Good Lord, must it be difficult to be a father. How much a father loves his beautiful and smart daughter has been shown in movies and books enough already but what about the fathers with not-so-perfect daughters? I am pretty sure that a father, unlike any other man, would adore her irrespective of her being aesthetically beautiful or not but what if the said flaws are not physical?
The most difficult task after the forgiving someone is to love them unconditionally post forgiving. Loving an asshole, making society question his parenting, getting married against his wishes, talking back, rash driving, tattoos, alcohol and what not, fathers have forgiven everything. How do fathers love us when we are flawed all the time? In today’s world, we have come to terms with forgiving lying, cheating, back-stabbing, two-timing and whatnot! Personally having forgiven enough of these vices but not never being able to love post the ordeal, I have started to wonder if their love is different than the one that we have come to learn of.
A father pays an obscene amount of money for his daughter’s education, compliments her cooking- experiments even if he is intolerant to those of his wife’s, suppresses his fears every time some guy is mentioned, melts when the daughter coaxes him into fulfilling her absurd shopping wish-list, patiently shows her how much love she deserves thereby establishing a precedent for another man who will love her, watches her turn from a baby into a woman and all this just to turn his back on her and give her away one day and then not to see her months at a stretch? When a man loves his wife, there is desire; with parents, there is a sense of duty; unlike a son, generally speaking, a daughter isn’t even a support for his old age; with daughters, it is pure affection.
Is key to this transcendental love the fact that they are too busy with their jobs or is it a conscious effort to ignore the mistakes of his teenage daughter. May be it is decades of knowing their daughters, especially in their formative years, or maybe it is some logic of same genes/blood that leads to unconditional love. I heard a story once that a father didn’t utter a single word when his daughter drew all over his passport after which he had to take pains of getting it re-issued*. What do we daughters do in return for all that love? Sure, you can’t compare love but I’m certain a daughter’s love isn’t as pure as her father’s. I can’t be the only one who has had multiple bouts of hatred (please tell me I’m not the only horrible daughter or else I’d have a huge pang of guilt on me for the rest of my life.)
Being a father is such a painful job but at the same time I can see that it is gratifying to have a daughter. Seeing his daughter all grown-up in a dress and heels has to be a proud feeling but it must also hurt to know that there is no little girl with pigtails anymore. Marrying a daughter away has to be relief but it surely leaves a father bereft. Is there an underlying masochism of some sort? Do guys today want to be a father anymore? Do they have it in them?
“A Daughter is a treasure and a cause for sleeplessness” Ben Sirach
“It kills you to see them grown up but I guess it will kill you faster if they didn’t” Barbara Kingsolver
P.S. Since a few of you asked, this is not a dedication to my father, he is not even in the same country right now.
*Thank you Apsara for sharing that anecdote.