Thanks to you.
Most of us just have one. Exceptionally, some of us have more. Some by blood, some because of deeper bonds than blood. As for me, I was blessed with two fathers; my biological father and my stepfather. My story is not a “wow” story, but it is very dear to me. It is a father-daughter journey of a story that has a lot to do with the shaping of who I am as a daughter, as a sister, as a mother and, yes, as the woman I am today. My biological father is Cameroonian. My stepfather is Ethiopian. As life would have it my parents decided for the health of the family unit their separation was needed. It is by far the best decision they could have made.
Don’t get me wrong—I am not here condoning divorce as a simple way out. No, not at all. But I do believe, my readers, we are all adults enough to understand that after a trial period of trying to work out your differences in a relationship and realizing that a means to the end of your dispute are nowhere in sight, you then make the educated decision to end things for the wellbeing of you both. And not to mention the wellbeing of your children if there are any. It’s a common misconception that children of divorced parents suffer personality and mental challenges throughout their lives. I, fortunately if you will, fully disagree with this notion. And in no way I am trying to offend you if you feel otherwise. I am just speaking for me; please keep that in mind.
I was but 4 when my parents divorced and 7 when my stepfather came into the picture. I am not going to lie to you here and say that it did not cause a little upheaval on my part as a very young girl, but it was all part of the process of change. As with any other family issue, communication being the key, this, too, was of course a matter my mother made sure to discuss and help me understand and to cope with as I grew up. I also will not lie to you and say I cozied up to my stepfather right away. Oh no, it actually took a while—a pretty long while, too. I respected him as the father figure in my life, but I refused to open up till I was grown enough to let go of irrational, emotional feelings as a youth.
What this man did for me is beyond the count of words allowed for me on this blog. I was actually not sure what I would write about this time and was looking for inspiration when a couple of nights ago I was entranced looking at my husband playing with his sons and with the notion of Father’s Day coming up; it hit me. I just knew I had to write about him. The man who raised me gave me two older brothers, which he had adopted before meeting my mom. And then he further blessed me with my three younger brothers—sons of his own. As a family of six kids, we later adopted another brother down the years. So yes people, I have six amazing brothers now; all because of this man who raised me.
It might be cliché, but I’ll go ahead and say it: he literarily is the best father I could have ever asked for. With all his flaws and his strict rules and his ways, he still has instilled in me so much of the core values I live by. I am a kind person because of him. I am a loving person because of him. I am an honest person because of him. I am a strong person because of him. I even have his ridiculous OCD tendencies and not to mention our lack of abilities to tell jokes; we have left that to my mom. But seriously, I would have never thought I would appreciate all his lectures and scolding as I was growing up as I do now as an adult and as a parent. I was compelled to write about him because thinking about it, Mother’s Day is celebrated so much more than Father’s Day for most. Societally, we kind of forget to honor, remember, reflect and thank our fathers.
“In the darkest days, when I feel inadequate, unloved and unworthy, I remember whose daughter I am and I straighten my crown.”
Of course my mother is my heaven, my breath; but my father is my rock. His advice might be harsh to the ears but real to the heart and needed for my soul. His hugs may be few in comparison to mom’s, but his encouraging smile is way more than millions in my account. His conversations may be short, when compared to hours of the phone calls with my mom, but his are to the point and just the right words. My mom will say, “Ayzosh, inen – (don’t worry, I’m here).” The man who raised me, my father will say, “In’nas? – (so what?),” and, “Te’ne’shi! Lelas! – (get back up! on to the next one!/what else?)” This blog is dedicated to all you fathers out there, and to all of readers’ fathers. I continue to shine and re-straighten my crown throughout life’s ups and downs as a proud daughter of his. As for me, I am Awesome because of him!
Written by: Marthe Nzokou Giday