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Dear father, thank you for not treating me like a princess!

Father's day
It must have been the mid 90s. I returned home from school, a little angry and more annoyed. That day, I had to use the school bus because my father was busy with some official work and he told me in the morning to take the school bus to travel home. I was almost ten years then and was accustomed to being chauffeured around. Travelling in the school bus on a hot a humid summer day was not at all a welcome change.

Seeing my irritable mood, my mother asked me if something was wrong. "No girls in my class take the school bus. It's only for boys. Everyone's parents pick them up from school and Riya (name changed) always tells me how she is her daddy's princess and he treats her like one," came the prompt reply as if I was waiting for a chance to vent out my thoughts. I was just one mood swing away from throwing a tantrum. My father, who had just reached home from the office, overheard our conversation and made his presence known by clearing his throat.

"What's going on? Princess, eh? What would a princess do in today's world? And, what's wrong with traveling by a school bus? I agree it's a little hot but can you imagine how hot the world would become once the climate starts changing due to pollution?" my father explained. Let me remind you again. It was the mid 90s when pollution wasn't rampant as it is today. For a 10-year-old to think about how the world would be 20 years later was unimaginable. I wanted to be a 'daddy's princess' just like my friend; and not someone who travels by bus to cut down pollution worrying about global warming.

When my friends played with Barbie dolls and I wanted a princess Barbie wearing a pink gown, I got one. It was definitely a Barbie but not a princess. It was a doctor Barbie with a full set of equipment like a stethoscope and others. Happy that I got a doll I wanted, I slowly started getting over the 'I want to be a princess' phase.

As I stepped into teenage, my father slowly introduced me to the world of 'decision making'. While most of my friends' parents were busy deciding what their wards would pick up as a profession (most opting to be a doctor or an engineer), my father totally left it upon me to decide what I wanted to be. I still remember one incident. When we were in class six or seven, we were given the assignment to write an essay on "My Aim in Life". After much deliberation, and still, at a loss of words, I approached my father for help. I asked him what should I write. He explained the rules of how to write an essay—the introduction, body, and conclusion.

"No! I meant what should I become when I grow up?" I asked.

"How would I know what you want to become?" he replied without averting his gaze from the newspaper he was reading.

"Should I write that I want to become a doctor?" I asked again.

"But do you really want to be a doctor? Last time I checked, you were scared of blood..." he said.

"Err...that's true," I left his side after getting the hint that he would not tell me the answer I sought.

After careful evaluation of almost half a dozen options and career, I finally choose something that had been fascinating me for a while. My father had an organic garden and every morning he would tend to his plants for an hour or two. That was the time I knew he was the happiest. I wanted to be happy. I decided to be a gardener. When I showed my father the essay I had written. He beamed with pride and said, "Now, that's a good choice of career. I hope you get the spelling of 'hydrangea' correct next time," he said while making a few minor changes and corrections.

He always encouraged us (my brother and I) to take our decisions, to know the right from the wrong, to make mistakes and learn from that. He never held our hands and taught us to walk, rather he watched us walk and fall, and picking us up when needed. I was never treated like a 'princess' or made to wear pink and look pretty; he left me to get my hands and dress dirty while playing outdoors, choose books instead of make-up and learn to drive rather than wait for a 'prince' to drive me home!

Thank you, Papa. For not making me a 'daddy's princess'. For letting me fall and learn from my mistakes. For encouraging me to be a strong woman rather than grow up into a woman who depended on her strong man.

Thank you for letting me be.


from LifeStyle
Dear father, thank you for not treating me like a princess! Dear father, thank you for not treating me like a princess! Reviewed by streakoggi on June 21, 2020 Rating: 5

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