Daddy, I am proud to be your daughter. Now, I am a grown-up young lady who is starting my own micro-enterprise, linking up with collaborators and taking my place in Québec City’s business jungle.
Thank you for showing me all these wonderful recipes that now make me happy. At first, you provided me with the ingredients. Then, progressively, you began congratulating me when I showed you that I could find them on my own. I was proud to see that I am making you proud. I am glad to know that we still feel that way.
You provided me with my first personal computer. Wasn’t it dangerous for a parent to leave me with all this freedom? You did not prevent me in any way from surfing any website I wanted. Was it because you knew that my whole mind was busy searching for penguins, pink themes for my Ubuntu, software that helped my creating bubbly picture modifications? Was it because you didn’t worry that I faked spending hours drawing in my bedroom behind my closed door? Was it because you were spying me? Was it simply because, somewhere in your daddy heart, you had an antenna that connected directly to mine? Even today, I still believe that’s the case. Some of my friends tell me they wished they had parents who gave them the same amount of confidence you put in me.
I never felt pushed towards drugs, illegal activities or anything that could have made me live unhappiness. Although I didn’t feel you held me at the end of a rope, I knew there was a very large safe bubble near you. Or a sunshade… Some sort of umbrella. I felt protected though you kept showing me how good I was at protecting myself. Was it that you saw I was managing well my own protection?
When I was little, maybe 7 or 8, I insisted cooking with you. Mom felt a bit uncomfortable with the knives and all. But you assisted me in my experiences. I’ve learned to view a knife with respect and use it wisely. I’ve experienced that the technique makes the difference between working safely and getting hurt. You didn’t hide the knives.
When I grew older and all my schoolmates were chatting on the electronic messenging, you guided me in installing the software and you showed me how to have the coolest smilies in town. You showed me I was able to get them on my own. While mom was worried, you gave me liberty and the key to protect myself. The chats we had for hours, you and I, about seeing danger in the world and knowing how to keep safe and happy… These souvenirs accompany me every day when I face new challenges in my professional life. I am not afraid of the world. I know how to prevent getting myself in trouble, though.
You educated me like Wikipedia! Ha! Ha! I can say my father wanted me to have curious eyes, scanning the world for ingredients that could enter my happiness recipe. I can say my daddy made me build a radar in my head and in my heart, spotting danger from afar. I know what can hurt me and how it can hurt me.
At bedtime, you were telling me stories where danger was something to understand and not to fear. In your tales, danger was there but the heroins and heroes always knew how to continue their journey to happiness. They treated danger with respect because they knew it could have the best of them. They knew what to do and where to go to avoid it, always keeping it in sight to make sure it didn’t see them. You always said to me that, as long as I keep at a safe distance and I keep my eyes on it, I will be sure it’s not running after me. The characters in your stories who chose to ignore danger or challenge it wrecklessly always got either hurt, either lost. You know… I got the message.
I realise today that you gave me the tools to protect myself. You grew empowerment into me. Deep down, I know you peeked over your shoulder to see if I was making it right. But that’s okay. My heart understood that you cared.
You read my blog – mom tells me. She also tells me that you shed tears of pride.
This is a fictive story by Jean-François Néron, executive secretary and general manager at Waska, autonomie et services techniques communautaires, a non-profit organization in Québec City. Photos by Photo-Libre.