For My Father... Oládélé Àtàndá
My daddy is a great storyteller, and I’m the child who inherited that gift.
As kids, we looked forward to the different ‘àló’ he would tell us, particularly the ‘àló àpagbè’. We would sit at his feet, on the mat, in the balcony of our childhood home, right underneath the moon, full or half, and sometimes on a dark night. We would listen, sing and laugh.
I remember the story of the little boys who stole ‘àgbáyun’ from a farm, and how they were made to swear by the farmer. We asked our Daddy what àgbáyun was and he promised to show us. So, the next time he went to the village, he didn’t disappoint. I remember tasting it with my siblings, it had no taste, and we couldn’t understand why the boys from the story bothered to steal it. Daddy said to be patient, he then gave us tangerine to eat, and it was the sweetest I’ve ever tasted till today.
By that simple act, Daddy taught us patience. He taught us how sometimes the beginning might be far from tasteful, but with patience and a willingness to try, the end will be very tasteful.
My Daddy is jovial, perhaps in another life, he could have been a comedian. He makes people around him laugh, so our home was filled with Laughter. He is the first to laugh at himself, and we are no exception. He will sometimes laugh harder even when you are annoyed…but no matter how annoyed you are, you will join in… for his laughter was contagious. From him, we learnt to tease one another and to laugh with reckless abandon.
My Daddy is a firm believer in ‘do as I do’
He once showed us his old report cards and WAEC results. He needed us to see how well he did… he wanted us to see that we could do far better because we had better opportunities. He taught us to give by giving…always.
Daddy calls us ‘Iyò ayé’…reminding us how precious we are as Salt of his world and of the world. He always put us first…in everything. He sacrificed…everything, to give us the best life he can afford.
I remember Daddy eating terribly made amala for weeks. He said no one else should make it, that we will all continue to eat it until my sister and I got it right.
Daddy drove us to and fro, every day to our GCE centre, he didn’t mind that it was two different centres… I remember Daddy travelled to Ilorin, just to find out why on earth his twin daughters were denied admission despite beating the cut off.
He personally delivered me to the law school in Abuja. Daddy said he wouldn’t travel until I got my externship placement… He drove me to the NBA chairman’s office and dropped by the law firm I was interning.
My Daddy is great with canes. I can’t count how many times he has beaten the hell out of us without breaking a sweat. I remember Daddy saying ‘má pariwo o, maá kojá circle yen o, don’t let me get up from my seat’. I remember us begging him to sit back on occasions where we wasted time till he stood up. He loves us, but never once spared the rod.
My Daddy, Oládélé Àtàndá loves his wife…
And even though they are not ‘tush’ or ‘romantic’ their love and friendship is magical.
We learnt quite quickly not to whisper to Mummy, things you don’t want Daddy to know…. You either shut up or just tell them both. We also learnt not to expect one to pamper you while the other scolds you. They both showed us what a home should be… full of laughter, peace and harmony, devoid of secrets and unforgiveness.
Thank you for pushing us hard, for always telling us to be the best.
Thank you for teaching us that sometimes crying is okay, but to get up and try again.
Thank you for teaching us to laugh… to fight and forgive… to love… to be strong…to be resilient…to be honest and upright…to be patient… and to never take the short cut to the top.
Thank you for being our Daddy.
Happy Fathers’s day, bà’ámi.