Hullabaloo lent the air when the junior school results were released by the then CS for education. It was the festive season and that was an additional reason to celebrate. The meat was tastier than i remembered. The music sounded more melodious. The presents and congratulatory messages kept flowing, i almost felt bill gates rich. My opinions were respected more and for a brief moment, i was the queen in that small kingdom. Soon it was all over and i was whisked to high school.
Nobody was really keen on my performance because i had already proven to know how to go about studies in junior school. High school was a shocker. No teachers spoonfeeding us, nobody writing notes for us on the whiteboard. Nobody was telling us what to do. I staggered for a bit then soon regained my balance. And then the worst of the time happened.
Just when i was about to sit my final exam, me together with a quater of my classmates got suspended. It was for a stupid reason, but it still hit my dad real bad. His reaction took me aback. He got so angry that he beat me up infront of my cousins and siblings. The humiliation was overwhelming. I cried like a baby, not out of pain, but out of humiliation and anger. At 17, i felt too mature to receive a beating. But so they say, a child will always be a kid to their parents. Its only now that i realize dad was doing that out of dispair. He has probably expected me to be too busy studying to be caught in stupid mistakes. He was scared that i would embarass him, he was probably looking forward to more hullabaloos and jubilation after those results too.
That should give you a picture of how angry dad can get. I look back and feel like i am that “prodigal son” in my family. Because only 2 years later while in campus, i received important life changing news. I sat gloomily on my bed conteplating on my life. That felt like the beginning of a long nightmare whose ending was not vivid. I was drowning, then floating, then drowning again. I seemed to be losing balance. My hands were allover looking for any form of support. Holding on to stands of grass that kept weakening under my strong grasp and finally cutting loose. I was suffocating while everyone else seemed to be breathing just fine. I felt like i was in an alien planet where nobody seemed to notice me. I was a zombie walking around, looking alive but feeling dead.
What i dreaded most was facing my dad with the news. My mum is less strict and kind of dynamic, but dad!! He is another level. As i sat there that day in high school came rolling speedily back at me. I felt the tears, shame and dispair once more. I could almost see his face and all the emotions inscribed there, visible to whoever wanted to see. Once more i had let them down. The only two people that deserved nothing less than peace.
It was only at the end of my second trimester that a counsellor appealed to my reasoning. She said that having a baby is a big thing and one neeeded all the support they could get.She said parents were bound to get angry but they would still understand. She even mentioned possible death. Now every shity thing i could accomodate, but death? I was too young to die. My future seemed gleem yes, but still i wanted to live through it. Even just for my baby. So i finally broke the big news, first to Mum ofcourse hoping somehow she would tell dad and save me the fright. To my utter surprise, she told me she wouldnt even cough a word to him and i had to do it myself.
Should i text? Should i call? Should i wait till mum rethinks her decision? Should i just show up unannounced and let him deal with it? Or should i just stay where i was and skip telling him at all. I was at a crossroads. Too many roads that somehow led to the same destination. Some were rough and bumpy but they seemed the easiest to travel on. After an entire week of route evaluation, i settled on texting, despite the fact that dad could take a week to see the text or even not see it all . So i had to call to tell him to check out the text.
To cut the long story short, or did i make a short story long? He finally read it and sent me money to go home. His attitude this time was a resounding astonishment. He was the supportive dad, even mum was the best. A part of me felt like they were actually looking forward to being grand parents. Dad driving me to the clinic for check up, mum advising me on what to eat and baby shopping beforehand. Life was easy and happy. The life i had envisioned and the one that was unfolding were not related, they were not even friends!
Dad picked mum and i up from hospital when the baby finally came. Even when i got cracked nipples and couldnt breastfeed dad made sure the milk formula, which was damn expensive, was always available. He could even buy diapers! Maybe you dont see a biggie in that, but i do. Daddy is the typical African man that believes in chores for women and men being different and uninterchangeable. So him doing a woman’s chores on my account was flattering.
More often than not, those gestures brought tears to my eyes. Not bad tearing, but tears of love and joy. Sometimes the baby would refuse to sleep and mum would hold her for me while i slept. Dad always made sure fruits and soup were available. Mum bathed the baby for me when i was scared to hurt her. It was easier being a mum because i had two assistants, not to mention their will and dedication.
They were my pillars of strength. I wondered why i had held on to strands during my first two trimesters, while hardwood beckoned at me for support. It is that hardwood that built my faith in God once more. The timber for my parenting foundation was extracted from that wood. So you can bet it is as strong as Noah’s ark. And i will always feel indebted, though they never expect payback, for the love, care, support and strength.
My little munchkin and I. The reason for my purpose