TO VARYING DEGREES, all fathers view the relationship with daughters as ultimately to be overcome by a usurper. It will be (in order) a new playmate, a best friend, a colleague, a boyfriend, and ideally (but not necessarily) a husband.
You guide them towards their first steps, capture their first moments in a party dress, bring them to school on their first day, and walk them through disappointment, heartbreak, and triumph, knowing that it is the way of the world.
Despite this, you gladly give up your precious daughter to maturity, womanhood, and another man in his life, knowing the process is immutable and change is inevitable.
Benefiting from this wisdom of the ages, I enjoyed every minute of daughter Ganda’s childhood that I bore witness too. She was showy without being pretentious, friendly without being overbearing, naughty without being disrespectful, and self-aware without being self-absorbed. She was all those things, without ever stopping being a joy in my life.
She is all of 25 years old now, every bit a woman, and with a guy in her life too. She has picked up the cynicism of the postmodern world without abandoning the optimism of the traditional world she left behind, in her youth, and in the Philippines. I can only wish her luck in this shattered world I will soon leave behind for her.
I cannot stop looking at her 4 years young, gorging on brandy-laced fruit cake and dropping off into happy sleep afterwards. I cannot help seeing her as perpetually a toddler, although she will be raising a family soon. I cannot view her as anything other than my own, even if she will be someone’s wife, mother and daughter-in-law soon.
But I can hope.
Belated happy birthday Ganda! I love you always!