I was there to hold her when her stomach ached — or when she bumped her head — or when she was tired — or when she just felt like having a good cry. I’ve prayed with her thousands of times and for her many more thousands of times. I held her stiff little body as her eyes rolled back in their sockets; I was there when her body grew supple and life-like again. I’m the one who has slaved and sacrificed so that she could have all those things. I know that parts of her that lie hidden when you’re dating will come out when you’ve been married for one year, or five, or fifteen. And I know what a dirty rotten scoundrel you are to start with. So keep your hands in the air and back slowly towards the door. I was there when she had allergic reactions and we had to rush to the store for Benadryl. (You — let me see if I remember — no, you weren’t there.)We were there as she got sick time and again in her first winter and in her second, there when the sore threat kept her from sleeping, there when the congestion made it hard for her to breathe. But after thousands upon thousands of hours of holding her, tending to her, comforting her, thousands upon thousands of hours feeding her, sheltering her, shielding her, thousands upon thousands of hours teaching her, challenging her, elevating her, don’t tell me — DON’T TELL ME — that I don’t deserve to have a say in one of the most important decisions in her life. Needless to say, and not unreasonably, they preferred the med student. It’s — and her parents, I thought, didn’t really have a say in the matter. I was there many times a night, night after night, week after week, month after month.I had a muddled conversation with my now-father-in-law in which I sincerely believed he understood that I was asking whether I could request his daughter’s hand in marriage. His answer – “It’s not like I would disown her” – was all I thought I could ask for, and I took it. I probably spent every night with her in the first year of her life.Trust me, mothers of sons can be just as psychotic as fathers of daughters, and to avoid that, I have come up with the following rules for dating my son: 1. I have already heard stories of girls who suddenly began cutting themselves, ran away from home, and have threatened to kill themselves. If your name is "Becky Jones", I don't want to see "Becky Berg" written all over your notebooks. Many will be worthy of your hand in marriage, but my son isn't going there until he has his degree(s) and has a good job. These rules are WAY more lenient than some other mothers who want the girl to carry a bible and wear a chastity belt.My son is a child, and no child should be tortured with thoughts of you harming yourself. My son is involved in school activities, and cannot be with you 24/7. I am a realist, and when my boys get older and find "the one", I want to have a great relationship with my daughters-in law. For a list of my other posts, please visit my Chicago Now page!At the time I was dating my wife, I was a white guy (still am, in fact) without a whole lot of earning potential. I was there when she drew her first breath, there when she made her first cry, there for her to hold my finger while they scrubbed her clean of the blood and the detritus of birth. I watched everything they did, watched over her every moment, and made sure she was safe and wanted for nothing.My now-wife was a Chinese-American (still is) with a promising future and another Chinese-American medical student waiting in the wings to be the man in her life and provide material comfort and security. I prayed for her, made sure she was still breathing, and dressed her. I was there for her when she was crying at night from milk allergy and colic and reflux.
My plan was to attend seminary and then a doctoral program (read: be thoroughly poor for a long time, in order then to be poor for an even longer time), and although I had studied a little Chinese and made a couple ventures to China, clearly I could not possess a deep understanding of Chinese culture. So I have prepared in advance (my elder daughter is now 4) this public letter to any young man who should ever wish to propose to a daughter of mine, which I think must also represent what my father-in-law was thinking but too kind to say: First of all, get your hands off her. You do not deserve to touch this girl in even the most innocent way imaginable, so please stop pretending you do. I was there to give her bottles and there to soothe her after the bottles.Clearly, with teenagers in the house, dating happens.There is quite a bit of focus on the girls in this area, but not so much on the boys. My boys are sensitive, and if they're dating you, the most certainly like you. Relationships should never be conditional, so don't start this BS with my boy. Don't plan on getting married or having children until my son is 30. Speaking from experience, you will meet a countless number of young men in your lifetime.I don't like psychos, and he won't either by the time I am done with him. A couple of my son's "friends that are girls" (Melissa & Rachel...thank you) have even sent me texts in the past, and I LOVE THAT! Therefore, school always comes before dates, phone conversations and even texting. We love including the girlfriends in our family functions, but we can't always do that. I have raised my son to be a gentleman, and therefore, have prepared him to date a lady. I take this rule seriously, mostly because I wait up for him and I'm ready to turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight. There will be no trysts during the school week or after 5 p.m. By the way, National Potato Day and similar culture specific celebrations do not count as special occasions. Therefore, if my son is enjoying spending the day with his brothers, we may not invite you. Oh, and when this happens, please refer to rule #2. Please refrain from using foul language, and dressing like you have a future in the sex industry.