I had a walk yesterday with my daughter on a nearby university and on our way, as we rode the jeepney, she kept asking where we were headed. I whispered that she’ll like the place and soon, maybe she’s think about going to that school. ( I was actually hoping she’d like it considering the cost and quality of that school though admittingly, it was a public school yet a good one in defense.) She can recall the time my sister brought her to the school where I and my sisters attended for college and she quoted it as “huge”. Unlike that one, this school has designed to be eco friendly hence the shorter buildings and quite spaced out from each other.
As soon as we entered the campus and started walking, she noticed the open gym where many children are playing at that moment. She happily told me that she would want to attend that school soon as there are more spacious playground she can exhaust her physical strength soon. Then we went to the “oval” as they termed it, wherein it was a vast grassy ground, good for soccer and football. It was misty and I barely can see something five steps away hence I declined her request to go to the oval. Thus, we decided to continue walking and grab some street food nearby.
On our way, I asked her what she would like to be when she grow older and she simply answered that she’d prefer to be a dentist. Again, I asked her why and she admittingly answered that being a dentist is an easy job. She went on saying that all the dentist do was to pull a tooth out and so, unable to hide my expression, I chuckled and told her something more about dentistry. I said that I used to assist a dentist on my previous job and hence I tried in an eloquent manner to correct her deficient assumptions. I saw her sigh and then she asked what then is a considered an easy job. I honestly told her that not all things are easy, in fact, most things are hard. Nonetheless, she could be happy and can overcome the struggles if she does what she wanted, what she is passionate about. I know how poor she can get academically and on uncondescending manner, I pointed out her weaknesses but tried my best to explore her strengths. I then asked if she’d reconsider being a teacher one day and she said no because of a certain image that a teacher was for her- they’re always angry. I softly laughed at her remarks, at some point I know what she means and she was simply telling from her own perspective. Which is why, I have to explain again that teachers may or may not necessarily be angry but they teach because they want to and they loved to. I could see doubt in her eyes but intrigued no further. In time, she will figure it out on her own.
Suddenly, after a moment of silence, she then asked when will I stop working. I honestly told her that until she finished college and can take care of herself then perhaps I would but on the contrary, I emphasized that sometimes, people don’t retire from their work because they love them and that they are happy doing it. Again, I argued that she is under no pressure to finish school sooner. Instead, she has to learn what she loves and pursue it or else, she’d end up like me. In my mind, I cannot tell her verbally that I’m being stuck at what I dreaded to do for a living but I know it is temporary and that I’m also trying to make all things right this time. She added that perhaps she should only get a degree which will require a minimal monetary assistance so I could go home and retire early thus we have to stop walking as I try to explain to her the value of money. She seemed satisfied afterwards and soon we had our mouths savoring some street foods.
As we are waiting for a jeepney to arrive, I asked her seriously if there were some things- things in school – that she wanted to talk about. She said nothing but admits that sometimes, she was being bullied. I told her to elaborate and she dismissed it saying that it was only the usual “ bobo and pangit” stuff that kids always fool around with. “And your father?” I uttered. She told me she doesn’t know because she never know who he was and at that moment, I was ready to answer if she asked although I fear what will happen. But, she said that she has a lot of mother’s and her papa grandpa and that kids in her school do call their grandparents mama and papa too which is why she sees indifference.
She know that maybe I will leave her again soon but perhaps that’s what makes our complicated relationship thriving. I always worry about her but I trust she can make it and that she can live a better life than I have.