I CONFESS that at the still-reminiscing-puberty age of 27, I hadn’t given thought to how a potential daughter would’ve looked like, much less grown up to be like, as I was still coping with a son born to me at the ripe old age of 22, a time when most of us are still coming to terms with Catholic guilt, teenage angst, massive acne and unresolved crushes.
That said, a girl borne of my seed (hope that doesn’t sound too awkward), in my fallible estimation, would be pretty but not too pretty, intelligent but also modest, charming without being fresh, respectful without being servile, and clever but not at the expense of others.
These are subjective, egocentric and self-absorbed standards about a daughter ideal, for what are offspring ideals if not abstract extensions of our physical and metaphysical selves?
If you Precious Reader or I had a daughter like that, she probably wouldn’t be human, but an untouchable avatar representing our yearnings, longings and expectations of the generation that succeeds us.
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Instead 23 years later I have a tempered, balanced and more realistic version of the daughter ideal described the last two paragraphs, and that is none other than Ganda, the name I have given my real-life daughter in my (less than real-life) blog world.
The amazing thing is, she may or may not be such, but she has actually turned out to be pretty without being too pretty, has become real-world intelligent while being cyberworld modest, has always been charming even while learning not to be fresh. And yes, it’s too good to be true, but she’s also respectful without being servile, and clever but not at the expense of others.
It goes without saying that you don’t need to believe me, after all, I am her father. But I have also seen Ganda from Promil and Pampers to eye shadow and mascara, and everything in between. Of course, she hasn’t always been that perfect. But to me, she’s the real deal.
Part of me cringes to see her with her grown-up affectations, her little-girl insecurities, and her old-lady fears. But most of all I still die a little when I see her kiss and hold hands with her (coincidentally) Pinoy and (on the surface) respectful boyfriend, quite a surprise because despite being born in Mandaluyong has lived practically his whole life in New Zealand. (I’m secretly happy she has chosen a Filipino beloved, but she’ll never know, that is, unless you tell her.)
But if you know me like I know me, you know that Ganda is Ganda despite me and not because of me.
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And that’s why, on her 23rd birthday today, I love and cherish her like a flawless blue diamond, which as you may or may not know, is the most precious gem in the world.
Which is, as you may or may not know, not even a close second to Ganda.
Happy birthday Ganda, from all of us who care for and love you. And everybody else in the world!
PS. Hope that was the best pic of you I used.