“Any man can be a father, but not every man can be a dad”
Male penguins, apart from having one life partner, sit on the egg till it hatches.
Lions laze in the sun whilst their companions go hunting. They also kill off their male offspring if they can get past the ever-watchful mothers. I guess to reduce the competition, the odds of being run out of the pride when they grow old.
Other animal species are known to mate with their sisters, aunties, nieces, mothers in a disgustingly incestuous cycle that scientists choose to call in- breeding.
And then there are HUMANS.. and infanticide, incest and monogamy come into play!
but that’s not my story!
FATHERHOOD is a full time job! Through the ante and post natals, the terrible twos and threes, till the toddler gets through school, teenage with its pre-pubescent and adolescent needs, to college and the world there after. Funny thing is he remains The Father! To the groom or to the bride, in-law until the birth of grand children.. A grandfather he becomes, thanks to his small donation in the throes of passion, hopefully… Or in sinister circumstances (i won’t even go there! ) that go beyond duty, continuation of a lineage!
The man you fondly call dad, Papa, Pa, Daddy, Taata or Baba. FATHER! Is he the man that pummels his wife on a daily, pregnant or not? The sperm-donor that flees the village for safety or fear? Is he that coward that won’t pay the cultural price nor admit that the child is his? Tis not the absentee labourer in the big city, sending peanuts home or not at all? The village drunk? Chief? Village terror? That mothers, children and neighbours alike have a wide berth in case he lost his cool? That relegated you to the other rooms by his presence in one? The “uncle” that comes at holidays like clockwork with gifts and clothes and meat? The man to whom you take your academic report so he may be obliged to “suponsa” you for another term? That silhouette in your dreams, a knightly figment of your imagination? That black and white photo you hold so dear? Or is he the very opposite? The provider, anchor, refuge… Dictionary, encyclopedia, towering figure… The one you report your mother and siblings to, the guy you boast about to your friends till you’re his height and he no longer seems indomitable!
Every one has different views of their father. Some good, some too good… Some ugly, horrible or just plain not like others… Unique!
Here’s to the men that have raised us… To whom we owe our existence; a little grooming, a contribution, food or fees… Advice or a swing of the stick.. Headmasters, teachers, strangers at the bus stop… Some not all… The adult men that treated us as equals whilst we were young, sat us on their laps and listened to us dream.. Those that didn’t take advantage of our trust, our youth, our naivety or blindness Here’s to those we owe character or physical features, that we love to hate, idolise or villify.. To they that made us who we are… Present or long gone.to those that stepped in, and loved and cared for their new families as their own. (some never).
And in silence to those that didn’t see this journey through.. That got caught up to glory whilst we were saplings, green and young… Before we could ask them questions on how to stand alone, on parenting on life! We miss you! To those that had to become mothers too. [Moment of silence, pour out libations, let not their memory be in vain.]
To the fathers whose sons and daughters we admire, cherish and adore day by day.. Fine ladies, wives, children, mothers,friends, companions, husbands…even those to-be… Thank you.
But especially to you Daddy! She’s daddy’s girl, your girl and she sure turned out fine.. Would have loved to meet you, and drink from your fountain of knowledge . To sit at your feet and partake of your wisdom.. I know you probably know, that she’s taken after you.. she loves you still and misses you more. She speaks of you fondly and holds your memory well. You would be proud, I am.
Your daughter is because you are… And the world and I, are all the better because you gave!
To the fathers, uncles, grandfathers.. To men of honour in my life, whose chiding and advice guided and still guides. I hope it makes me a better man.
To you Taata, tis all love! In tears, I could say it all…for the things we can not say, we feel! .Our dealings are a story on their own, bitter-sweet but worth it. . Here the outpouring of a grateful heart, I couldn’t possibly put it in more meaningful words- from every ounce of me, from the bottom of my heart… I love you!
Sun Jun 17, 2012