By: Favour Ajayi
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According to my mum, dad couldn't take his eyes off me on the faithful Tuesday night she had me back in 1991. She said he literally had me in his arms all through the night.
You know the thing is, as a new father, you don't really know how to be a great dad. You don't even know how to be a dad. You are basically looking at this tiny little creature you have just brought into the world hoping to do your best as a father. But the amazing thing about childhood is that we depend on our parents for everything, so this makes them comfortable because they know that as long as we are happy, then they are doing their best as parents.
But then we grow up and we start demanding the things we want. I think it's like déjà vu again, only this time you have a grown child. Yes, your little girl is no longer little at least in her own eyes. But the best daddies are packed with bags of patience. They always tolerate us without exceptions.
My father is an exceptional man. I remember the day I came home from school in tears because I wanted a change of name. Come on, I was only 5 and everyone in my class somehow knew Linda meant serpent, so they were all laughing at me and for this reason I really wanted to change my name. My dad was so sympathetic, but instead of changing my name as I wanted he told me the reasons why he had named me Linda over a bowl of ice cream. He said when he was in high school, he had a friend named Linda. She was the head girl at the time. According to him, Linda was so beautiful, intelligent, smart and very quiet. So he had always wanted a girl as his first child because he wanted her to have all of Linda's characteristics, well, mostly the ones he knew and liked. So when he had me, he named me Linda but as y'all know, that kinda changed when I grew up.
Growing up, I was really close to my dad. It was so bad that my sisters were even jealous at some point. Sometimes they argued that I'm dad's favourite because I was always first in my class. The truth is, I think I was close to him because I always did what he wanted. My mum was also jealous that some point because I once told her I preferred dad to her. But that's not true anyways. I think I love them both equally.
Now, I'm not saying I've had a perfect relationship with my dad because that would be the lie of the century. Even though we've had great times, we've still also had misunderstandings. Like the time he made me stay up all night editing a document for him because I was fifth in my class, or the time I didn't speak to him because he didn't buy a new TV for the sitting room even though he just bought one for my room, and there was the time when I was 17 when we argued because I had a boyfriend, or when I decided to study IT instead of Engineering. Yes, we've had issues, but he's been great and supportive through it all. Even if he didn't attend my first ballet dance show which most probably is because I never even had one (lol) or if he didn't allocate movie night when were growing up, he sure has been a great dad anyways.
He has always been there at every point in my life. Right from birth, through elementary school, down to primary school. I remember how he use to take me to Mr Biggs every time I came home with a great result or the time he bought me three new dresses because I was named Head Girl at Maxine And Private School and there was this time he got a music teacher for my sisters and I because he know he knew we loved it. Then through high school, dropping me off, picking me up, realizing I was old enough to take care of myself or realizing how much I love gadgets and was always buying them for me because not only didn't he want me to lack anything, he didn't want me to result in having to sleep with a guy in order to get the things I wanted. I remember when he was always buying me gifts on Valentine's day because I didn't have a boyfriend and he didn't want me feeling out of place amongst my friends. Buying me my first PC or even deciding to send me to study in the UK even though that at time I was not so sure he could even afford it, but he did it anyways because he wanted the best for me. And even after 21 years, the list is still way too long.
So Dad, if you're reading this, what I'm trying to say is, I appreciate everything you've done for me most especially the tiny little ones you can't even remember. I remember there was this time during the summer in 2011, I was crying all night and you were so worried that even though you couldn't talk to me about it you still didn't sleep that night until you were sure I was okay. (Don't be surprised I know this, mum told me. She said it was the first thing you spoke to her about when she woke up the next morning).
I really don't know what to say, or the best ways to express how I really feel. That's why I've come to pour my heart out in a place that is so close and really dear to my heart and I'm hoping you'll get a glitch of how proud I am to have you as a father.
It's your birthday today. I wish you the most amazing year and I hope you have a fantastic day. I pray the Almighty God grant every of your heart desires and make you grow in every area of your life. I pray he'll help you remain the man that you are and even give you the grace to be better. You shall grow in strength, wisdom, knowledge and understanding and whatever it is you lay your hands upon shall prosper. I also pray that the word of God shall never depart from your heart and mouth, and like you already do, you'll continue to medicate on it day and night doing according to everything that is written in it. I pray that The Lord Almighty will lift you up among all your peers, so high beyond your own imagination making you a role model not only to your children but to the entire world. Happy Birthday dad.
Thank you for making me an extraordinary strong and independent woman. God bless and keep you to reap the fruit that you worked so hard to sow.
So on behalf of Merit, Ife, Ruth, Best and myself, I would like to wish you a very Happy Birthday and many happy returns. Long life and prosperity. Also, Happy 25th Anniversary to you and Mum. We love you both dearly.
Anybody can be a father, but only a real man can earn the title "Daddy". Mine on the other hand is a real man :) So Dad, I want you to know I couldn't have asked for a better man to bring me to this world. And just so you know, you've earned the title to be called Dad with distinctions.
Happy Birthday to my very own Superhero. I love you daddy.
Lots and lots of Love,
Favour A Ajayi.
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