Living in the tropics has its perks. But what it also has is a huge possibility for dengue fever. I’ve never been as sick as I was these past two weeks after that mosquito bite. And I couldn’t even remember when it was. So, on one Saturday, I could not get out of bed. All I wanted to do and could do was sleep. My body burned up and I shivered profusely. I threw up and couldn’t get anything back in. This went on for about three days, until the lab test finally came out and I was diagnosed with dengue fever. I was immediately admitted into the hospital. What came next was five of the most boring days I have had in my entire life. I missed you and your brothers. I missed giving you three a real hug because the IV line made it challenging for me to wrap my arms around you. I missed being with you. But on the other hand, I guess I was also grateful for some time to myself, to just flush out the virus and sleep it off. That’s not the story I want to tell you today, though. Today, I want to tell you a little something about your Papa.
I’m sure that one day you will come to question if your Papa is romantic, because he might not come off that way. He doesn’t hug me or hold my hands as often as I would like. He doesn’t woo me constantly with candlelit dinner dates nor does he send me flowers or extravagant gifts on my birthday – or any other retail holidays for that matter. You might say that when it comes to today’s world definition of romance, your Papa might be the best example of “what not to do”.
But here is what I want you to know, Marcia. You need to discover the right definition of romance for yourself. When I was lying on the bed, helpless to doing anything, in between the sting in the back of my eyes, I saw the most romantic man. He cleaned up after my mess, he wiped my vomit with his bare hands and threw it out. He held me when my body was shivering despite the excessive heat under the blankets. He served me food in bed and fed me. He made sure that the three of you would be well taken care of and ensured that I had proper rest. I think that’s what made me come back faster on my feet. I am not even sure myself that if I were in his position, if I watched him hurl out his entire lunch, that I would be clean up after him without grumbling, just like what he did for me. At that moment, even through the blurred vision and painful sting in my eyes, I knew in my heart I was a lucky girl.
So yes, if you googled romance, you might not see a picture of your Papa. But when things really matter, he will be there. For us. For me. He will provide me with the things that are important and he would do things for me. Real things. Things that matter for the both of us. He will take care of me, that much I know for sure.
One day, you will grow up and you will start to build your own definition of romance. I just want you to be sure that you see the man who is not afraid to clean up after you and the one that will always be there to catch you when you fall. Do not be fooled by this world’s definition of romance and do not be blurred by the things that tickle your heart for only short periods of time.
Do not settle for anything less than the extraordinary example your father has set for you. Remember this, my girl.
With all my love,