Writer . Editor . Author
So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too — John Mayer.
My parents have four daughters. Two are married and two are single. When you are a woman and you are married, you ‘belong’ to your husband. He takes responsibility for you. You no longer ‘belong’ to your parents, who relinquish that authority over to the man you marry.
When you are single, you ‘belong’ to your parents. Anyone who wants to date or marry me has to go through my parents. The Hokkien proverb goes, seh char boh, liau chi leh kia, seh tar poh, tan chi leh kia. If you have a female child, you will lose her, if you have a a male child, you will win another.
I look forward to being married, but I also love being single. It is not easy to live under the authority of earthly parents. They are flawed and imperfect and brought you up with values that shape who you are today. Every family has their quirks – I’m glad I have them, or they would not make me me.
I love that sense of belonging, to know that I belong to my parents – that I am always theirs – that I will always be my father’s child, and my mother’s child. I look forward to them – I look forward to seeing them, to spending time with them, to cook with them, to eat with them, to celebrate them, and to celebrate us.
My married sisters are still my parents’ children, but they are no longer under their direct care. They ‘belong’ to their husbands now. They take after their husband’s name, and they create their own lives and culture. Their priority is their husband, and his family, and their own families in progress.
When I am married, I will also have those priorities. But for now, I love being single, and I love belonging to my parents.