Those who are close to me know that I’m a firm believer in the ‘A Date with Dad’ idea championed by “Focus on the Family’“. Ever since Dana was a wee baby, I’ve never turned away a chance to ‘date’ my daughter Dana, one to one, just me and her out and about, enjoying the bonding.
Last Friday evening, when the wife had to attend a company function, tired as I was from a hectic week of back to back 12-13 hour work days, I jumped at the chance to bring my daughter on a date again. It was an incentive for me to finally be able to put my own child first.
|Our choice of date – to go on a sunset Singapore River Cruise…|
|with none other than my precious daughter!|
It was to be a ‘regular’ date…For this occasion, I’ve planned to go cruising down the Singapore river with her – something we’ve done before in the distant past but unbeknownst to anyone of us, it was to be a date with a difference…
…she accessorized. Yes… my baby whom I had ‘dated’ as wee child, had accessorized on her own: she picked out a sweet pink dress, chose her own necklace and her own cute little handbag. Inside was a comb, a few dollar notes and coins (her savings which she subsequently offered to pay for the dinner with but was declined).
I hadn’t notice all this until we arrived at our dinner venue for the evening, sat down to catch my breath. I thought something was quite different about my daughter this time…and then I noticed – the colourful beaded necklace and her handbag jiggling with coins.
My 6 year-old is growing up…fast…right before my eyes! I didn’t quite notice it till I stopped (or was forced to due to the slow Friday night meal service).
I felt like a lousy Dad – I had not noticed. No…not only the accessories but how over the past months, she had taken a keen interest in things we do, trying to help us make decisions and at times exerting and making her preferences known. She had also started to ask ‘Why’ more than ever and observed more.
It is true – I remembered how friends would advise me to cherish each moment, as I was carrying baby Dana in our Ergo, that these moments are precious and fleeting. How true.
I’ve always said this and I say it again, to myself no less, parenting is about engaging. Presence and activity is never enough. It’s what the parent does with the child and in my case, to stop, observe and appreciate.
As our children grow, our engagement with them takes on a deeper level. Today for Dana would be simple accessories, tomorrow, her taste in music, clothes, friends and before we know it, she would be making those life-changing decisions. I want to be there…if not physically, at least in her consciousness.
Singapore River has seen many many changes… one of them is my relationship with my daughter. Every moment I can spend with her is a dream come true and I cherish them with each beat of my heart.
|Sights that took our breath away – glittering night views…|
|alluring city scapes…|
|mesmerizing laser shows…|
|grandeur buildings restored to its former glory…|
|kaleidoscope of lights by the rive bank…|
|cultural fervour from the ‘Hua Yi’ performances…|
|Row row row your boat…life is but a dream…|