It was my Daddy who took me to the airport, when I was leaving home for A’Levels in South Africa. When it was time to leave, I started to cry. I cried and cried and cried, while my friend Rebecca held my hand and told me that everything was going to be okay.
While I was crying my daddy stepped outside the waiting hall for “something” in the car.
Later, my mother told me that actually did not go outside for “something.” He went outside to cry and come back as though nothing happened.
That’s one of the sweetest stories I have ever heard.
When I was going to begin school as a young child, my Daddy sent me to the best primary school in Kaduna city, where I grew up. When I grew older, I heard (from the grapevine) that relatives thought it was stupid to send a girl to such an expensive primary school, when of course, she’ll be married off and change her last name.
But my daddy insisted. He was, afterall the one paying the fees, and I was going to get nothing but the best.
When it was time for me to leave primary for secondary school, my Daddy manufactured this school called Loyola Jesuit College. I, and no one close to me, had ever heard about this school, which was in a different city! People around me moved to the secondary school where I attended my primary school, or to nearby schools.
But because my daddy had read that Loyola was #1 in Nigeria, he insisted that I write the entrance exam. I think, perhaps, I got into that school not because of my brains, but because of my daddy’s pure ambition for his daughter to have nothing but the best.
When I was younger, my daddy would sit me down in the sitting room to watch 9pm national news with him (I grew to love this tradition, btw). He would tell me that he wanted me to be like Femi Oke, a news reporter on CNN, who was of Nigerian descent. He wanted me to be like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was personally invited by Nigeria’s President Obasanjo to join his cabinet as minister of finance.
One day, I told my daddy that I wanted to be an actress. I only was pulling his legs, because I expected that no African parent in their right mind (then) would encourage their child to pursue acting.
My daddy told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. He only wanted me to be the best in whatever field I chose.
I have an untamable streak of independence, boldness, and fearlessness in me.
First, that’s because of my relationship with God.
Secondly, that’s because of my daddy.
I’ve grown up knowing that the sky is where I belong.
I told a friend of mine sometime back that even if I returned to Nigeria a teenage mother, my father (and mother) would welcome me with arms wide open.
I have learnt unconditional love from my daddy. I have learnt that even when you don’t have a shot at something, you try anyway, because you never know what could come of you simply trying.
I have learnt that you dream today, plan later, and just go fearlessly in the direction of your dreams.
Through and through, I love my daddy. Because he loved me even before I was conceived.
Haven’t I mentioned here that my father chose the name Alheri for his first born female child, because he believed that she deserved a name that translated to the inexplicable, unmeritable, abounding grace of God?
My name is my guiding star.
Alheri means the blessings of God that cannot be explained. It means the grace of God that follows us, no matter where we are, and no matter what we do.
He is my Alheri, just as I am his Alheri.
And because of my daddy, I am the embodiment of God’s grace, and that grace pursues and overtakes me everywhere I go.
I love my daddy. Thoroughly and truly, I love my daddy.
I could go on and on but this post would get too long. Perhaps do a part 2?
Happy Father’s Day Daddy!
Confession: I cried while writing this haha! It’s the first blog post that has made me cry. Lol. Yeah, I lied when I gave that testimony, I did not cry while writing it, but that’s a discussion for another day.
All the images are from giphy.com