Sanctuary

Sentimentality asides, I am mentally prepared to become a father.

Contemplation, reflection, stargazes, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air gave birth to this logical assumption of me having a child or two. Have you ever watched the sitcom? A generation defining comedy played by Will Smith during the 1990s. A story that revolves around a boy named Will Smith (played and named after the man himself), a troubled teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy uncle’s family in their Bel-Air mansion. It was a refreshing sitcom that taught me a valuable lesson about family.

There’s a scene, as most of you had probably known, where Will – after being abandoned by his father, finally gets the opportunity to meet his old man. His father later on promises Will that they’ll go on a trip. Excited, Will started to pack his bags, raring to go. Unfortunately, as Will thought that his father is about to pick him up, this happened:

Dear future son,

I will be your role model, I will be your friend. I will teach you how to play basketball as you will show me your smile. You will struggle and I will too. You will fall, you will crumple, but I will be there to give you the meaning of your journey; our journey. There will be scratches on your knee, your teeth will get crooked, or you’ll probably have a small cut on top of your eyelids, but don’t you worry as you will have the most average-yet-hardworking paramedic you will ever know.

You will have your hobbies deviate from mine: I loved basketball and you’ll like it, I loved football and you’ll hate it, you will love rugby and I will get caught up in the rules, or you will not like sports at all and I’ll just stand there, watching and admiring while you pour your heart out making music and other amazing stuffs.

You will grow old. Just like your old man. You will have your first kiss in the Junior High School, your first love in the Senior High, experience your first business turns into a shithole, being dumped or even cheated by “the love of your life” from kindergarten, and many more. You’ll (hopefully) ask for my advice even though you know that my first reaction will be throwing a tantrum at your face. But so you know, eventually, I will be your best-average-teammate to kick somebody’s ass.

Dear my lovely, beautiful, future daughter,

I will try very hard to be your first love. I desperately want to not only be your first love, but also your best friend, pillow fight buddy, your secret admirer, partner in crime, and everything you allow me to be. I will introduce you to Disney Princesses of my era, especially Mulan. I will tell you her stories, her experiences on how to be an independent woman whilst still preserving the culture. I will relentlessly escort you to your sleep by telling the tale of Mulan and feminism. Until you got bored, then I will bring you to an endless possibility of magic and fantasies.

You will be a designer, or an actress, or a painter, or even enrolling yourself in the military, I don’t know. You will struggle to find your passion. In Kindergarten you’ll have a dream to become the first Indonesia’s female astronaut. You’ll have that dream because I showed you Michael Bay’s Armageddon. But for six straight years, during your Elementary period, you’ll change your dream, wanting something else. Something more challenging, more mainstream, more fad. You want to be an actress. But then we’ll argue, you’ll cry, and I’ll feel sorry. And it will be a seemingly a never-ending process of wanting and not wanting to be something.

But, Love, don’t you worry. Because whatever you decided to be, I believe that you will excel far beyond any expectations. I will never let you worry of anyone else’s opinion because you are entitled to nothing. I will never let doubt crawls in on you because I will always be your wonder wall. Your cheerfulness will be the only guidance I needed if I’m ever going to guide you.

There will be a point where you introduce your boyfriend to me. And I will get jealous every single time. I will judge them, I will eat them, I will haunt them just so that you are safe. You will hate me; telling me that I’m mean. You will tell me that I never felt what you currently feel. In advance, I’m sorry, Love. All I want is your happiness and I just don’t want anyone else ruin it. But trust me, mark my words, that there will be a man that I will accept wholeheartedly just like you. But it will take a long time because trust is earned and built, not given. Until that time comes, I’ll accept if you want to label me as “mean”.

But, for both my son and/or my daughter,

There will also be times when you and I go in a separate way. You’ll have your own life with your loved ones. You will build a new dream with your partner away from me. You will probably live abroad and leave me. I will probably spend my remainder of time sitting alone in my rocker, nurturing my collection of birds. That’s okay, Love. That’s completely okay.

But one thing for sure, this old man in the rocking chair will always wait for your homecoming. I will never get tired on teaching you both how to play basketball. I will never forget how heroic Mulan was and how I wish you could be as aspiring as her. Neither that I will forget the name of your scumbag exes and make fun of how stupid you were back then. I will still be your storyteller, your best friend, your first love, and your number one fan.

With love,

Ayah

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