Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A father's dilemma

This is just another one of those exaggerated anxieties.

This time, it was brought to me by my Angel... yes, my little darling caused me anxiety this morning.

No, she didn't do anything. She just asked a question... a simple, innocent question...

"Dad, when can I go to school by myself?"

I was surprised, caught off-guard so to speak. My baby wants to go to school alone. She asked this while we were on a public jeepney on the way to her school.

Everyday, I take her to school in morning and I come back in the afternoon to pick her up. This is our daily routine. I am self-employed (read: jobless), so I have all the time in the world. Quite frankly, I am enjoying it.

I thought my baby was enjoying it too.

She said she just want to experience being solo (is this her way of telling me to move back?), she asked me to allow her even for a day, just for the experience (I know how freedom feels, I know she'll want more of it).

Reminds me of the anxiety I felt when my son was going on his first field trip... unimaginable!

Now, it's Angel's turn to seek her independence.

But she's only 11 years old! So young... so small... so fragile...

Unfortunately (for me), her request was not without basis.

One - her best friend lives near our house, and they can go home together, so she won't be necessarily travelling alone.

Two - with the installation of traffic lights near her school makes crossing the street not as dangerous as it was before.

Three - on her way home, she won't even have to cross the street!

I now imagined myself going out of the house, looking at the street waiting for her to appear within my view every 4:30 in the afternoon... and not until I get a glimpse of her will I be able to feel relax.

I promised my wife I will take care of our baby. That's why I see myself looking after her as long as I can, even watching her in school 'til she reached high school (maybe even college)... she's my only baby.

Now, this early, she is telling me to "back off" in the most subtle way... is she ready to be independent?

Am I ready to let her be independent?

I know, I'm over-reacting.


jan geronimo said...

If I were you I'd give her a mini-seminar. How to conduct herself in case of unlikely scenarios. For example, your policy about talking with strangers. How to get off sticky situations: harassment from fellow teeners. How to handle situations like a stranger talking to her about you Roy being taken to the hospital and all that. And your baby needs to go with these strangers. These are real dangers, Roy. You've got a beautiful child. It is not foolhardy to prepare your daughter to think on her feet in sticky situations.

I don't have a child. But I feel your anxiety. I will think long and hard too if I were in your shoes. Train your little angel first. Then let her go.

Roy said...

now, I am more worried!

those were my exact concerns Jan. I don't even think I can bear the thoughts...

how can I prepare myself for these things?!

fatherlyours said...

Roy- I have graduated from that stage and I have realized that those fears are created by our own minds. Let her explore her own world but just always keep an open communication. Let her friends visit her at your home so you'll get to know them also. Remember that too much of everything is bad. no amount of body guard was able to keep watch on Cris Aquino when her mother was our President? (wink!)

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi Roy,
There are certain realities you have to accept. First of all, your Angel is no longer a baby. She is already 11 years old. She can ride by herself or with a friend to and from school. There's no big deal in that. Being over protective to your children will not do them any good. They will not learn to become independent. Worst, they may become overly dependent on you and may lose the lesson of self reliance. You have been a growing kid before and you know the feeling of wanting to do things your own. You entrust your children to the Lord so that you will have a peace of mind that nothing untoward will befall them. Let them grow and seek things for themselves. You can only guide and pray for them and God will both protect them and give you that calm assurance of their safety. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

Roy said...

thanks fatherlyours and Mel

yes, you are both right. but of course, you can't blame a father for having an exaggerated anxiety

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