He never talked about his dad. Not once. Not even in passing.
When we just started dating, I would go on and on about my daddy and the decisions that he had made to ruin our family, and his choices that caused my family so much pains.
But him, he just listened, he never told me about his father and so I assumed his dad was dead.
Then, one Thursday evening, as I was cooking for him supper, he was seated on the chair, watching me. His phone rang…after a brief conversation, he turned to me and told me:
“My father is sick, I have to go home tomorrow and take him to hospital”
I was stunned. I moved closer to him, brow coiled.
“You mean you have a dad?” I asked perplexed.
“Dearest, everyone has a dad…” he joked., but I could see the discomfort on his face.
More than anything, I craved to hear the story of this human being, the only person perhaps, who has ever caused that much discomfort to my mister.
And so I urged him to tell me about his father, to step out from behind the self-protecting wall he had constructed around himself and talk it out.
At first he was reluctant….but I urged him on. What was it?
One evening he decided to make the leap.
Lying in the darkness of our room, he told me about his father. He talked of the father who had made terrible decisions and caused an arc in their upbringing. He told me the story of the reckless and violent man who scared him. He told me how not once had he looked at his father’s face when they were growing up. That his father scared him.
Then, he took my hand and put on his naked back…I felt the raised scar…borne from being beaten by his father in childhood…
The scars of his body…heliographs of violence and pain, of a bad fatherhood that impacted so much on a son.
(photo credit: quiet voice blogger)
And so we talked about fatherhood, about mine, and about his….and I came to learn somehow what fatherhood is.
Fatherhood is not making a woman pregnant and going to bring her back when she has delivered, NO. fatherhood is a higher calling. Fatherhood is being there in all the steps that are involved. It is taking her for the test. It is holding the mother to be and assuring her that you will be there, fatherhood is about looking her in the eye when she is considering other options and telling her :” I will be there for you. We will do this together…” fatherhood is ASSURANCE.
Fatherhood is about living to your word, it is a union between you, the mother to be, and the unborn. It is a vow, a promise, it is staying and making it happen. it is a COVENANT
Fatherhood is not about bringing home the bread. No. fatherhood is to be there and watch how the bread that you brought home is being consumed. Fatherhood is about partaking every small meal, celebration, changes with your children. Fatherhood is about being there. It is about learning how to change a diaper, it is about learning how to rock a child, it is hearing a child cry and waking up without shaking the mother who is sleeping next to you. Fatherhood is about carrying your child and making her laugh. It is about giving that child comfort and making sure that they feel safe in your presence. It is about opening up and bridging the generational gap. It is telling the kids stories about the past and merging them with the present. Fatherhood isn’t about going home and masking your face with the newspaper. NO. fatherhood is about being keen on your children, asking them about their days, it is about noticing that your child is walking with a limp, it is about noticing a small lump on her neck. Fatherhood is KEENNESS.
Fatherhood is about building the right foundation, it is about leading them through the right path. HAHA, it is not about caning them till they get scars. NO. Papa, fatherhood is about doing things right, leading by example. It is about abandoning that brown bottle and coming home early to bond with them. It is about refusing the offer by your friends to party every weekend till dawn. It is about YOU and how you present yourself before your children. Fatherhood is DISCIPLINE.
Fatherhood is about treating the mother of your kids right. It is all about LOVE. it is making their mother laugh so hard in their presence so that in their small minds they form what love is about. Fatherhood is about helping…it is seeing the mother struggling to do it on her own, and saying: “let me help with that…” it is helping the kinds wash their hands as the mother serves the food. It is picking up after your kids. Fatherhood is not about sitting on the table and waiting to be served. Fatherhood is SERVICE.
Fatherhood is being there for your kids when the mother is incapacitated in any form. It is taking your kid for baptism, it is going to see your wife in hospital every day, for months, and returning home to your kids. It is doing all that you can to see that the mother gets the best. It is stretching yourself to ensure that your kids get the best. Fatherhood is SACRIFICE.
Fatherhood is not raising your hands to hit your children at every opportunity. Fatherhood is not scarring your kids, fatherhood is not leaving a mark, so that anytime your kid touches the body, they feel like it is a form of braille where they can read and interpret failure from your side. Fatherhood is not hitting the mother of your kids, more so in the presence of your children, that is COWARDICE. Fatherhood is about knowing the role that you play in the life of your kids, in their upbringing, and embracing this role. Fatherhood is a DEEPER CALLING
Fatherhood is not waiting for your kids to be grown ups and then calling them in an attempt to apologize. No. fatherhood is realizing how fleeting life is, and saying sorry whenever you should. Fatherhood is knowing the battles that are worth fighting, and fighting them like a warrior. Fatherhood doesn’t entail walking away because the responsibilities are heavy upon you. No. fatherhood is sticking around and ensuring that things work out. Fatherhood is being a real man. Abandoning things like drinking yourself to a blackout or sleeping with any girl who gives you a chance. NO. Fatherhood demands that you put your kids first in any decision that you want to make. Fatherhood is MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS.
Fatherhood is just a series of doing things. It is BEING. It is not waiting to be reminded about responsibilities that come with it, but etching them in every core of your being and ensuring that you do all that you can to make it happen. Fatherhood is about marrying a woman who has a child and stepping in to be a father. It is about treating that child right. It is about ceasing to make your woman cry. It is about shielding ~ doing what men have been called to do. It is about protection. It is being there in all events. It is teaching your children how to play, pray, stay. Fatherhood is MATURITY
So, I challenge you, you who is a father or claims to be. I challenge you to take the call that fatherhood is, take up your position and be a daddy. If you cant, shut up and don’t complain about how things aren’t right in the society. It all begins from the family….Oy! Fatherhood is a COMMAND.