Three months ago, a classmate of mine and I were playing a scenario game. He started with, “how will you say your acceptance speech in the Oscars?” I answered his question. He clapped and smiled and then it was my turn. “You’re stuck in the elevator with a pregnant woman and she’s having a hard time.” He demoed how he’d handle the situation and it’s his turn again. It went on and on and it was my turn to ask, “You’re a father. Your three year old daughter knocks on your door crying. She then tells you, ‘dad I have a nightmare.’ What will you do?” He thought for a while then said, “well I’ll ask her what’s wrong, then I’ll tell her everything will be alright… I’ll hug her—,” then I no longer heard what he said.
I spaced out and cried.
One Tuesday from four months ago, I lit up a fire. My father learned about it the Thursday after it happened and all I felt was unbearable shame. Okay, I did not literally light up a fire… I just did something really stupid that basically brought shame to my family, especially my father. After the talk I had with my dad, I started running away from him. I couldn’t bear the pain he was carrying with him caused by the act I did. Even in my dreams, I ran away from him. But two weeks after that, the very day my classmate and I played the game, I decided that I will stand strong and be brave enough to make things right again.
The story goes: There was a little girl who was abused by her maid, and none of her parents knew about it. Most nights she’d wake up crying and her sisters will get mad at her and hush her. So she’d go out of the room, walk along the hallway, and knock on her parents’ door. Every time she does this, her mom wakes up and tells her “it’s just a dream, everything will be alright, okay? Go back to sleep,” her mom would kiss her and the little girl would walk back to her room and go back to bed. This night, however, her dad opened the door. The little girl got terrified for she was scared of her dad and thought she was dead for crying over a nightmare. “What’s wrong?” Her dad asked. “I… I had a nightmare,” the little girl sobbed. Her dad went out of his room, closed the door, gently held the little girl’s hand and walked with her to the room. They both sat on her bed. “It’s just a bad dream, let’s pray.” The father prayed for the both of them. Thereafter, he kissed her good night and went back to the room.
My classmate asked me if I was alright. I apologized to him for zoning out and crying. I told him the truth that I screwed up even after all the things dad had done for me. He told me that we all do screw up and make mistakes, so might as well learn from it.
I may be 17, just a few years from becoming a young adult. But that very moment I zoned out, I felt like that little girl again, so vulnerable, and so in need of my dad. My classmate was right, I screwed up and that’s done. Now it’s time to learn from that mistake, move on, and do something good.
Dear Daddy, I know there’s no way you’re going to see this but I just want to tell you how much I’m grateful to have you. I really love you, and Happy Father’s Day. 💙