughter. The only creatures my daughters are bringing home so far are stray dogs with puppy dog eyes (on my daughter’s faces) asking if we can keep them. I say “yes” knowing that I have the option to put the dog to sleep if they ever turn out to be undesirables.
If only there was a similar option for rowdy boys. Or if boys could also be “fixed” for the good of the population.
You raise a daughter but you have no control of the boys who are brave enough to ask an independent-minded girl out. More often, the ones who do have the courage are the self-absorbed narcissists.
I would have wanted a son to raise him to be an upstanding gentleman and show the world this is how you make a man.
Parents with boys, please stop raising
them spoiled, entitled and directionless. If you made the iPad their digital pacifier until the age of nine, then it is a cop-out to call them millennials and shrug your shoulders that that’s just the way their generation is.
Today, I appreciate my daughters as the gifts that they are. Growing up too fast and still wanting to grow up a little faster.
As expected, I received little hearts a couple of days before Valentine’s. They’re conditioned to make one as a school activity. I won’t be dwelling on the hearts or even try to make them a keepsake. I’ll be cherishing the smiles on their faces as they handed the hearts to me. The same smiles I cherish everyday when I open the door coming home from work. This time, I won’t have butterflies in my stomach. I’ll have butterfly kisses. (Source: Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 18 (February 16-29, 2016): 11.)