Fast forward 10 years
You're figuring your way out through the chaos of your first job. Your love life remains quiescent. Though there is that one girl that just makes you wonder... Could she be the one?
Fast forward 12 years
Turns out, she is the love of your life! After the awkwardness dissolves, turns out she has the same favorite band as you, same favorite restaurant, et cetera. The relationship lasts, and one fine day it occurs to you, "why the hell am I not already married to her?" And then you set out to change that.
Fast forward 14 years
You're married to the woman of your dreams, and you're living the "happily ever after". Except for the occasional tussle with the mother in law, everything's peachy. Although after a while, it seems as though something's missing. You talk to your partner. Turns out she feel the same way! So you turn your focus to the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
Fast forward 17 years
After many failed attempts, a lot of tears shed, and phases of depression later, it finally happened. As you sit, anxious, in the waiting room of the hospital, you're praying to every God whose name you can recall, although you were never pious. The nurse finally walks out, and a tiny wailing bundle of cloth rests in her arms.
"It's a girl!"
After the initial shock of being a father subsides a bit, you gather the courage to hold her in your arms. And that was the moment you fell in love for the second time.
Fast forward 19 years
A wailing sound wakes you up. Again. You sigh and roll over, it's your turn now. You stumble around and find the crib, and pick your little daughter up. Oh, it's definitely the diaper. You change her diaper, and she flashes you that angelic toothy smile and you can't help but feel elated despite waking up at 3 am just to change diapers. You glance at your wife's tired but effortlessly beautiful face, and silently thank your lucky stars.
Fast forward 25 years
"Daddy, you're home!"
A tiny tornado tackles you and clings to you. Oh, what a treat to come back home to. "Daddy, look, I got an A+ on my English test!", she says, proudly.
You take in the bouncing curls and sparkle in her eyes. "Oh, really? Come here, you.", you say as you pick her up and twirl her gently, "So, what does this little writer in the making want?"
A sheepish, toothy grin, as you hoped to see. "Well... There's this new Barbie doll that's REALLY cool..."
"Sure princess, anything you want. "
Fast forward 30 years
Your tiny tornado, not so tiny anymore, and fiercer than ever, drags you to the mall to buy her a dress. If the shopping sprees her mother went on were any indication of how this was going to be...
You shudder at the very thought.
"Why don't you go with Mommy, she's going to be more experienced with all of this... What help am I going to be?" You protest. "You know that mom needs to stay and correct the exam papers. And I need a dress for my best friend's birthday party. Daddy, come on!"
Dress after dress, shop after shop.
"It's too drab";
"It's too long";
"It's not that great";
"This makes me look fat" (Boy, that was a close shave)
You heard them all. You dare not give suggestions ("Really, dad? THAT one?"), so you offer critique when asked, and FINALLY, the Gods answered your prayers, and at the nth shop, she found a dress that was neither too long, nor too drab, and flattered her figure. She tries it on and twirls around twice, her smile as wide as it can be.
"It's perfect, honey" you assure with a smile. Yes! You can almost imagine yourself back at home, perched on your couch....
"Awesome, let's bill this, and move on to the shoes!"
Your smile has never transformed into a frown this fast ever before.
Fast forward 35 years
Two doors collectively bang against their frames. She's fuming, behind her door. "How dare they? Why don't my parents just listen to me once rather than just making assumptions!?" Her anger quickly dissipates into tears. She hugs her pillow and weeps until she's lulled to sleep by the sound of her own whimpers.
You're fuming behind your own closed door. "How dare she? Why doesn't she ever listen to us, we only want what's good for her!", you protest to your wife. "Honey, I know she's in the wrong and she should've come clean with us about her alleged boyfriend who might not even be her boyfriend, but also do think about the fact that the past few months are the happiest she's ever been." "So? Everyone's happy in the initial phase. I know boys! He's going to take advantage of her and then.." "Honey, stop. Let's meet him once, at least?" But you've already turned the TV on, and the sound of the cricket commentary drowns out your wife's voice.
Fast forward 35 years
The clutter of spoons and plates has been the backtrack to your dinners lately. Rather than a jolly family communion, it seems like a test. You try awkwardly to make conversation. Your daughter has the grace to not snap, but only reply curtly. You give up, and turn your focus towards your plate.
How long could this possibly last?
Fast forward 45 years
The phone hardly ever rings anymore. The emails ceased long time back. You don't show how much it affects you. I mean, you're a strong guy, right? Yet, when your wife's sleeping, you pore over the family albums and your eyes tear up.
You thank god that she has a family that makes as happy as she makes you.
Back to the present.
Here is one piece of advice:
Regardless of whose fault it was, reconcile. Surrender. There's nothing you're proving or achieving by being pissed at your parents and (vice versa).
We teenagers are a confused lot. We're still weaving our way through the hustle and bustle of the city of life, getting lost in the throngs of problems, walking the narrow streets of rights and wrongs and meandering our way around without maps, because it hurts our egos to ask for one.
Parents, like the occasional helpful pedestrian, guide us through, giving us bits and pieces of the maps we refuse to ask for, but desperately need at times. But as it so often happens, even the most helpful walker-by could get baffled and not know which direction you must take. What we travellers must understand now is to not get angry at that poor old passer by, but forgive him and move on.
Because you'll always find your way back home, no matter how lost you are.