My father’s brother and my father

I grew up in times where fatherhood was not limited to biological fathers. It was a time where everyone that played a fatherly role was called daddy. A time where it was rude to call a friend’s father anything less than daddy. So I had many daddies which could be quite confusing. To help reduce this confusion we had to attach a suffix that is unique to that particular daddy. This suffix could be names of children; for example I could call my friend’s father, Daddy-Foluso. Foluso, happens to be my friend’s name and defining her dad by her name was comforting. Sometimes we defined these daddies by the location. This brings me to the story of my father’s brother (who my siblings and myself call ‘Daddy-Idah’) and my father.

Growing up, I knew my father had many ‘siblings’. It was also times where cousins were referred to as brothers and sisters. Again, this was very confusing as I had lost count of my father’s so called siblings. However, there was a brother that stood out; Daddy-Idah. Daddy-Idah is my father’s biological elder brother who we sometimes qualified by his location. We added the suffix Idah because he was located in Idah, Kogi state of Nigeria. He is a seasoned library scientist who rose to the rank of Chief Librarian before retiring in 2019.

My father on the other hand is an Environmental Engineering lecturer, who like his brother has attained the peak of his career and is now a professor. My siblings and myself grew up calling my father, ‘Dad’. So, whenever my father and his brother are in the same space it was easy to call one Daddy and the other Dad. This so stuck that up till date I consider it rather disrespectful calling my uncle, uncle James (James happens to be his first name). Uncle James also happens to be Dad’s elder brother, who for the longest I’ve known plays both the big brother and fatherly role to my father. I guess you can now understand why I could never call him anything less than Daddy, or to be more definite Daddy-Idah. Haven given this background, I will stick to calling my father’s brother Daddy and my father Dad onwards.

Daddy and Dad is what I call inseparable. I have grown up seeing them loyally stand by and with eachother. Their ideologies, thought patterns and even beliefs are similar. This is amplified in by their faith in Jesus, which is another area they share unapologetic similarity. I don’t know the history of their faith and I’ve never asked, what I do know is that in my over 3 decades of existence I have seen both of them defend their faith in Lord Jesus Christ in their actions, inactions, words, silence, love, and even hate for unrighteousness.

Their love and loyalty to eachother is so visible to all. They would show up for at eachother’s event, they would always keep in touch with eachother. Good enough they valued the sanctity and oneness of marriage. So, their relationship never demeaned the unity of the husband and wife, but rather amplified this truth. That explains why their closeness never affected their marriages negatively. Although, to be fair to their wives, they weren’t spoilers, instead they helped in the preservation of this brotherhood. I have heard scary stories of how spouses have scattered siblings relationships, which is so not cool. Marriage should be a place where relationships are nursed, not spoiled and I will tell you why. In many scenarios children are often made by what they learn from parents. They would love and respect their siblings, if they see their parents do same. They would appreciate relationships if they’ve grown in homes that do. It’s hard to expect children to become what their parents aren’t, as they are unconsciously, subconsciously and consciously modelled by what they see firsthand.

In recent times I was at an event where Daddy and Dad were both present. I watched in admiration as they yet sat by eachother, to me it was a noble act. I guess they had grown accustomed to siting and standing with/by eachother in the past about 7 decades of their lives, that it only comes natural to them. Their relationship is so inspiring that I sometimes catch myself envying same relationships for my siblings and even my children.

Of course they’re aren’t perfect neither are they the same. It’s funny how they differ even in their similarity. Daddy-Idah is actually more sensitive and caring especially towards the girl child. You could be sure to get more sympathy and support from him than you’d his brother. Dad on the other hand is less in your business, he could sit back and trust you to use your best judgement as opposed to Daddy who I feel could be a spoiler with his spoon feeding methodology. While you can get Daddy-Idah emotional and disturbed on some happenings, Dad will remain calmer. So we (my siblings and cousins) exploited and explored their strengths and weaknesses for our benefit. We knew who we could get away with what and who we couldn’t. How could I almost forget that Daddy was more protective, especially of the girl child, which we didn’t like. He had his eyes hovering over us like a mother hen protecting her chicks from the hawks. I will save this gist for another day.

The first major dissimilarity I saw between my father’s brother and my father was political. While one believed in a particular party the other did not, and being that they could both be defensive and vocal on what they believe in, made it quite interesting. At some point, in order to reduce their disagreement they would rather avoid having conversations about such matters. These guys were and still are an item and I pray that God graciously keeps them both because I fear how they’d survive without eachother. I pray that they’d remain strong in faith, and die as heroes of the gospel they’ve so defended. I also pray that God will be so generous to build their mansions side by side in heaven, so they could continue what they’ve left off here on earth.

I’ve learnt the beauty of siblings and family relationships from these two. They aren’t only loyal to themselves but also to their extended family, they would show up at family functions and happily so. They would mediate family squabbles and quarrels pro-bono. They would forgive insultive family members and were constant in their prayers for both erring and non-erring family members. So, it’s rather confusing and disturbing for me, on how the world seem to be shoving aside healthy relationships in exchange for pursuing the ‘finer things of life’. Basing relationships to things like status, wealth and other very ephemeral standards. Our lives are fast becoming constrained to our nuclear families, forgetting that extended families are offshoots of the nuclear. In simple words, ‘your children who are nuclear to you, will make families who will be extended to eachother’. We’ve learnt to love only when convenient and dump at the slightest dispute and difficulty.

I’m glad my siblings and cousins are firm believers of what we’ve touched, seen and watched for almost our whole lives. I for one rate relationships to man, next to the most important thing in life; relationship with God. Such that I have become a strong relationship advocator. Remember Jesus said, the first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and the next which he likens to the first; ‘is to love your neighbors as yourself’.

I would rest my pen soonest, but not before I do a toast to my father’s brother and my father. Two men who I’ve come to love dearly and I’ve learnt the value of family from. ‘Cheers Daddy and Dad, may your days be long and filled with greater accomplishments!’.

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5years after my mum’s death, dad remarries!

I lost my Mum 20years ago, she was amazing. So, that explains why I felt really betrayed 5years after, when Dad says he wants to remarry. My Mum and Dad were a thing; it was a marriage where I can confidently say I had no vivid memory of them having an argument. They were some couple, and even when Mum left, I never imagined Dad filling that position. Mum died when I was 14, I wasn’t a child anymore, so my memories of her are not vague.

I wondered, how an amazing relationship could be forgotten so soon. I think, this was my first romantic heart break. Unlike Shakespeare’s Romeo who would rather die besides Juliet, Dad was here making plans to marry another. It was more hurting that it was someone Mum knew, oh yes, they used to be friends during mum’s lifetime.

It was all shades wrong to me and I was quite disappointed in Dad, I refused to listen to his reasons for going the route of remarrying. It wasn’t my thing to display tantrums or openly make a fuss about my unhappiness. So, I voiced assent when asked my opinion but deep down I struggled with this enormous betrayal.

The marriage happened and again I wept a lot during the wedding ceremony. How does a man repeat same vows he said to his late wife to another woman? They had violated the law of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ again. I was 19 now, and was well read in romantic stories. This was a breach to the kind of books I had grown to love.

It’s 15years after I watched Dad marry another woman. Now, I’m all grown up and wondering why I was so selfish and childish then. You wouldn’t blame me though, I was only protecting my Mum’s territory. Being happily married myself, I can truthfully say ‘I would love my husband to remarry if I happen to go before him’. This is my truth! I have seen that the world is too lonely a place to walk alone. I have learned a lot from this experience. Was life perfect after Dad married again? I would say a resounding no! It wasn’t; it was me trying to fit into a home with step siblings and all. I was expecting my new mum to be 100 percent my late mother and it didn’t happen. There were issues and several things I needed to unlearn and learn. It was not easy for me and neither was it for everyone else.

Over a decade after, almost all of us kids who were there from the onset of the remarriage are out. We kicked against this marriage in our hearts and some vocally, but today we’re all out. We’re in different places, building our own families and paths. These two; my dad and my stepmother (who I call mummy) are having a swell time; because they have each other. They’ve been both a blessing to me and I’m grateful to God for them.

So today if you would ask whether I want Dad to remarry, I would scream a resounding yes! He should, he deserves to live again, and this is not to disrespect my mum’s memory, never! Mum is in heaven where she belongs and her legacy lives in me and my siblings. However, Dad deserves another chance to love and be loved by a woman as amazing as mummy.

I’m grateful to God who blessed me, with not just one mother, neither two but many mothers who pulled their weight around me when mum passed. That story I would write another day…

Today however I celebrate my Dad and Mummy for an amazing 15years of marriage. Enjoy!

Today I turned 35!

Today, I turned thirty five, five years from becoming forty. Oh yes, the big 40. The day was accompanied with a feeling of nostalgia. I remembered some few years back I was only a little girl with no serious worries. Then, I envied grownups, looking forward to the day I would be one also. I would wear my mum’s shoes and try convincing her we were same size. I was in a hurry to become an adult.

Fast forward, today I’m thirty five approaching forty and I’m not sure anymore. I fear that life has played a fast one on me. Birthdays have come and gone, some with excitements, many with sobriety. I fear that each new birthday is an evidence of a year gone; of time past never to be recalled or regained. I fear that I haven’t done enough and time is running out.

Today, I turned thirty five, a few years to forty and my prayer is simple; that I will not a day waste again. I pray that the next birthday when I look back, it would be with excitement of a year fulfilled; lived in total surrender to Jesus (my saviour). I pray that I would not let years pass me by without creating history. That I would live each day in understanding, maximizing every moment of every day; touching lives, rewriting stories and making impact in my little space.

Today, I turned thirty five and I toast to impactful years ahead!

Starting!

Right from childhood I have been given to day dreaming. I would paint lovely pictures of all I desired to become, though conflicting sometimes I was never deterred from maximizing my imaginations. Those pictures were often very colorful, as could be expected of one with a creative mind. Unfortunately that was where it almost always ended, in my mind or should I say my head as I was not too courageous in lunching out to make my dreams a reality. I would give excuses, procrastinate, lazy around and just shy away from starting. This stuck with me even as I approached adulthood and sadly became the reason for a number of set backs I experienced.

I have since acknowledged my laziness in getting things started and I am fighting it the best way I can. More so as the uncertainty of the next day seems blink. I fear that one day I would be no more, but more fearful is that I wouldn’t have accomplished a quarter of my dreams. Hence, starting this blog brings to life one of the many imaginations I have nursed but procrastinated for one reason or the other. So bravo I would say, as I cheer myself into many more start ups.

‘The fear of starting is the monster that keeps you from starting’