Looking at my girls, I can't help but be amazed at how happy they are; how they can laugh so easily; how they can easily find fun in whatever they do. God knows, looked at objectively, they don't have much to be happy about. I won't get into the details here, but they--we--are going through a rough time. Let's just say that our present arrangement isnt normal.
But they don't care. They run, they jump, they play, as if everything's just hunky-dory. I could watch them play all day, I could listen to them laugh. It's the most beautiful sound a dad could ever hear--the sound of his kids' laughter.
Last night, they dragged me outside to play a game with them. Quite frankly I didnt feel like playing. There was a lot on my mind and that didnt allow for any other activity. But they insisted, took me by the hand, "Lika na, Tatay." I went.
First we played hide and seek, with me as the 'save' post. One daughter would close her eyes and lean on me and count to 10 while the other hid. "Ready or not, here I come." A while later they would come running towards me to see who gets to touch me first. I was supposed to run myself so that they couldnt catch me and 'save' themselves. It was an interesting twist on hide and seek and they didnt care who won. They just liked chasing me around and trying to catch me.
Next we played a game they said was like Kris Aquino's Game Ka Na Ba? TV show. Me and my younger daughter stood on a line while my older daughter would ask questions and whoever answered correctly took a step forward. We pretended we had buzzers we had to press when we knew the answer and we would go, 'Eee-e-eengk.' I aced the solar system questions, but I got totally creamed with the Spongebob questions. My daughter also improvised on some questions by doing some dance moves or just moving weirdly and we were supposed to guess what she's doing. "Krusty Krab," my younger daughter answered one of these questions.
"Correct," our quizmaster said. A couple of more times that happened. Ok. I get it now, I thought.
To another one of these 'questions,'--my daughter just held her elbows and knees at right angles and walked that way--I just pressed my buzzer and said something totally inane. "Kamploonit," I said.
"Correct," came the quizmaster's verdict. My younger daughter pretended to complain. And we all had a good laugh. They didnt care too much about the game. They just wanted to hang out with their dad.
The game ended in a draw, inevitably. It was almost 9:00 and so I said they should go wash up and get ready to go to bed. "Awwwwwww." My younger daughter insisted I carry her on my back and she isnt exactly a light-weight and I just recently pulled a back muscle from over-exercising. But ok, let's go.
As I lay in bed that night, I sent an SMS to a pal. "My kids are so happy. I must be doing something right."
"Of course you are. Theyre so lucky to have you."
I smiled and tried to get some sleep. I knew better of course. Im the one who's lucky.