Dad, he’s something weirdly cool
BY JOAN KANYI
There are so many depressing stories about fathers, that a happy one seems not to pack a punch. I am glad and fortunate to have grown up in a functional home with a present dad, yet the interwebs this year seem to be so full of dead, bad, and absent fathers, that I wonder if I shouldn’t skimp on my dad’s goodness just to make a lunch-table friend.
My father is still alive. He lives with my mother, whom he has called “my dear” for as long as I can remember. He calls me “mum”. We talk a lot. Long, windy, conversations about death, Vera Sidika, and everything in between. We laugh. We hug. We take photos while grinning and holding hands. Next time I see him we will take selfies. My father walked me down the aisle, and there are no indications that he has overtly threatened my husband. My father tells me he loves me even when it is not my birthday.
My father is not perfect. Who is? But I fail to see what it is about him that isn’t perfect. To me – and I am old enough to see him for what he is – he is everything and a potato garnish. The effort he put in to give us a home address in a swanky neighborhood, an education in reputable schools, and to be there, present for my brother and I, more than negates any misjudgments he may have made in the process of being a dad. That’s rudimentary math.
Here is something weirdly cool. My face is a carbon print of my dad’s, from shiny forehead to double chin. But he is clearly masculine, and I am not a masculine female. Amaze-balls, eh?
I thank God that my father is alive, but I worry a lot about when he will die. I do not want my dad to suffer at all. I hope he doesn’t get senile and forget my name. Or plant his dentures in the garden near the chicken. Peeing in the shower is allowed though. My brother can’t have got it from nowhere. I pray that dad lives long enough to see his grandkids. I pray that he lives long enough for me to buy him a car. I want to buy him a small big car. A Rav4 perhaps. A white one that he and I shall secretly name after his last girlfriend before my mum. To make him even prouder of me than he seems to already be.
Dad, the private man
BY ALEYA KASSAM
I asked my dad what makes a great father. Deadpan, he said
“At the hospital, before they give you the crying, wrinkled, body fluid covered mini human being, they hand you a leather bound manual with detailed diagrams, instruction list and complete FAQ section. Wonder if they still do that, now with Uncle Google on the scene.”
“I tossed away the manual.”
Ah my dad. My worthy sparring partner in our endless battle of wits.
“Aleya, I always came home after work; I never went to the bar. It starts there.”
My father is a very principled man, but he also has mischief in him
Every Sunday a whisky bottle is opened and my dad presides with great drama over the making of his curry. The five hours it takes is filled with fantastical stories. He periodically stirs the sufuria, and tosses in random spices, guffawing loudly at his own jokes. He has the kind of laugh that bubbles over, infecting everybody around. It has mirth, his laugh. By the time the damn curry is ready, everyone is so inebriated, boiled cockroaches would taste good. We are wise to your ways, pops! You don’t need to get us drunk to cover up your suspect cooking.
The other day he was looking at a letter he found in his briefcase.
9th February 1990,
My deerest, darlingest, most handsumest papa
I hope you have a nice trip to Jermani. We will miss you so much.
Pleez bring for me pink shoos, with blak polka dots, a blue ribon on the front and 22 green seekwins all over.
You are the best pops ever.
I used to slip notes into his briefcase when he travelled, for him to discover on the plane. I was very specific about my requests, and always a charmer. It didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now. My dad doesn’t believe in that princess crap. I never did get those shoes, but he kept my letter till now. He may not tell me that he loves me, and is allergic to hugs, but the truth lies hidden in the little details.
The last time we shared a bottle of whisky, I mustered up the courage to read him my blog. It was the first time I had shared my writing with him. My dad is a very private man. He does not approve of ‘BookFace’ or ‘Tweeter’, and I was nervous about his response.
He looked at me through bushy overgrown eyebrows,
“It’s good Aleya. When you start raking in the millions, don’t forget your old man.”
I got warm and fuzzy, and leapt over to hug him, at which point he said,
“Enough of that mushy stuff. Pour me another, and don’t be stingy.”
Pops, this Father’s Day, let’s open a bottle, throw away the cork, and toast to tossing away the manual.
Dad, everything I am spins from him
BY CLEO MAINA
I’m one of four daughters that my parents brought into this world. My dad has endured the rigorous life that goes with being the only man in the house. I am yet to meet anyone more patient, more giving, more understanding than dad. We talk every day; give each other pet names (he hates when I call him “old man” but likes “Gathee” or “Mr. Mwangi”) and when I’m in trouble he’s the first person I call. I can tell him anything. He made it okay to be passionate and gave me the confidence that I carry with me to date.
One of the benefits of receiving so much love from a father is you have a lot more love to give. And you learn how to give it unconditionally to everyone you meet, and that has earned me the ‘Mother Hen’ title by my friends. I am the ultimate cock blocker; you can’t take advantage of any of my friends. I also tend to take over people’s problems and make them my own.
My dad is the last born in a family of five. My grandparents died when I was very young and I never got to know them. Because my dad didn’t have any sons, custom dictates that he should not inherit any land from his parents. Sad, I know. But he would have none of that. My dad went to court and fought for us. It didn’t matter the amount of time, money and energy that it took but he did. His children were going to be taken care of even if it meant ruining his relationship with his siblings. Eventually he won. Dad is resilient.
I was born and raised in Nyeri and he worked in Nairobi. He would travel every Friday and we put on a show. We would all get on the table as kids and dance and sing and my dad would be the audience, cheering us on while my mum made us snacks before we went to sleep. That little show gave all of us confidence from a young age and a high self-esteem.
My dad has greatly influenced the men I date. I am the ultimate sapiosexual. I find it impossible to date a man who is not intelligent, I get bored. I find that I am attracted to a man who challenges my mind and makes me think, like dad does. He has greatly raised the bar for the men I choose to date. I also find myself dating men who are older and more mature than me. I like respectful men. Like dad.
He has also influenced the music I listen to. I grew up with a lot of Michael Bolton, Judy Boucher, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton music. The songs from that era are synonymous with some of the happiest moments of my life growing up.
I am so lucky to have him. I know it. This Father’s Day I celebrate this man and all those dads who light up their daughter’s lives. Anyone can be a father but it takes a special breed to be a dad, like mine is.
Happy Father’s Day Mwas! I Love You!
Dad, he’s that guy
BY TANU KYANY’A
Cool, calm and collected, he will stand in front of a group and you will be able to pick him out. Not because of his tall, brown nature, but because he commands an aura of dominance yet also of humility. He might not talk much, but when he does, you will notice he did. Sounds like what everyone will say about their dads, right?
Having a diplomat for a mum meant we spent most of our time with our father. ‘We’ are the five kids of that house. Most of the things I learnt from this man. I learnt how to cook, how to tend to the flower garden we had, how to stand up for myself, how to shut up when need be and heck, how to tell jokes! I remember one time he was driving and I asked what ‘the water on the tarmac’ in front of us was and he told me that that was God’s way of making sure that the tarmac doesn’t melt. That that water is holy no wonder cars cannot run over it. I believed him. Smh…
There are moments when life isn’t all a bed roses and that man took them with all the humility and perseverance he could. There was a time he lost his job but we came to know about it years later. In front of us he remained strong. Then there was this time thieves decided to shake our household by shooting him. I remember we watched him lose blood at the entrance of our house, but in his eyes we could see a fighter who wasn’t about to die before us. The only one time I’ve seen my father cry was at his father’s burial. He gripped my hand tighter and I looked at him and there it was; one, maybe two tears: An indication that even strong men are allowed to show emotion at times.
When I started my menses in school dad didn’t shy away from buying sanitary towels. We were his girls. He never missed a visiting in school and when he couldn’t make it, he sent my elder siblings. Of course they wouldn’t be as early as him, but they showed up. My father is that guy who always comes through.
My friends laugh at me when I tell them that I want a husband who’s like my dad. I look at the way he treats his wife and I want that too with someone like him.
If I’m half the person my Dad is, then by Jove, I’m ready to take on this world I think.
So thanks Dad for molding me into the kind of lady I am today.
Happy Father’s Day Dad,