Happy Birthday Daddy
Today is my daddy's birthday. Sitting in my office, I decided to play back some nice memories I've had with him.
Growing up, moments with Daddy were very significant ones. You'd not forget them in a hurry because you left him either crying or jubilating. You couldn't be in-between. Either you were getting a lash on your palm or a chicken on your lap. He loved Chicken Suya and used to buy it on his way back from work. We anticipated mouth-watering Suya many nights. When someone said "Daddy is calling you", it sent our hearts into our mouths until we had gotten to the bottom of the matter. Luckily, it would be to pick our share of some roasted Ube or to finish his meal. The latter I loved very much. I didn't like that Daddy had to eat the 'special' meal always. Even days that we had beans on both menus, Daddy's meal would be prepared separately from ours and there was always a difference in taste, Daddy's tasting much better. That sentence became so powerful that if Mummy was waking one of us to eat dinner and we refused, all she needed to say was, "Daddy is calling you" and the once somnolent bleary-eyed would have sprung up heading towards the sitting room before they are stopped by the rest of us giggling and calling after them, "It's a lie o". Mummy never liked that statement. She preferred us to say "it's not true". I couldn't see the difference.
We celebrated birthdays privately in our home at nights. After Mummy had succeeded in asking Daddy to turn off the TV or lower its volume, we would sing some praises and pray for the celebrant, then sing a happy birthday song with three "Hip! hip!! hip!!!" calls and three "Hurray!!!" responses, the last being the loudest, then we would devour the snacks and drinks while Dad turned the TV back on. He would never miss his 9 o'clock news. Sometime during the celebration, Mummy would sneak out to get the birthday gift. Once we heard her singing our beloved song "I want to say, I love you", we would drop our munch and form a train behind her singing till we reached the celebrant who by now would be all smiles and with open arms expectantly receive their gift. We would rally round them as they opened the gift and the happiness would continue. This was a family tradition. But Daddy's birthday was special. We always looked forward to it because apart from our ordinary snacks and drinks, he would have bought some pastries from Happy Bite, our favorite fast-food joint. So we would have things like ham burger, meat pies and donuts, even ice cream.
When travelling back to the village for Christmas, we had to choose whose car to enter- Daddy's or Mummy's. Either had its advantage and its disadvantage. We were sure that with Daddy, it would be a fast cozy ride and he was going to buy some 'chewables' on the road. However, we would have to wait for Mummy and the rest before we could enter the house (she always had the key) and the rest would seem to have had more fun on their ride. Most times, the boys just went with Daddy and the girls went with Mummy.
As I watch him develop gray hairs, Daddy has become softer and more loving. Family morning devotions are more interesting because Daddy always has a story to tell. He has demonstrated discipline, hard work and resilience for us. We have seen him bounce back from appalling situations. As he adds another year to his time on earth, I pray that God strengthens him even more. May he live longer and enjoy the fruit of his labour. May he see his children's children even to the fourth generation and may he still be vigorous and fruitful at that age, offering wisdom to the younger generations. And when he's left this phase of eternity, may he dwell in the presence of God forever. Amen.
I love you Daddy.
©Radiant~ January 2016