My family is close-knit, dad and mum, 2 boys and 2 girls. People always commend on the symmetry, but for me, there's a little downside to symmetry. Lemme explain, Wiggy is the first child (girl), Ragfella is the second child and first son, Raekhi is the last child (baby of the house). Yeah, you get the picture, your's sincerely is the 3rd child (dunno if there's a title for my position, last son perhaps, lol). Anyway, my folks love us all equally, we all have our individual unique traits and I love my siblings to death, can't ask for a better family.
Growing up, Wiggy was like a second mother to me. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't a mama's boy (lol) but I stuck to my elder sis like glue. She basically did all the household chores (yeah, the rest of us were lazy).Then when she had to go to boarding house for secondary school, I kinda followed in her footsteps and became the "go-to-guy" for household chores. I worshipped the ground she walked on, so after she left, I did all the things I saw her do: helping out in the kitchen with cooking, cleaning, scrubbing and also going to market, habits that have remained with me over the years.
Ragfella on the other hand was my protector and rock. My elder brother was a quiet kid when we were young and we had a connection that was pretty deep and unspoken. We were both asthmatic as kids and we shared the same room, so we shared our crisis moments together. Plus he was tall and gangly as a kid, while I was pretty short! So Ragfella would always stick up for me in a fight and protect me, yeah, I was pretty much the sissy scared kid while he was the tough enforcer. Remember when you were a kid and your folks asked you to "strike a pose" for the camera? Well, Ragfella could work the camera like magic, while on the other hand I was a complete disaster in front of the camera, I still am. He was my 'model'.
Raekhi was the baby of the house and everyone always fussed over her. Now, remember I used to be the last kid till she showed up (lol), so in the early years there was a little 'tension' between us. It didn't help that she was so adorable, so you couldn't help gushing over her. Well, everyone was butter in her little hands, except for me. I was tough as nails with her (lol), and drove her hard for a few reasons. One reason was that I didn't want her to be spoilt, my folks were pretty strict and all of a sudden they had gone soft as the years went by, the mantle of discipline rested with me. The second reason was that she looked up to me, so I certainly wasn't going to let my protege be substandard. I was pretty smart as a kid, so I set very high standards for her. The third reason was that I loved her to death and wanted the best for her.
My mum was a loving 'terror' when we were kids, lol. She could strike fear in to you with just a look, silent reprimand! It was almost as if I could hear her voice in my head telling me to behave, and her eyes were like "Emeka, m metu gi aka (emeka, if I handle you)..." I remember one particular incident in primary school when I couldnt get my tenses right. I was a logical thinking boy, so when I discovered 'mathematically' that the plural of a word could be derived by adding an 's' to the end of the singular version, I considered myself a genius. At first, my theory never failed and I aced all the english exams: boy/boys, girl/girls, father/fathers, goat/goats...I always finished my exams in record time and my teacher would beam smiles and congratulate me.
Well, it was all peaches and cream till we got to the funny words like: man, woman, policeman...Then I started flunking, my teacher couldn't understand why I insisted on writing mans/womans/policemans. It was a scandal, the math prodigy couldn't solve simple 'singular and plural'. It was serious enough to warrant my mother's intervention. So she told me, "Bia, when you see the suffix '-an', the plural is '-en'..." So I added a new formula to my logical tricks during the next English test, I was confident! When the results came out, I was shocked! I was so sure I had everything all figured out after combining my 2 mathematical theories for plural words. In the test I had written: man/mens, woman/womens, policeman/policemens...The next intervention was the final one..."Emeka, m metu gi aka"...that was all it took!
My dad was firm and stern and gentle at the same time. He hardly ever spanked us, momsi was the designated flogger. My popsi rarely raised his voice in anger, when he did, it almost felt as if it was a loud boom from heaven. It always began with ..."MY FRIEND, what is wrong with you..." Now, don't get it wrong, 'my friend' is way different from "MY FRIEND", if you know what I mean. My dad is an accountant, so he was very detailed. I remember when he was teaching me how to drive, he would be like..."Emeka, that is a red light, so stop..." I would be like, "Jeez, of course I can see it! I'm not that stupid"...in my head though, I would never voice that out, lol.My father loved us all and he never failed to show it. Over the years, as I grew older and became a man, my father always confided in me.
Today is father's day. I'm not a father yet but since the birth of my 2 nieces my life has transformed. I carried Kyla as an infant and watched her grow into a beautiful little girl. I've changed her diapers, bathed her (she calls it 'wonder-time', which means "water-time" in baby language), fed her, taught her how to dance and spent numerous hours discussing life with her while she smiles and responds in the beautiful incomprehensible garble of baby speech. That doesn't qualify me to be a father, but every time I carry her in my arms and feel her little arms around my neck, I imagine myself in my father's arms many many years ago.
I learnt from my father that you have to be hardworking to succeed in life. I also learnt from him never to refuse someone help when it is within your capacity to help. I've learnt to be generous and genuinely concerned about others. To love without asking for anything in return, and to put others first. To be content with the little I have, to dream and aspire for greatness and to be practical and understanding of others. To all fathers and fathers-to-be, today is your day. Leave a legacy worth celebrating, be the change the world yearns for...
Happy father's day!