Friday, July 18, 2014

A Father in High Heels

A German poet once said, “Becoming a father is easy enough, but being one can be very rough.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

During my first year as a father, I sometimes asked myself if I am really ready for this next level in my life--- changing baby diapers, waking up during wee hours to prepare milk, making up silly tunes and other never-before-done things just to please my son.  But I always end up saying yes especially when my child smiles at me as if he’s saying, “Thank you, Dad.”

Now, I discovered my new weakness.  I think I won’t ever resist my son smiling at me that I’ll do everything and give anything he wants for as long as he’s happy.

I was just a college freshman when I saw Robin William’s movie about a father who would do anything just to be with his kids.  Doing anything would mean disguising himself as an old lady to apply as a housekeeper to his ex-wife and three children.  With this simple premise, Mrs. Doubtfire became a box-office hit and was included in the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest movies of the 20th century. Last week, I was able to see the movie again over cable TV.

The movie is very funny but heart-warming in so many ways.  The story evolves in the life of Daniel Hillard (Williams), an out-of-work voice actor.  His wife Miranda, played by the versatile actress Sally Field, has reached the end of her patience and decided to leave his irresponsible husband.  Since Daniel has no steady job, Miranda was forced to be the main breadwinner of the family.   Miranda gets primary custody of their three children while the court granted Daniel visitation rights limited to Saturday evenings because they find him unfit to be a father (which I think is one of the greatest insults one can hurl to any man)

When Daniel founds out that Miranda was looking for a housekeeper, he moved heaven and earth just to get the job.  With the help of his brother who is a professional make-up artist, Daniel was transformed into the 60-year old widow from England Mrs. Doubtfire who got the name from the news headline "Police Doubt Fire Was Accidental". 

The moment Mrs. Doubtfire set foot to the house of Miranda and the kids, it was the beginning of mischievous adventures of the family.  One memorable scene was the time Mrs. Doubtfire accidentally ignited his fake breasts on a stove while cooking dinner.  I know in real life it might be a scary sight but it was a riot in this film.   

To add a little more spice to Mrs. Doubtfire’s dilemma, Miranda introduces her new boyfriend (Pierce Brosnan) to the family.  At this stage, Daniel would not only fight for quality time for his children but also for the right to be the person to whom the kids will look up to.  

In the end, Mrs. Doubtfire’s true identity was discovered.  This would lead to the tear-jearker court scenes where Daniel acts as his own attorney as he confessed why he disguised as Mrs. Doubtfire.  The judge, although feeling sympathy for Daniel, finds his behavior somewhat disturbing and awarded sole custody of their children to Miranda.  Daniel's visitation rights were also further restricted as the judge only allows him to see his kids with supervision from a court liaison.  Williams is one great comedian but in this movie, he proves to everyone that he can also make us cry.  You can feel his pain as a father trapped in his worst nightmare in this sequence in the film.

But as they say, time heals all wounds.  Miranda forgave Daniel of all his wrongdoings and decided to give him what a father longs and truly deserve--- the warm hugs and kisses of his children.  The film concludes with Daniel picking up his kids while Miranda is watching a TV show featuring advices to children of divorced parents, saying that no matter what type of family living arrangement children have, love will maintain the bond.

I just fell blessed that I have a loving wife and a adorable child in my life now that I vowed not to be in the situation that I’ll be forced to wear high heels just to see my son.  Let all fathers learn from Mrs. Doubtfire. 

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