One of my proudest moments is when I am called the “father of Tricia Gosingtian”. That she is my daughter, still comes as a surprise for many people since we have different surnames (read till the end to find out how this came about). And it is always fun for me when people do get the connection.
Yes, I am the proud father of the blogger @tgosingtian – the blogger-bride-to-be.
Tricia is getting married next year. Her blog announcement of her engagement in www.triciagosingtian.com went viral as many of her followers have become emotionally invested in her blog and social media life, having been witnesses to her transition and transformation from photographer via deviant art during her college days to the pioneer fashion and lifestyle blogger she is today.
As my only daughter, you can imagine my own emotional journey in each milestone she hurdled or each challenge she had to face in her very public sphere, wishing I could always be there to protect her, at the same time knowing she has to face these trials by herself so she learns and grows.
Can I just remember how I would “dance” with her daily when she was still a few months old? Or how I sometimes call her Patrick or 3C after the 3Cs of marketing (customers, competitors, and company) and dedicated one of my books to her? Well, she knows by now that’s how her father expresses his emotions… always in check, always in a roundabout way.
That she has always been very independent-minded and focused is something even my wife Chiqui would admit our daughter got from me. We are different and yet alike in so many ways.
I myself like to be pioneering and always had that competitive mindset. Maybe the environment we had at home enabled Tricia to be as focused and intense though I imagine that the creative in her would have done things not so much to be first but more to be able to express her art in her own unique way. She pioneered in blogging when it was not even popular – again more as a creative outlet, evolving through the years in the most natural way that she had been first in many fields (being the first fashion blogger of her age segment to become an author, to be recognized and awarded, to be given projects abroad, among many other firsts.).
I have always been proud of her many firsts.
And as the first to be wed in the family, well , that is a different dimension all together… and my emotions have been swinging from opposite ends of the spectrum.
I had something to do with Tricia meeting her fiancé, Ron Gabriel Gabunada or Rg. I was co-founder (with Ding Salvador) of the annual Markprof seven-Saturday marketing bootcamp and Rg qualified for 1 of 25 slots among close to a thousand applicants. Tricia and Rg met during one of Markprof’s graduation where I invited Tricia to take photos.
I knew Rg when he was a student leader in Ateneo. I always saw him as amiable, level-headed, intelligent, tall and according to my late dad, a very decent-looking guy. He really is all that, except for the time I refused to see him in a good light when he initially asked to meet me about Tricia five years ago to let Chiqui and I know of his intention to court Tricia, and I did not want to answer nor grant the meeting even after many requests.
I had a feeling he had completely won over Tricia to his side. I viewed him as competition then.
But he persisted and passed the first test, signaling he was a goal-oriented guy. My wife Chiqui and Tricia had to convince me to meet him as he was already waiting in our living room one day.
You see, quality time is one of my dominant love languages – as the workaholic in me is in constant search of anti-guilt pills for not spending enough time with family (specially my eldest twins when they were growing up) and friends.
I have in fact talked my way and convinced Tricia to make me her business manager and adviser of her blog since 2011. She agreed so long as she has the final say and I was to have no editorial influence. That was the easy part!
I wanted to help professionalize the blogging industry to protect her and eventually others from the one-way gift certificate mentality then, almost the same predicament we had in the training industry when we pioneered Mansmith and Fielders Inc 26 years ago.
Unmindful of any financial gain, my main motivation was actually to be able to interact with Tricia more, to be part of her life in a way that can help her grow.
In June 2015, I even readily agreed to be styled by Tricia and pose for Hugo Boss. Anything for Tricia. When asked how much would I charge, I joked I should be the one to pay them for my first big break as a model, after all, it is an international brand. I jogged daily and lost a bit of weight for the few weeks’ notice. It’s not easy to model after several takes when dealing with a high standard photographer who happened to also be Tricia.
Of course, each time she went out with Rg, I would check if Tricia had gotten home each night. (Chiqui would be sleeping blissfully, she trusted Rg.)
And yes, to be fair, Rg has always been kind, respectful and responsible and I can see he was good for her.
I can also sense how they would try to make me feel comfortable with Rg joining us for our weekly family dinner instead of Tricia missing our weekly bonding, at least most of the time. I began to like him and got used to his presence. He wasn’t a competitor, I started convincing myself.
Tricia is happy so I should be happy but truth be told – I had mixed emotions in my first month or so.
I fully cooperated and even supervised the lights when Rg informed that he was going to propose to her midnight of Jan 26, 2016 in our porch and I could not sleep half curious how it would go since the ceiling light in the porch got busted and I was hoping the cameraman would have extra lights. (I still wish I could have made the night perfect but the ceiling light was two-storey high.)
The other half of me was wondering why a man would propose to a baby as I had a flashback of me dancing with Tricia as a baby. I had cognitive distortion for a few seconds.
I felt my emotions changing right after. The marketer in me kept asking why I have new feelings until I understood myself.
I can feel I have started to protect myself and my emotions were preparing me for the time when she gets married and moves out of our house.
Even writing this article is making me very emotional.
I have been extra sensitive these days. My anthropologist wife read through me and understood me immediately and she had to explain to my other children and to Tricia and even to me – what was happening to me.
I recalled scenes from different wedding parties I attended in the past where parents of newlyweds talked about not losing but gaining someone in the family. I am starting to really comprehend what it meant as being a mere guest in a party incapable of feeling the real feelings of parents then.
I asked myself – are my feelings because I only have one daughter or does it happen to all fathers of brides?
I told Tricia she has a free hand planning their wedding but time and again would give a couple of suggestions. I just couldn’t be a spectator!
Deep inside the suggestion I wanted to tell her is to live in my house after her wedding so my ‘baby’ can spend a bit more time with us but I know that is unreasonable and selfish, after all, today (Nov. 24), she turns 28 and is really no longer a baby.
I am also learning to prepare and adjust my demands for quality time. You see, my family loves to take vacation trips, and the one where Chiqui, Tricia and I spent half of December 2015 in Germany and Austria last year was a great bonding time. Someone unexpectedly tried to steal an envelope in her handbag while inside the Cologne Cathedral and Tricia confronted the person assertively with me by her side. I witnessed that part of her for the first time and at that moment, I knew she will be able to take care of herself wherever she goes, whatever she does.
Tricia also treated Chiqui and myself at Sheridan Resort in Palawan last May 2016 and it gave us a lot of quality time as well – as if preparing us for the eventuality that we won’t be able to do all these things as readily as we used to.
But… as Chiqui always says – daughters will always be daughters – and daughters always come home.
I guess I am comforted by the fact that my own mother lives with me now, so there is some cycle in life of goings and comings.
My mom, whom I have breakfast with almost daily when I am in town, was delighted when Rg personally updated her of their wedding plans and told her she can invite whoever she wanted to their wedding. Mom wanted to ensure her siblings will be invited knowing the couple’s preference for a small intimate wedding. I later learned that Rg and Tricia downgraded their own wedding room in order to accommodate a room for my wheelchair bound mother. I only knew this when my mom told me she decided to come home with my sister and niece from Australia after the wedding party.
Rg told me the wedding will be according to what Tricia wants and I am glad he has fantastic attitude and great wisdom. He even showed me the ring that was custom made by his jeweler-friend and I told him the wedding ring is not as important to me as their relationship.
Rg has been sharing with me how well he has been doing – his promotion as a full-pledged manager in a multinational company in January 2016, his being part of an international training program, his enjoyment of planning marketing campaigns, his thriving new laundry business which got double capacity upgrade and is now expanding. He is both a marketer and an entrepreneur, just like me, and the principle of familiarity that persuades faster is what I decoded as a possible case study in my seminar.
In various graduation exercises where I had been invited to address new college graduates (De La Salle, Lyceum, FEU), I always emphasize that one of the most important decisions young people will make is who they will marry. I remember when I was taking my M.A. in Religious Studies, my professor Father Arsi Lumiqued required me to do a book review on ‘The Road Less Travelled’ (by Scott Peck) when I embarrassingly could not answer his question convincingly on ‘What is Love?’ And I learned that level 3 love, the highest and most genuine of love, is when you bring another to a higher spiritual level. I know RG loves Tricia and Tricia loves RG – and together, I have seen them grow.
I got out of my emotional state one night when I was watching wrestling on TV. (Yes, Chiqui has learned to sleep to the sound of wrestling every night for the past 30 plus years of our marriage.) I realized about how Tricia and Rg are blessings to us and how God has been faithful and blessed me and my family indeed.
All that is in my heart now is gratitude :
– Gratitude to God for blessing me with a good life even if I sometimes feel undeserving of His grace.
– Gratitude for giving me an amazing wife Chiqui as partner and 4 wonderful children (Chase, Juju, Tricia and Calel).
– Gratitude for giving me my only daughter Tricia.
– Gratitude that Tricia has been a good and responsible daughter.
– Gratitude for allowing me to learn about the blogging industry and become a blogger myself in 2014.
– Gratitude that my blogging led Inquirer and Entrepreneur magazine to invite me to cross post.
– Gratitude to Ding Salvador for inviting me to be co-founder of MarkProf Marketing Bootcamp.
– Gratitude to God for sending Rg to Markprof, without it, the two would not have met.
– Gratitude for Rg who loves and takes good care of Tricia.
– Gratitude that Rg does not smoke nor drink and thinks only of Tricia, marketing, entrepreneurship and sometimes, Mister Duterte.
When I walk with Tricia on her wedding day, I am ready to give her away to Rg with a heart full of gratitude. I have come to the conclusion that Rg was never my competition, that Tricia was never mine alone, and that a father’s role is to provide love and a safe and nurturing environment, then turn his daughter over to the man she has chosen to spend the rest and the most important part of her life with. This is my new realization these last few months… my new truth.
I will share with Tricia the same words my father shared with me ‘I will leave your future up to the Lord’.
God bless you Tricia. God bless you Rg. Soon, it will be #RgandTriciaWillGoPlaces. (…and hopefully little ones going places with lolo.)
P.S. If you are still wondering why my surname is Go and Tricia (and her siblings and cousins) is a Gosingtian, the source is Charles Go Sing Tian, my late father’s name.