We were talking about the reality show “Love is Blind” on Netflix and I was explaining to her the concept of it, how they would decide to get married without seeing each other, go on a holiday, live together for 2 weeks and then get married.
“What if you see each other and then think you don’t like each other?” She asked.
“Then you call it off,” I said to her.
“What if your family and friends are already at the wedding but you think you don’t want to get married?” She asked again.
“You still say no and walk away,” I said. “Your happiness is more important!”
“Huh, no lah, everyone is there already..”
“What’d you do then?” I asked her. “You shouldn’t get married if you are not sure or don’t want to.”
“I think I’ll just say ok in front of everyone but after that, the next day, I’ll tell him no,” she decided.
“I don’t want to get married next time,” she told me. “I want to be like Da-yi. I think I’ll just stay with you and Daddy.”
“Oh, but why?” I asked.
“Because I want to be close to you. Because after you get married, you won’t be close to your parents anymore.”
“But I’m still close to Waipo and Daddy is still close to Ah gong!” I countered. “We still call each other and visit each other.”
“Huh but that’s not VERY close?” She was doubtful.
“Also, you know sometimes the guy will look like he’s very helpful at first but after getting married, he will be, like, not very helpful. And I’ll end up doing everything?” She continued.
I laughed hearing her say that. Where did she get all these things from?
She explained, “I know Daddy is very hardworking and he is helpful. He works a lot. He will vacuum the floor sometimes and send us to school. But you are also very hardworking. You also work a lot. But you also wake up so early – the earliest! – help me pack my stuff and do so many things for us. And you have to wake up at 2am, 3am, 5am if we cry. I think you do the most! (Don’t tell Daddy ok, he will be upset. He’s really hardworking! But you are even more hardworking!) I don’t want to do so much next time if I get married.”
While Clarissa has always been a sensible and sensitive child, this level of perceptiveness in her thoughts and opinions still surprises me.
I have never talked to her about my work-and-mental-load at home and at work.. but she has observed it and then generalized it to form the opinion that “women will always end up doing more, and in order to reject that, the only way is to reject marriage”.
It’s not entirely true, but it is true. Daddy is responsible and dependable, but Mummy carries even more load for her weight, whether it is the physical load of child caring or the mental load of ensuring everyone is well physically and mentally.
I want so much to let her know, that happiness does not have to be conventional, that she might meet someone who loves her so much that it doesn’t matter who takes more of the load, that it takes as much courage and strength to embrace as it is to walk away.
I want her to not settle, and to know her worth and stay true to herself.
I want her to say no when she means no.
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be a beautiful ride learning and growing with her. ❤