As I write this, my dad is working in the kitchen, trying to make a decent lunch of spiced curd rice and roasted yam. This is the man who hardly knew how to boil milk about three years back.
After my mom passed away suddenly, my dad was all I had. He was the only person who remained in the world who could love me for who I am, unconditionally.
From a person who was “just there” during my childhood, he has really come a long way. He has buried his own grief and has planted my happiness on top of it. He waters it every day through sweat and tears, but not a day is missed. Such is his love for me that it has eclipsed his own life.
I, on the other hand, have not been so kind to him. I get frustrated when he does not understand what I say. I get annoyed when I have to repeat because of his poor hearing. I become disappointed when he cannot come swimming with me because of his eye problems. Shamefully, I also sometimes wish I had a “better” dad – the ones who would play badminton in the evenings and settle down to watch the league matches at night; the ones who can narrate exciting stories and come up with creative story plots; the ones who are very “smart” and have a way of “getting things done.” But a small voice pops up and says,” But who will do the dishes?”
He’s learning though, he really is. Once, he surprised me by taking me to the best waffles place in town. When I asked him how he knew about this place is the best, he simply shrugged and said he read some reviews in the newspaper. I went home and observed that the review had indeed been circled crudely with a possibly-broken pencil and was lying next to the crumpled sports page. The dad of my childhood would have no idea at all that me (or my mom) would like waffles, while the sports page would anyway have remained crumpled.
Today morning, I came across this piece of news in the newspaper:
Bedhia Nar, the lion, took care of his cubs like their mother would have, after she died. He fed them, hid them and taught them to hunt. He abstained from all other activities until his sons no longer needed him. He became their mother. Just like my dad. You’re a lion, dad!
So, this Mother’s Day, I thank you, Daddy, for having become my mother. There was no initiation and no training, but you are doing so well. While you might never be a “cool” dad, you are the best I can ever ask for. I’m sorry if I’ve ever hurt you and I know I can never make it good, but I’ll try anyway.
But seriously though, remember LOL is “Laugh out Loud,” not “Love over Life,” or whatever. That’ll seriously piss me off if you ask me again.