relationship with daughter

Congratulations, it’s a girl

As he held his daughter in his arms, he felt deeply protective of her. But even so, a feeling of disappointment continued to gnaw at him.

He had always wanted a son—his spitting image, a ‘typical’ boy whom he would raise to be a fine young man and a responsible citizen. He often visualised being a father, watching his son play, teaching him and reprimanding him if he didn’t eat his vegetables. During their pregnancy, he often told his wife, “We will raise our son such that he will value relationships. He will care for people. Our son will be around when we grow old not because he’ll have to, but because he will want to.”

As he paced impatiently outside the delivery room, the affable doctor came out smiling, “Congratulations, you have a daughter!” He smiled back at her with joy, of course. Yet, a silent disappointment enveloped his heart. Am I sad? Am I sad because we did not have a son? Or, is it because I did not want a daughter? I am an educated, open-minded person. Of course, this can’t be true.

It was emotional torture! He didn’t want to entertain such thoughts any further. I will be equally happy raising our daughter.

Still struggling with numerous thoughts, he went in to see his wife and daughter. The next moment he found himself holding his little girl. He finally understood the phrase ‘pure love’ as he cradled her in his arms. He felt deeply protective of this little person he saw for the first time. But even so, the feeling of disappointment continued to gnaw at him.

Years passed, and a lot changed. He lost his beloved wife to a fatal tumour. At her deathbed, he promised to raise his daughter single-handedly. And he did. But even 10 years after losing his wife and being the single parent he chose to be, his relationship with his daughter remained distant, formal at best. Often, while travelling and taking his ritualistic evening walks, he pondered over her future and wellbeing. He still longed for a son, and wondered what their relationship would have been like.

Years went by, and nothing changed. Well, one thing did—his daughter got married and moved away with the love of her life. As for him, life was the same except that he was much older and took longer walks. One Sunday evening, he returned from his walk feeling sad and alone, dreading an empty, dark house. As he walked past the main gate, he saw the lights on, the door unlocked and his daughter and son-in-law standing together, smiling. “Father, we thought it’d be perfect if we lived close to each other. Better still, next door! We’ve found two adjacent houses on a peaceful street, not far from here. There’s also a beautiful park for your long walks. What do you think?”

Overcome with emotion, he could barely say anything in response to his daughter’s thoughtful gesture. He smiled with a nod instead.

Strolling through the park months later, he contemplated his life’s events. His heart warmed at the realisation that the love, care and security he sought in a father-son relationship he never had, was there all along. He had just forgotten to look.

Foolishly, we spend our lives mining for love, when love’s never too far. Overwhelmed, he smiled.

Looking forward to the hot cup of tea his daughter was waiting with, he walked home. The disappointment had long turned into bliss.

1 Comment
  • Mary Chelladurai
    on October 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    This is a well-meaning story and it wants us as men and women to contemplate what we think about a girl….. A mother too is happy to have a son, and in poorer households it is so common to distribte sweets when a baby boy arives and to disapprove the arrival of a baby girl . Looking at our traditions and or age old patriachal soceity the mind set of the commoner is to seek a son more than a daughter. The reasons are varied but the most common cited factor is a girl child is born to move away to her husband home taking away the wealth of her parents in the form of dowry. Is it really true? is a question debatable. Who introduced this system of dowry to showcase that a gril is hapless and is not able to take care of her own needs and she is a complete dependent on her father as a child, a brother when she is growing up and a husband when she is maried, are we talking of her inabality to protect herself and she looks to be a mere dependant. Are we looking at a girl child as an incapaciated deporable human . Let us all acknowlegede that a girl child is an individual in her own right. All of us have to come to term with our out dated attitudes and beliefs, Today we have to acknowledge that the educated lot have realised this and are opening their arms to greet a girl into the the family. A girl is accepted with great pride and honour and she brings laurels to her parents. She is a precious being and each of us must believe in her strength and her confidence. Let us lok at the out-standing women who have carved a niche n the history, they were girls too . numerous example merit this saying that a girl is the light and wisdom of a family. Let me share with you Mark Twains words for Joan of Arc also known as Maid of Orleans during the most dificult periods of war and strife ” When we reflect that her century was the brutualest, the wickedest, the rottenest in history since the darkest ages,, we are lost in wonder at the miracle of such a product from such a soil… She was truthfull when lying was of dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nations; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honourable in an age which had forgotten what honour was” Joan of Arc was a girl too. Mary Chelladurai





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