Do you remember growing up as a little girl and being Daddy’s Little Princess?
No? Neither do I…..
I’ve always wondered about this new concept of The Father and His Princess. I say ‘new’ because as a Samoan, it really is a new concept. My dad was the typical tough and strict Samoan father (for those of you who have just joined us, you really need to catch up:THE BIGGEST HIDING OF MY LIFE). I spoke English, my dad spoke Broken English. So during my childhood years, every conversation with him went like this:
Me: Dad! Can I have some money for my school trip next week?
Dad: Whats for?
Me: We have to pay a fee to go on the trip
Dad: Whats for?
Me: So I can go on the trip
Dad: Whats for?
His “Whats for?” was the reply he had everywhere we went – the supermarket, the butchers, the lotto shop……because it was the only sentence he could say and I guess it worked well for him for a good 5 years of my life.
Suffice to say, I never got an “Okay here darling, get a few dollars out of my wallet Sweetie Pie. Take whatever you need”. Because 1) There was never anything in Dad’s wallet after the bills were paid; and 2) Samoan fathers don’t talk to their daughters like that….
I have a young daughter – just coming out of her ‘princess’ stage but still firm in her ‘drama queen’ stage (and she’s so damn good at it!!!). When I observe how close she is with her father it baffles me.
- She gets cuddles from her dad when she’s feeling down – I got the ‘why you scare for ah?’ speech when I was her age
- Her dad calls her ‘my baby’ or ‘my girl’ – I got my name with an exclamation mark “Lika!”
and sometimes with an expletive right after it.
- Her dad saves her from the wrath of her Samoan Mother (PS. Don’t get on my bad side)
I think we get the picture. So everytime I see this kind of affection, I think to myself “Wow…so that’s what it’s like…..” and then I’m like…pffffffft!
Our parents didn’t learn about fairytales and nursery rhymes when they were young. Their storytime sessions included the legend of Sina, Nafanua…and the spirits that guarded their villages. So I wonder, how did they feel about the fact that their NZ-educated children were learning about these fairytales that were far removed from the Samoan upbringing? And while we are talking about stories, is it any wonder that we learned how to read as children? I mean, we came home with our weekly reading books and our parents couldn’t help us read or practice our spelling words because they didn’t know how to. We learned English and then we had to teach our parents how to speak it.
Fast-forward to my adult years and you wouldn’t believe it – My dad treats me like a Princess, in his own way of course (true story!). When Im up at midnite writing an essay he sits in the lounge and waits for me to finish before going to bed himself – even if I finish at 4am. When I was up all night baking for my daughter’s 5th birthday he stayed in the kitchen to keep me company, singing old pese lokus until I finished at 3am. Since I moved to Australia, he fasts every Thursday/Friday (a non-eating vigil of 12hrs) and prays for the safety of my little family while we live in Australia…..
Put it down to his softer side coming out since he turned 50 (He’s 68 now) but I appreciate it. Looking back, I have come to the realisation that Dad just didn’t know how to show us the love we read about in storybooks. He gave me a better kind of love, the Samoan kind. He did his best and that’s all I could ever ask for……
And by the way, I prefer being the Queen than the Princess.
Ia manuia xx