Friday, 22 May 2020

Daddy Dearest is 70!


So, my dad is 70 today and I am all shades of thankful for his life, his health, and his presence of mind. He’s been insisting he doesn’t want a party and thanks to Covid- 19, none can happen anyway, so he gets his wish. However, I always want to give him his beautiful roses while he can smell them, so I am writing this. I have shared a little bit about him here and here. Maybe I will read this note to him too.
My dad is the most amazing father ever. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better. He is awesome plus amazing plus all those fantastic words you can think of. One of the earliest memories I have of my dad is holding his little finger while he walked me to my kindergarten class because that was the only finger I could grab. The rest were too big. I remember that after a while, I could grab the last two (the little finger and the ring finger). He has always been a very present father.
I also remember he used to keep an afro back in the day and my sisters and I would endlessly try to braid his hair. Thinking about it now, it must have been painful, but he never flinched or complained. Not once. He would lie or sit there patiently while we did our thing. Sometimes, I would get tired and lie on his lap and he'd play with my scanty hair till I slept. That patience still blows my mind.
So the back story, I am the last of 4 kids and I was an erm interesting child. I was indulged (not spoiled). Some of my political detractors might try to say I was naughty, but we know they’re just trying to ruin my political career, so what do we say to them? Not Today. I remember a new year's eve when my mom found a box of all my dirty clothes. I think I was 9 or maybe older. If I spilled water on my clothes, I would take them off and wear something new. So, when my mom found those clothes, she basically told me those clothes better not get into the new year dirty, and brethren, I didn't even know how to wash. I knew I was in major trouble. There was no way I could bribe my siblings for help. So, when my mom went out, my dad and I carried all those clothes downstairs and washed them. Well, he washed them, but I kept him company with my chatter. Safe to say, all my clothes went into the new year, sparkling clean. That is my dad. Peacekeeper extraordinaire. Ever ready with solutions.
My mother is convinced he didn’t have kids in his past life. My mom will always say "Oo bimo n'ijoun", meaning, "You didn't have kids in your past life" or “O le ke’kan, ko di meji” which roughly translates to “you cannot pamper one and turn that one into two”, or “Eyin le r’omo ri, omo po n’ile tiwa” meaning “It is you who don’t have kids in your house, kids abound in our own house”. I don’t know if there’s anything called too much love, but my dad definitely fits the description. His kind of love is very present. You will never be in any doubt about how he feels. Never. He’s that amazing. He has always been there for us at every little point and milestone.
When you got into trouble, my dad would rather lecture you than beat you. Whenever my mom smacked us, he would grumble and walk around the house registering his displeasure. I remember him smacking me twice and shaking me once which is incredible, considering how much of a handful I was. The day he shook me, (this is an interesting story) he still apologized.
I was that child that got everything she wanted. I wanted it, I asked my dad and he would try his best to get it for me. It seemed he was wound tightly around my little finger. Even when my siblings needed him to do stuff, they sent me. Me, with no inhibitions and a big mouth, would just go demanding. My dad is not this way because I am his last born (although last-born privileges are real). He is the same with all his kids. He loves us individually, the same way he raised us; as individuals. He would always joke that he has to indulge me because he has not seen any other child since my birth year, and my mother would roll her eyes lol. This man would go for work conferences or meetings and keep snacks or whatever he was served in his pockets lool. He did this well into my twenties. I love my dad and I pray God keeps him for me. He deserves everything fantastic in this world.
The few times I attended after-school lessons in primary school, he would come from work (about 30 mins from school), take us (my sister and I) to eat lunch, and drop us at the lesson (which was literally across the road from my school). He always had snacks in the car at the end of every school day. He was there for every visiting day in high school. He always showed up. Thinking about that consistent energy leaves me so deeply grateful.
He did everything so I would not go to boarding school as the last born, but I wasn't having it. I spent a couple of weeks in a day school before resuming at a boarding. While I was at the day school, he would pick me up from school. There was a day he couldn’t pick me up because he had a meeting, so he gave me money for Public Transportation (PT). There was a clause though, he told me not to leave school before a certain time (because he was going to try to get away from the meeting). I had a close family friend who was an only child at the time and would use PT. I always wanted to try PT so I was excited to try too. Of course, I didn’t listen to the instructions and left with my friend as soon as the closing bells rang. He was able to get away from the meeting and had gone searching for me in school. Of course, I wasn't day because I was having the time of my life in a PT. My dad got home before I did.
I remember when I was in SS2 and I had no Economics note. The proper thing would have been to borrow someone’s note so I could copy it during the holidays, right? Not Toin. When my dad asked me (in preparation for SSCE), I simply told him I did not have one. He then went to see a family friend of ours, who had a daughter that was my classmate; got her note, bought a new note, and took it to work every day…till he copied every page. His friends would poke fun at him but he never wavered. He never even made me feel like I was a problem. He never transferred aggression. Never let on how worried he was about my education. Never compared myself to my siblings. Never showed his fear even when he must have been terrified. A solid force behind every dream. No pressure, just full-on support. Ah, if I have a child like me, I pray to God I can extend the same grace. I can tell you for free that there is no way I am copying any note. Period. I really should have laminated that note.
When I got into University, my dad would visit every Wednesday and my mom would come with him every Sunday. I wasn’t alone (my immediate older sister was a year ahead of me), but my parents would always visit. After so many complaints during my first year, they reduced it to once a week, till I graduated. Every single week for four years. My university was not even in the same state that we resided in. That consistent energy. If there is one thing I know for a fact, it is that my parents would go to war for me. I remember my cousin telling me one time that my dad wasn’t the norm and I just didn’t understand what he meant. I do now.
A few years ago, I was speaking with my dad, when he mentioned how terrified he was for my education. He already figured there was no way I was getting into a university so all he prayed for was 5 credits so I could go to a polytechnic (tears). I wasn’t dull. I was just not interested in school or applying myself. If anyone had told him I would have a master's, let alone a Ph.D., I'm pretty sure he would have choked 😭😭
Everyone who knows me knows my dad. I assure you that if you're my friend but never met my dad, and my father doesn’t know you, we're not that close. I remember him asking me one time if I had heard from Helen. I tried my darnest to remember who that was before he gave me her full government name. Helen is the middle name of my high school best friend. My father remembers the middle names of my friends.
My dad is the best storyteller I know. I always wondered why he didn’t consider lecturing full time. He told me the best version of the Awolowo/Akintola Action Group crisis. I am always envious of his friendships, most of which are well over 40 years; way before I was born. He is a major foodie and a great cook. It makes my soul happy to see him with his grandkids. I’m always screaming at my nieces and nephew when they climb on his neck to leave my daddy alone for me. He loves it though. That’s what gives him joy. This is why I always pray for joy unending for him. I pray for health and joy. He has been blessed with 70 amazing years on this earth. I love him, flaws and all.
I pray that God in his infinite mercy and wisdom will crown him with more peace, wealth, more love, joy overflowing, and unbridled happiness. He deserves every single accolade he can get. I am wishing him the most amazing and healthy year as he crosses the 70 milestone. If I can do half of what my dad has done for my siblings and me, I would be considered outstanding. The bar is literally in the skies. I hope I never take your love, presence, and lessons for granted, daddy. You are the epitome of selfless love. Nothing is ever inconvenient when it comes to your kids. I appreciate all that you are and all you have done and continue to do to bless our lives. Love you always daddy.

Your baby girl. Toin

P.S: Seventy is huge people! Please say a prayer for him *kisses*