Last Aug. 3, Friday, a young couple, Nicole Tantoco and Miko de los Reyes, were wed in Nuvali, Laguna. Among the movers of their generation whose life journey lies before them, Nicole is the daughter of Donnie and Crickette Tantoco, Miko the son of Timmy and Pinky de los Reyes.
With his permission, we’re running the speech given by the bride’s father, Donnie, because it resonates with so many fathers of the bride, who dread the day they walk—and “give away”—their daughter down the aisle, but in the same breath, who rejoice, beyond words, over their daughter’s happiness and over the new life’s adventure the couple are embarking on.
A busy businessman (Rustan’s president), Donnie, in this heart-melting moment, speaks for every man out there—as the father of the bride. —Editor
In your presence, I now wish to deliver a message to Miko.
Miko, I know that you know Nicole very, very well; and that Nicole is an independent woman who is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. However, every strong woman still needs a man.
I tried to be that man for her for 29 years, and now I am turning her over to you. So if you don’t mind, as the primary protector of her past, I would like to give you, the protector of her future, some advice and pointers.
Nicole’s beauty comes from her complexity. But don’t worry, I summarized it in just three points.
The first thing you need to understand about Nicole is her concept of time. And in a nutshell, it would not be wrong to conclude that she has absolutely no concept of time. I am sure you have had your own experiences of her being late, completely forgetting an appointment, or starting to get ready five minutes before you have to leave for a dinner or party.
My own funniest most recent experience was when we were alone in London together. She started packing 10 minutes before we had to leave the hotel to ride a taxi to go to the airport. Of course, it was a total disaster wherein she was just dumping things into any suitcase.
I offered to help her when I saw her put the left part of one shoe in one suitcase and the right part in another without wrapping it in a shoe bag. But she told me in a strong and very assertive tone, “I can handle this, Dad!” and then she added, with the very stern facial expression that she got from her mom, “Can you please leave the room? Maybe you can go down and pay the bill.”
That’s exactly what I did.
When she finally showed up in the lobby, I noticed that she had no shoes! I said, what happened to your shoes? She said while smiling, “I accidentally packed it. I also packed my coat, so can I just wear yours?”
After I gave her my coat while wondering how I was going to withstand the cold outside, she said, “It’s okay, Dad, I don’t need my shoes; I am just going to wear these hotel slippers during the whole flight.”
Anyway, she wore those bathroom slippers all the way from London to Manila via Istanbul. The worst part was when we had to pass security.
Her hand-carry had so many security violations; it took us 2.5 hours to get through security. And we were in the fast-track lane.
I realized that you don’t have to scold Nicole. It will be counterproductive because it will just add to the scolding she is already doing internally to herself. The right thing to do is just be quiet, and as if nothing wrong or weird is going on. Patience is really needed, but it also pays off with Nicole.
However, it’s not fair to say she has no concept of time because she actually does! It’s just that her concept of time is so different from most people, and this is what makes her special and such a joy to be with.
For me time is scarce; time is limited. Time has to be managed and monitored. Once time is lost, it can never be recovered. And maybe that’s why I am so anxious all the time. My concept of time makes me miss a lot of things including living in the present moment.
Nicole, on the other hand, has a beautiful concept of time. For her, time is abundant. It’s unlimited. The point of life and time is not just to rush and get things done. Time and life are to be savored and cherished.
When I am with Nicole, I give up my concept of time and I adapt completely to hers. And when I do, I feel so joyful, and my conversations with Nicole become so enriching, so light yet so deep, so enlightening. Nicole is at her best and her most remarkable when you adjust to her frequency.
Miko, the second thing to understand about Nicole is how she plans. Harsh as this sounds, in our family Nicole is the last person we would entrust to do any planning. She’s just not a very task- and logistics-oriented person. (And don’t even think about talking to her about accounting.)
She is the most intelligent person in our family; however, we would never take the risk of delegating something as simple as a dinner for 10 guests to her.
Once again, I’d like to say that ironically, she is an amazing planner when you give her time, freedom, space to tap into her amazing imagination. She is one of the few people I know who not only has great intellect but also great imagination.
Some of the best and most memorable days of my life were the days that she curated with me and for me. It was a different and fascinating experience.
I remember a day she recently crafted wherein we ate delicious Scandinavian meal, watched “Hamilton,” and then spent the early evening in a wonderful restaurant and dance club called The Ned.
It won’t be organized and there will be new mishaps along the way, but it will be an experience of new discoveries. Give her that space, don’t interrupt those awkward silences where she actually gives you that expression of being confused—she’s not confused. That’s the look she gives when her imagination is working.
The final thing I want to say about her, is that as strong as she is, she needs to be protected, however, without her feeling that she is being protected. You need to protect her but not tell her that it’s what you are doing.
Recently, after visiting and researching an amazing department store together, we walked out into a street where unexpectedly, snowflakes were falling from the sky. It was amazing even to me! So amazing and surprisingly beautiful that Nicole went into some kind of trance.
In an almost singing voice that sounded like that of a child, she shouted, “Dad, look around us! It’s snowing! It’s so beautiful.” And then she started skipping around and dancing right into the path of all these cars and buses rushing around the street.
My first instinct was to pull her back, but that would have snapped her out of her reverie. I did not want to interrupt that experience for Nicole, while she looked so joyful in a childlike way. So to protect her, rather than get her off the road, I decided to get on the road and protect her from the buses.
That’s the way Nicole is—her body follows her mind, and her mind takes her everywhere except right here on the ground, on terra firma. So my advice is to protect her, but without her knowing it.
Anyway, Miko, this is the hardest thing Crickette and I have ever had to do—which is essentially letting go. I encourage you to trust her completely. I promise you, when you give her that trust freely and almost blindly, you end up trusting her even more, because she will love you more than you love yourself. Thank you, Miko.
Nicole, I am really happy for you. I am really, really proud of you. Grateful for you. Your mom and I have no doubt you will be a good wife, an amazing mother, and you will be one of the best creative directors the retail world has ever seen.
But alongside this pride, love and gratitude, we also feel intense pain. You occupy such a huge part of our life and our heart. Letting go—it’s hard. But we also know that this pain is temporary.
I will miss seeing you every day, Nikki-doo. I will miss knocking on your door 10 times a night because I just want to get yet one more good night hug from you. I will miss watching you walk toward me at the breakfast table, barely awake, miss the fashion tutorials you give me from Vogue Magazine on a lazy Saturday afternoon, or hear you summarize Leo Tolstoy in a way that I can say I finally understand what that book was all about.
You have no idea how much you have enlightened and enriched our life. You are a blessing to us; you will always be a blessing to us. Anyway, as you forge ahead with Miko, any time you need us, all you have to do is look over your shoulder, and there you will find your mom and me.
Lastly, I would like to talk to my wife, Crickette.
Crix, I love our children. I want the best for them. We strive to give them the best of everything. The one thing I cannot give that can only come from God, is to give them the best mother.
I thank God every day that you are the mother of our children. Whatever I see that I admire in them came from you. We protected them, but you taught them how to protect themselves. You kept their lives stable throughout all the instability that I sometimes cause because of the way I work and chase dreams.
When Nicole and Camille were born, and we were just 22 years old, I asked you, “Crix, are we ready to be parents? How should we raise them?” You responded so simply, so confidently and wisely: “We raise them to be true to themselves.”
Nicole, Camille and Christian are actualizing themselves, reaching their potential; they are tough warriors with good hearts because of you.
I would now like to propose a toast to the bride and groom:
May all your beautiful dreams come true! And may God bless you infinitely and abundantly! —CONTRIBUTED