I wrote this in 2012 and it was published on Zebbook.com .
Reposting here today as it’s another day to celebrate the birth of my father .
Happy birthday Daddy Mi. We all love you so very much.
Daddy mi, happy birthday! I wrote this yesterday in snatches whenever I could get a free minute at work, I love you so much dad and it occurred to me that I should be super grateful to God that you are alive to witness today, I am happy and I give glory to God. I sat there thinking about you and I decided to write this letter to you, I need to share some memories with you, very few of the many wonderful reasons why I love you so much..
My earliest memory of you was of this very tall man who would carry me on his shoulders everywhere we went. I remember I never had to walk on the streets except if you were not around. There is this memory of walking home from my maternal grandmother’s place riding on your shoulders that is forever imprinted in my mind.
I suffered from cold and catarrh a lot during my early childhood but despite this I had a constant craving for all things cold especially what people call Ice cream or Lolly in those days. I would consume loads of this at school and you will have to stay up during the night giving me regular doses of cough syrup and in some cases palm oil mixed with Sugar and salt. Those days I slept on your chest every night and on days that you traveled, I wouldn’t sleep until Mum covers me with your agbada.
Dad, I miss those days when while you are asleep, I would seat beside you combing your full hair and playing with your feet. I would seat there watching your chest; for the rise and fall of your heartbeat, afraid it could stop. My meal was never over until you passed your left over to me, and on days when I refuse to eat probably because I got angry at something, you would beg and cajole me to eat which always irritated my mum. Daddy I was just your little girl through and through, there was always a smile, a hug and those pats on the back that still mean a lot to me. There was and is always something there in your eyes anytime you look in our eyes; pride, love and joy. You never stop telling us how much you are proud of us.
Do you remember the day a boy in our street kicked me? You might not remember but I do. We were living in Irojo then and I had gone on an errand for Mum; the boys had been playing football or something, I expected them to stop so I could pass, so I went on without a care in the world believing they would have the decency to pause for the few seconds I needed to pass, but there was this boy there, a teenager who kicked me suddenly and without provocation, I fell and bruised my Knee. Dad I ran home and told you what happened, you followed me immediately and we went to the boy’s house, we met his mother, you told his mum that no one bullies your daughter. You told her you were going to arrest the boy for molesting me. I remember the boy’s mother begging you, nobody sees you and not respect you dad, not with your impressive height and those eyes that can turn blazing red in anger. The woman cut a small tree branch and gave me to use in beating the boy. You didn’t want me to do that but the woman used it on him herself. I felt on top of the world that day, After God, you were and you still are my hero and my protector from bullies.
Dad you taught me to believe in myself and that there was nothing I couldn’t do, I remember when I was reading the complete works of Shakespeare and the Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury tales and everyone that saw me with those books felt they were too much for a seven year old, you told me to keep reading that even if I didn’t understand, the pieces will all come together later. They certainly did.
How can I ever forget the joy of having unrestricted access to your great collection of books, My holidays were never boring with all the best books in the world at my disposal, I could read and re-read to my heart’s content. Dad, those books went a long way in shaping who I am today, you helped me nurture my love for books, for that I am forever grateful. How could I forget those days when I would read novels till 1.00 am in the morning and you would come to the sitting room, begging me to go to bed. You were also always worried that my tendency to read anywhere and at anytime no matter how bad the lighting was could affect my eye sight, yet you would never stop me, you would only look for more suitable lighting for me.
On the few occasions you raised your hand to beat me, you would hug me afterwards saying ”ti a bi fi owo otun ba omo wi, a tu fi ti osi fa mo ara”. You would sit me on your lap and tell me you were sorry, you would say you beat me because you had to. Dad that hug and the words took all the sting of the beating away, it told me you were not beating me to cause me pain, it told me you were only correcting me because you love me. Dad I was and I am still proud of you for all the love you showed us.
I cherish the memory of those days when you come to visit me in boarding school which was almost every week despite the distance, I would run to you and hug you, and you would look me up from head to toe noticing every little change, Dad you still do that although the “grown up” in me feel embarrassed by it these days.
Dad you taught me not to be ashamed of my abilities and be confident in whatever I do, I loved dancing and you encouraged me not to feel ashamed about it. You would walk up to me at a party and dare me to go out and dance telling me I was too shy to do it, I would want to show you I could and I would go out to dance, you would then come there to join me and spray me with money.
You taught us never to borrow from anyone but to be content with whatever we had, It was funny but you would buy all the music and video CDs of all the songs we loved just so that we would never have a reason to borrow them from anyone, if there was anything that you saw with any of us and you know didn’t belong to us, you would show your disapproval asking us to return such immediately and latest the next day, we would have whatever it was except you felt it was something we didn’t need.
Most importantly Dad, I will forever appreciate you and mum for the investments you made in our education, things were not easy at all financially while we were growing up, but you still struggled to put us in a school that was essentially for rich kids, you would sit down with us and help with our assignments, I loved seeing my name on my notebooks and textbooks written in your beautiful handwriting, you would use cello tape on all our book edges which left them neat and made them last longer. You would help in packing our bags even up until university.
I remember when I wanted to go for pre-degree and there was no money, you and Mum struggled and made sure the money materialized. Dad you even hated us taking public transport, you were that father who will drop us at school on resumption (even in university) and come to pick us at the end of the session. No matter how tight money was, you would never give us no for an answer but you and mum would get the money whichever way you can, we were and still are your babies, the ones that must never go hungry. The amazing thing is that you still do these things even today for the younger ones who are still in school. Did I say this before? You are incredible!
I feel a certain joy every time I see your comments on my write-ups and the messages you send to me afterwards telling me the things I could have done better and where I need to improve upon but most especially always telling me that you are proud of me and I should keep it up, Dad I don’t think I have ever told you before but it means a whole lot to me.
I love you so dearly and I always will, and today I just want to say happy birthday Daddy mi, more glorious years in Jesus name. Amen