Do not get it twisted. I have a father, whom I totally love and respect. Every time this day comes am however left wondering whether I would have preferred a better one than the one I am currently blessed with. My answer is always the same. Yes, the same man I call Dad would still be ideal, a much more responsible person who has his priorities in place.
My dad is without a doubt a very smart man, I remember him effortlessly converse with individuals from different tribes such as Kamba, Kikuyu, Maasai, Dholuo and one other am still struggling to recall. He would fluently switch between the dialects on and off, smooth and swift like a rollerblade.
He has been a loyal and excellent driver who has been lucky enough to land gigs for some prestigious multinationals as well as non-profit corporations. A great privilege.
A man so smart and eloquent in the English language, you would take time trying to figure out which part of the country he came from.
Such an amazing cook during the holidays he would visit to stay with us for few days or weeks before schools opened. During most of those, I slept in fear because I knew whenever he stepped out for a drink, the return home would somehow wind up being one hell of a chaotic scene. Getting back home in drunken stupor, disturbing the peace within the neighbourhood and sometimes, well, most times, getting physical with mum, for no apparent reason.
I am the first child so protecting the members of my household was second to nature for me. Whenever dad was around, I would always sleep with one eye open. Anything could happen especially where alcohol was concerned. I was willing to do anything to protect my brother and sister, as well as save my mother from each blow, each tear and her potentially fragile heart from breaking. I helped her nurse her wounds after night fights, wipe blood stains from her face and body. I never knew another woman so brave, she took it all in stride. One of my greatest fears growing up, was that one day, my mum would die from these beatings.
But she loved this man I call my Papa so much, to a flaw. He would have his clothes and shoes stolen on his way home from the bar and mother dearest would be out shopping to replace them begrudgingly. To date, I still have no words to describe her resilience. She adored him. My mum was the iron lady they all try so hard to describe. She was my King 🤴 and Queen 👸, all in one.
To be honest with you, thinking about Father’s Day is sometimed very frustrating. Because in each one of them, the story is just always the same. I have had a great deal of growing up to do to show him some tough love but left feeling like his father instead. He, like every one of us is human and makes his mistakes. A child’s disappointment is if one never seems to learn from them. Same old cycle, year in, year out. Despite the fact that he made his mistakes and we took the fall for it, there is only so much a child can take. I have not given up. We have not.
My wonderful queen of a mother is belated, still that was not enough to shake him up to the reality that he had a huge responsibility ahead of him: continuing her legacy of bringing us up. Had she not insisted on her dying bed for us to accord him his respect and love as our father, we probably would not be on speaking terms or try to reach out to him, as we do today. I call it God’s Grace.
On her dying bed, mama dearest made me promise to not let a man hit me twice. Once was enough to take the walk. She sang the chorus to, ‘Coward of the County’s by Kenny Rogers to my brother, begging him to never in his life, never to hit a woman, or even fight at all. It was the most painful memory of my mother in her final days of life…and there was nothing either of us could have done to save her from the claws of death.
Very soon, dad will be turning 70, if he hasn’t already. Everyday, I keep hoping and praying he changes for the better. That will be the happiest Father’s Day year of my living life. To experience that moment when his slavery to the bottle will be history. To bring an end our constant worries about his wellbeing, to trust him to manage whatever he has on him well. A dream come true.
I have been so blessed to have a lot of other Fathers in my life that have stepped into the fatherly shoes with a lot of understanding and love. From the bottom of my heart, I have nothing but love and mad respect for all of you out there. My amazing brother, late grandfather, uncles, my cousins, our family friends and in-laws. Seeing how you have handled fatherhood like the true kings you are has given me hope that it is never too late to change. Never too late to hope. Never. Too. Late.
To all of you that have made a positive impact in my life, however which way, Happy Father’s Day.
To all the single mothers, Happy Father’s Day.
To my Dad, the countdown to a Happy Father’s Day is on, but first things first, that bottle has to go.
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