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My daughter gave me flowers today.

They weren’t fresh, and they had been inside her school bag for a couple of hours. The edges of the tulips had started blackening and the stem had already lost its freshness.

But she smiled like they were the best bouquet of tulips ever. And to me, they were.

She is just 9 years old. She wants to help me in my work, and it’s hard to see the look in her eyes when I reject her from doing any. She’s tried gardening, cooking, cleaning, just everything. But I never let her prove how much I mean to her. Then since a few days, she had been saving up her money I gave for ice creams just to give me a bouquet of flowers.

She is tired from school, her hair is messy, her feet are muddy, she has a little bruise on her left knee from all the playing in school, her bag is heavy with books, her hands messy with colour pen marks.

And in these hands, she has the tulips, the tulips that send a chill down my spine.

I was a daughter once too.

My mother was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. She never got any education, and I never bothered to teach her anything. She worked in the fields all day, cooked a meal for me whenever I shouted from the top of my voice that I was hungry, and never, ever made me miss the love of a father. She woke up early to pray for me, cook for me, tidy me up for school, work to fill up my fees, come home, lie next to me like she wasn’t tired at all. And I rolled over.  I didn’t like my mother.

I don’t know why I couldn’t like her. I always told myself that it was the age, where you get detached from your parents and more attached to the people of the same age group as you.

What about my daughter then?

My daughter has a loving father, more loving than I am. I have a maid to do all the household chores, to clean up my daughter when she is back from school, to make her eat her meals properly, to clean her clothes, everything. I come home from work, plant a kiss on my daughter’s head, barely have time to make her a good dinner all by myself.

To this day, when she walks up to my bed and puts her arms on top of me, almost making it around my waist, I sink, so low, and I feel happy, and guilty too, that I am still a hero for my daughter.

My mother is my hero too, but I wish I would have told her this.


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