I’m a Barbie Girl in My Daddy’s World

The very first toy I remember getting from my dad was a Barbie doll with brown hair and blue eyes.  It came with a set of four beautiful gowns and matching shoes.  I remember feeling so lucky and proud that I had my very own Barbie doll and immediately wanted to brag to my friends.  They were all so amazed and in awe because after all, how could my dad get me such a beautiful doll?  We weren’t rich and my parents were young when they had me, so everybody would think our lives would never go anywhere. And yet here we are: my parents still together and striving to give us the best we could have.

Keith Carandang w Dad

There’s a part in me that wants to show those people who doubted us how good our lives have become and how strong our family has grown, but my dad raised me to work hard not to be better than anyone else, but to be the best version of myself as I can be.

Keith Carandang w: dad 2

Growing up, I never thought our family was unconventional and I never saw anything wrong with how we lived. I had a happy childhood filled with love from all the people who helped my parents take care of me and not once did I feel neglected. Now, I’m aware that according to social norms, my parents did it the “wrong” way – that they should’ve gotten married first, or that some would’ve called me a mistake.

So, let me tell you something about my dad. He wasn’t a straight-A student/goody-two-shoes; and before they had me, nobody believed in him. I guess when he had a kid, everybody else only judged him even more. Despite all that, my parents always stuck it in my head that I was a blessing, not a mistake. My dad called me his motivation to get his life together, and I saw how much he meant that by the fact that he always had time to play with me even when he had to work.

Keith Carandang w: dad 3

Through the years, I kept finding out more about how much he had given me. I found out that his first ever salary went to my 3rd birthday party, that he used to skip lunches to afford to take me out for dinner or buy me more Barbie dolls. In reality, he didn’t have to do any of those things. He could’ve still fulfilled his duties as a father and provide me with my basic needs without having to sacrifice so much. He didn’t need to, but I guess I’ve always known that I was blessed with the extra-mile kind of dad. Even now, he spoils me, my siblings, and my mom! Every time he needs to buy something, we have to force him first because he’d rather the money go to us than him.  He’s selfless, he’s thoughtful, and he’s the best dad we could ever have.

keith carandang w dad 4

I’m almost an adult now, but I still consider myself my daddy’s little Barbie girl (sorry mommy – I love you, too) and I probably will be forever. He used to ask me, “Kahit malaki ka na, baby pa din kita ha?” (“Even when you’re all grown up, you’d still be my baby okay?”). I always whine about my dad’s cheesiness, but I know I can always rely on my dad to be my overprotective bodyguard, my goofy clown, my ever reliant driver, my teacher, and best of all, my loving father.

I appreciate every little thing you do, daddy, even the silly things when you call home even when you’re just at the office to ask what we had for lunch.  I probably don’t say this enough, but I love you!

Tell us about your amazing dads and tag us in the comments!