Monday, September 12, 2016

A Date with Penelope

     A pastor once remarked that Dad has the important job of making his teen daughter feel attractive, loved, and special, which can help prevent promiscuity. Penelope, now age thirteen, has shown zero signs of boy interest, nonetheless, I do believe that my relationship with her will bear greatly on her future romances, and I do want her to know that I find her beautiful (she is, breathtakingly so), and that I love and cherish her. She's good company (when she tries, otherwise she can be quiet and withdrawn—just her personality), and has been a fine, cooperative, obedient, self-motivated, and helpful child (without being told), so when I felt called to take her out on a dinner date, just her and me, it was with eager, unclouded joy.
     I had her choose the restaurant (“Something you want, not what you think I want”) and she chose Korean food, so we went to Manoa Marketplace where two quiet, comfortable, and affordable places are available, the fancier one of which turned out to be closed.
     I told her after we ordered, "Mom and I see and appreciate your good behavior and helpfulness and this is our thank you for that. We notice, too, how when we ask you to do something, you does it without complaint. We appreciate that a lot.
     She laughed and nodded.
     “Why are you laughing?” I asked, smiling.
     “No reason,” she said.
     “I know there's a reason. I think we both know why...”
     We both laughed deep, which got our date off to a fine start. (FYI: The boys had been at it again that afternoon, for the umpteenth time, bickering, grumping, and disobeying over the simplest “Go outside and get some exercise” request, while she hadn't.)
     Even minutes before our dinner date departure, I was struggling with a health trial so I prayed for God to heal me well enough to go, if that was his will. He did. Yet I wasn't sure how my health would hold out, even as we sat waiting for the food, but half-way through the meal I felt fine. “I'm glad we came,” I said.
     She nodded. “Me, too.”
     She ordered a meat jun (regular size with four side dishes selected from an array of choices) and I ordered the barbecue chicken/kal bi combo, and upon receiving our meals we divvied up the contents—entrees and sides—so we each got a bit of everything. “Mom and I always do this,” I told her.

     “On a date, you wipe your mouth like this,” I said, demonstrating with my napkin.
     She did so, then licked some remaining dipping sauce she'd missed.
     “Don't lick your lips on a date,” I said. “The guy will get the wrong idea.”
     She laughed. “Yes Dad.”
     At the end of the meal as we prepared to leave, I said, “Let's rest a little before going. After all, we're paying for the atmosphere, too.”
     She nodded.
About now,” I said after a breather, “I'd take off my shoes, put my feet in Mom's lap, and she'd give me a foot massage. Want to try?”
     She smiled. “I don't know.”
     “I'm just kidding, we don't do that. I can dream, too, right?” I'd asked her to tell me a dream.
     “Literal or figurative?” she asked.
     She said she'd like to move to the Mainland for college, buy a house, and raise some sheep. And it would be somewhere that snowed.
     “Sheep may have to be brought indoors in snow. Do you know?”
     “No,” she said.
     “Would you want your place to get snow? Or be in a state that gets snow in the mountains but not in the suburbs?”
     “I hadn't thought of it.”
     After we got home, she thanked me for taking her out to dinner, then headed in. I got my shoes off, opened the door, and went in and said, “Pene, on a date, you're not supposed to dig out and leave the guy behind like dirty laundry. You're supposed to wait and walk together. What's going to happen if you do that on a date?”
     “He'll feel hurt?” She was giggling.
     “Yeah. And don't expect him to call you again.”
     We exchanged hugs and next day I left her a note thanking her for her fine company, wondering if it was a bit overboard. But no, I felt the Lord's hand in it all.

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