I’m not daddy’s little girl. Never was, never will be.
Daddy spent most of his time away from family. That wasn’t his fault – he was trying to be the responsible father that he was expected to be. His job transferred him so frequently around the country that my mom had to stop moving around for the children’s sake to let them have a stable education. By the time yours truly was born, the family was steady while daddy toured the country. The result was that we never really bonded. Each time he showed up for weekends, the house was deathly quiet. Even after being transferred back home we were glad but the bonding stage had passed and we had to adjust to his constantly being around, which was not exactly a joy ride. Besides the fact that we weren’t used to him, he was quite the disciplinarian!
I and daddy had lots of adventures, but not the kind you’re thinking of. Oh yes we had good times: he loved to hide in the dark and scare us to death! We also went for picnics during holidays in Shere hills (Jos, Plateau) and one Easter day was spent fishing in a dam in Kaduna. The adventures I recall the most had to do with the age of rebellion, when I didn’t answer daddy’s request with a “yes” but with a “why” and when the species daddy called “men” started showing up at our doorstep asking for me. Those were adventurous times! 😀 Daddy did not spare the rod each time he felt I was wrong and back then I was a sucker for pain, so you can imagine how often I had to run round the house with him at my heels! Looking back now, I laugh with tears in my eyes.
We disagreed on everything and agreed on nothing. I challenged not only his ideas and theories, but also the way he related with us. He hated that. I was an individual growing up with a different line of thought, choosing to seek alternatives instead of taking the norm and that in itself signified rebellion. Oftentimes I would refer to his relationship to us as an administration (bad girl!).
Ours was not the intellectual discussion/arguments that some of my siblings have with their kids now, it was Yes=obedience, No/Why=defiance. Indeed in that regard I was the wild girl with wild ideas and dreams! Some part of me hated being the rebel too, but I couldn’t help but voice out what I felt within me was my own truth.
And so it went. I had a great longing to be close to him, but I never got it right Once I was so upset about the imbalance that I wrote a song about it – what an inspiration! Well, with the knowledge that heartbreaking songs usually hit the charts, I should think about doing something with it! 😀
I think the distance between us during our childhood had a part to play in our incompatibility. Daddy also raised himself without a lot of parental guidance – maybe that also contributed to the fact that he had to raise us based on his own instincts, what worked for him and what he felt was the right thing to do. And even though all of us kids reacted differently to the same basic training, he still did a good job – at least I’m old enough to know now that parenting isn’t a piece of cake! I have come to accept these as genuine reasons and I don’t hold it against him anymore. We live apart from each other and the distance seems to help – there’s nothing to fight over now. I speak to him over the phone and I hear the fondness in his stern voice… I’m even beginning to miss him!
One thing I’d really like to do is to write a book about his life, his own adventures as a kid and how he became the successful man that he is today.
I hear some people talk about being daddy’s little girl and I’m like nope, that’s not me. Never was, never will be. But it doesn’t change the immense love I have for him, the deep respect I have developed towards him, nor the unquenchable desire I have within me to make him proud of me. I’m still working on that.
Love you daddy!
When sharing “Worst Parents Stories” with my friends, I never forget to add that even if your parents are the worst in the world, you’ve learned one thing from them – and that is how NOT to be one. Take exactly what was dished to you and turn it round for your kids. That in itself is a good thing, isn’t it?