Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A Letter to My Daughter
Light of My Eye
Although you're not here yet, I wish you a life of enchantment... filled with dreams to chase and destinations to reach.
I love you before you're born for you're a part of me. I want to protect, to teach and to learn from you what life and love are all about. You, who are more precious to me than myself.
Your Dad, 11:15 am - Saturday, October 1st, 1989
~Written 10 minutes before Diana was born.
A more traditional man would've waited for his daughter's wedding to write and post his letter to her. But you've just graduated from college, and you know damn well that there's nothing more important to me than this. After five grueling years, of which fifteen months were wrought in anguish every time you traveled back and forth, you're finally a pharmacist. I know more jokes about pharmacists than you care to hear but I should tell you this at least, becoming the father of one gave me wings and lifted me to the top of the world.
We were both, you and I, born in a culture which abridges the life of a woman, her successes or failures, her happiness or distress, even her being or non-being down to her luck with a husband. I couldn't even substitute the word luck with choice because unfortunately the mass majority of us don't have a say in that regard. People get married because it's the "right” time and the “right” thing to do. Even when a couple are deeply in love, marriage is not a matter of choice for most but rather a preordained destiny. Oh, don't get me wrong! I'm not against the institution of marriage. I am, however, against considering your matrimony as your biggest achievement, if it's an achievement at all. I want to be there with you to celebrate whatever makes you happy, but you've already made me the happiest I can be.
You are blessed with a loving family, a mother whom altruistic love never faltered, a sister and a brother who look up at you as their hero and role model, and a grandfather who went out of his way to support you when I couldn't. And of course you have me, a father who's supposedly good with words but who doesn't express himself often enough. If I ever wanted to have a lasting impression on you, it would simply be that I gave you what is already yours, choice.
Life is all about making choices. I didn't say the right choices because I've learned from experience that there is no right or wrong momentary decision. Whichever course we chart and navigate we'll have to make an infinite number of small corrections or we'd end up stranded high and dry in a sandbank or, even worse, wrecked on a treacherous reef. With your college education, you don't have to worry much about your future career. Your degree is in demand wherever you may end up, which brings me to my next piece of advice. When you do make your choices err on the selfish side. Don't let either your attachment to a place, even if it's the only home you've ever known, or your affection to a man, even if he's the only person you've ever loved, supersede your autonomy. Home and love are the most basic of human needs but don't allow them to rob you of your inbred freedom.
I had a great teacher who barely taught me anything, or so I thought, when I was young and green. I hope I was that kind of a father to you. I have no delusions of being perfect but I know that I raised you up to be a proud woman. Look at everyone as equal until they prove you wrong with their folly. Those who remain, are your friends. All I ever dreamed of is to be one of them. Way to go Diana, I love you.