Mr Marcel Lee Pereira clasps his two-year- old daughter’s tiny hands while she walks. Already, his heart aches at the thought of someone asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage one day.
“When we take her out for meals, she always gets young boys coming up to talk to her. It struck me that this is what it will be like when she’s a teenager. You feel like you’ll be losing her to other boys one day,” the 36-year- old IT communication consultant said.
“It scares me to think about it.”
While Natalie, who turns three in September, isn’t likely to get married any time soon, Marcel’s love for his daughter inspired the part-time singer-songwriter to pen an original song, titled ‘Daddy’s Here’ to commemorate Father’s Day.
The song describes Marcel’s anxieties of time passing and his deep affection for his firstborn. It is without a doubt, a sentiment that many fathers can attest to.
Over a folk-pop melody on the acoustic guitar, Marcel serenades, “You’re so beautiful, it scares me / Little boys, they make me wary.”
He wrote the song in 2016 and finished it in a day. He released the three-minute music video online this year, a week before Father’s Day, which falls on June 18.
“Fathers and daughters share a special bond,”
He said, “The song captures her in the age where she is now. It’s also about knowing one day you will see your daughter grow to a young woman and you will have to give her away.”
For now, it is clear that Marcel is the only man in young Natalie’s life.
Natalie, who will turn three in September, enjoys playtime at home with her father.
At home, she clings to her father and bursts into spontaneous screams and squeals, while her mother, Carol, tries to get her attention with her favourite TV show.
When Marcel plays the song on the computer, Natalie runs to the front of the screen and insists on watching the video, even though she has seen it many times before.
“She knows what’s happening and understands what this is for,” Marcel said.
As the song ends, she smiles and looks at her father before erupting into applause.
Reflecting on the past three years as a father, Marcel said that fatherhood has changed his life in profound ways.
For one, his partying ways during his younger days are far behind him now. These days, tea parties, masak-masak (make-believe cooking) and peek-a- boos with his daughter are more his cup of tea.
“There’s no such thing as a nightlife now. We hardly go to the cinema or out for drinks anymore. But that’s OK. It’s a different stage of my life now, and I’m enjoying it too – to watch her grow, to hear her talk and laugh and to know that there is a little bit of me and my wife in her,” he said.
In fact, the joy of fatherhood has been so positive for Marcel that he wants to share the experience of fatherhood with others.
He roped in the help of 15 other fathers and their daughters to be a part of the music video, which was shot at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and West Coast Park.
Marcel said, “The father is the figure that adds authority and stability. But it’s a role that is understated.”
“As compared to Mother’s Day, which is often a bigger celebration, nobody really does much for Father’s Day. But I hope that changes. Dads should be given more recognition.”
His wife agrees. She sees the close bond daughter and father share, and how Natalie’s arrival has reshaped Marcel’s world.
“Daddy is the superhero in her life, and she adores her father,” says Carol, 35. “Marcel knows how to have more fun with her, like playing soccer in the house with her.”
“Now that he’s a father, Natalie is a consideration in many decisions he makes. And that special spot a daughter has in his heart, it’s easy to see that through his eyes when we talk about Natalie.”
And it seems the closeness of this father-daughter pair may have influenced Natalie’s interests as well. Marcel says, “I think she’s more into dancing and sports. She likes rhythm and fiddles with the piano at home. But whether she becomes a singer or goes into music, I won’t force her.”