The evening you arrived, I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe I had just become a father, a dad. That night as uncle Tunde hugged me Congratulations, the emotions welled up and the tears rolled. Aunty Temi could only smile.
The tears came because I knew there was going to be a paradigm shift in the way I lived and in how I conducted myself. I knew my life would never be the same again. Because even if one knew and planned to be a father, one can never be fully ready for fatherhood. Googling 10 steps or 16 ways to be a great dad would never be sufficient.
The tears came because I was afraid. Afraid I would fail. Afraid you would not find in me a role model. Afraid I would fail God. Afraid I would not be able to provide.
And when the doctor gave you to me and I held you in my arms, your beauty was incomparable. I didn’t know someone so angelic could come out of my loins. The tears came because I was undeserving.
And today, you turn Five. Wow! How time flies!
In these five years, a whole lot happened. We’ve had our share of ups and downs. We’ve travelled together, visited choice places of fun. We’ve danced together, morning and night. We’ve prayed and seen answers. We’ve taken walks, driven round town for nothing sake. We’ve had singing sessions, composed our own songs. We’ve had karaoke sessions in the car with Kirk Franklin and Sinach. We’ve read the bible together and discussed the instructions from the scriptures. And we’ve watched tennis together rooting for Roger Federer whether he won or lost.
We’ve fought too. You’ve been upset with me for demands you made and I refused to grant and school homework you had and I insisted you fixed by yourself. We’ve had conversations that were way beyond your ken and I could tell you probably thought I was crazy because you couldn’t figure what jargons I conjured together. We’ve fought over what party to go for and what dress not to wear out. You’ve received uncomfortable answers to honest questions you asked. I’ve snapped at you, shouted at you, scolded you and punished you.
But in all, I have loved you. And through all you’ve grown.
If your mum and I pushed too hard, we are sorry. If we drove too fast, we apologize. If we expected too much or rushed you, ma binu. We admit we’d never been parents before you came. And on some occasions we were uncertain about our decisions, it was just a crazy hunch. There were days your mum and I had issues and we took it out on you. And there were days I barked, not because of anything you did but because I was just broke. So while we would like to boast about how well we are doing in the parenting department, we probably should thank you for being a good trainer and for making great parents out of us.
I don’t know for how long I’m going to be here, hopefully a long while more, so let me quickly share a few words with you.
- I want you to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful just the way you are, so be comfortable in your own skin.
- I want you to know that God put you here for a reason and you are a big deal in His scheme of things. Your uniqueness is unrivaled and your potentials are immense.
- I want you to know that your place in our hearts is incontestable and your worth in the home is indisputable.
- I want you to finish school and get the degree/degrees. Pursue your dreams and let nothing stop you. You can be whatever you choose to be. Make lots of money, yes, lots of it. Always remember it’s never too late and you are never too late to start.
- I want you to know that regardless of the challenges, there is absolutely no excuse for failure and that you are made of sterner stuff.
- I want you to know that writing is fun. Keep a journal, write. It doesn’t have to make sense, just write. You can’t edit an empty page, just write.
- I want you to know that God cares for you more than we do, talk to Him always like we taught you how to.
- I want you to be gentle with yourself. If you got 8 out of 10 questions, rather than focus so much on the two you missed, celebrate the eight you got. Come on, you got 8! Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake, you can learn from it but don’t allow it drain you of mojo. Focus on your strengths and celebrate your achievements.
- I want you to know that it’s okay to indulge yourself once in a while. Play. Take a break. Travel. Dance. And spoil yourself a little, if we are not meant to have midnight snacks, they wouldn’t put a light in the fridge. Relax, it’s not that serious.
- I want you to know that marriage does not stifle your dreams and purpose, and motherhood is not synonymous to mediocrity.
- I want you to know that it’s average to try to fit in. If you do, you will fade. Be confident in the God you carry and His foretelling over you. Don’t be afraid to stand out.
- I want you to know that giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tyres because you had a flat. Push harder, stay longer.
- I want you to know that a time will come when boys will buzz around you like bees, it’s inevitable (If I wasn’t one of those that buzzed around your mum, you wouldn’t be here.) I am hoping you will talk to me when they do. I can only hope, a father can’t help it. My hair may be grey, my strength may be diminutive, I may even seem ‘old school’ but what an elder sees sitting down, a child would not see even if she climbs a tree. So, princess, please talk to daddy. Oh well, and mummy too.
Thinking about it again, talk to your mum. She should tell you how she went through heartbreaks, survived broken promises and was able to choose me out of a myriad of men that sought her hand in marriage. Anyhow, still talk to me too.
- I want you to know that we have not done a fantastic job of handing a safer, saner, better generation to you. Sexual assault is ever more on the rise. Emotional abuse and domestic violence is at an all-time high. Homosexuality continues to gain popularity and transgender activists are now more outspoken. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord must turn away from iniquity.”
Regardless of who you follow on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, God remains the Ultimate. Follow Him and serve Him and you will never be confused.
- I want you to know that your mum and I love you so much and nothing you do now, will do later will change it.
Above all and more importantly, I hope I model to you, through the friendship your mum and I share, a beautiful and desirable marriage. I sincerely pray I show you, in how I love and treat your mum, how a man should treat and respect you.
You may read this now and not understand. But I’m sure when you come here 10 or 20 years later it definitely would make sense to you.
Once again, we are so proud of you and who you are growing to become. It’s exciting watching you grow. ‘Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.’
Happy birthday, Princess.
No matter how old you become, you will always be my baby.