Fatherhood is mostly a thankless job.
As I grow older, I realize this more and more. A lot more praise and gratitude is given to mothers, and their sacrifices are lauded and proclaimed from the rooftops. While I do not have a problem with that, seeing as mothers already have 3 days a year to be appreciated, I will try and keep the focus on fathers today.
Fatherhood is a lifelong, underappreciated job. So much of what fathers do is treated with (not quite) disdain (as a certain sort of comfortable indifference). Fathers are not allowed to blow their trumpets- they are not doing anything special; they are only doing what they are expected to do. A man’s responsibility is to his family, and unlike Nigerian politicians, he is not supposed to demand for a parade and celebratory fireworks simply for fulfilling expectations.
For the most part, fathers do not mind. The onus on a man to provide for his family does not depend on the feedback he receives from them, and so they just put their backs to the task at hand and work to provide for their families.
On days like this, I reflect on how heavy the burden that is fatherhood really is. I am working and earning a living, and with each passing day, I appreciate just how much sacrifice my father had to make to provide for us. There is only so much that can be done with a paycheck, no matter how robust, and paying bills has opened my eyes to the fact that a man often has to ignore his desires and needs so his family is comfortable and not open to ridicule.
It gets even more overwhelming with the realization that fathers are not only head providers, they are heads of the home. That means a father is the head support-giver, the head driver, the in-house handyman, the one who takes the tough decisions, the one who negotiates with armed robbers for the lives of his family, the one who provides a marker for his children, the one who plots the course for the affairs of the family, the spiritual leader in the home, and so much more.
All this with almost no appreciation or recognition. It is true what they say. To be a man (and even more gravely, to be a father) is not a day’s job.
This is for our fathers. We do not always appreciate or acknowledge the extent of what you have to go through for us, but on this day, Father’s Day, we solemnly salute your struggles and sacrifice. We do not always give you the honour and gratitude you deserve, but today, we raise glasses and chins and celebrate you, thankful for what you have done and the roles you have played in our lives. We do not always agree with your decisions and actions, but we who bear your name are today standing under your flag, here to tell you that when the going gets tough, you can keep counting on our support.
We believe in your government.
This is for my father.
They say that by the time a man realizes that his father was right about most things, he already has a son who thinks he is wrong about most things. I have the good fortune of both not having a child yet and appreciating that you were right about a lot of things early on.
We are simultaneously alike and different, two men who are enigmas to everyone else, that are multi-capable and extremely versatile, and will do what it takes, keeping with our principles and conscience, to achieve goals and get results.
I want to say thank you. Every day, as I journey further into this time-space continuum that is life, I appreciate how much of a burden you had to bear for us. Thank you for providing, for guiding, for praying for, for loving in your own way.
Thank you for supporting me, even though you don’t always agree with my decisions. Wole wrote something that is in line with what I feel, and I will paste it here.
“…a mother’s love and care is something special, but a father’s support is worth more than a trailer load of diamonds.”
People say I take after you, and pride swells in my breast. You have taught me how to take charge, how to bear responsibility, and that is something that I treasure greatly. When you call me to check up on the house while you’re away, I feel that warm glow that comes with your trust, with the quiet assuredness that I will not let you down. When mum or one of my brothers calls me to help them solve a problem and they speak with the conviction that I will solve it, I get to work, certain that I will not fail them. You see, you made me think that way. You made me banish excuses from my vocabulary. You made me aware of the delightful little pleasures that come with solving problems and bearing the burden that is responsibility.
More than anything else, I want to make you (and mum) proud of me. There really is no better feeling than a father saying “that’s my son”, and I want you to be able to say that both in my presence and away from me. You know how when after Jesus was baptized the heavens opened and the voice said “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased…”? I want that.
You are a good man, and you have done your best to be a good father. May God bless you and grant you both the life and health to reap the fruits of your travails. May your dreams come true, and may you always be happy.
Happy Father’s Day daddy. I love you.