Thoughts. Ramblings. Heavy-hipped. Mango-obsessed.

My dad...

My dad turned 75 today...and I am so so proud of him for breathing this long, for sticking around, for being fit & healthy, for being a living testimony to the fact that at a quarter to midnight, the bar ain't closed yet!, the fat lady's still singing. I'm glad he's met his grand-children & great-grandchild and that his life hasn't been squeezed into a story I have to tell them because he’s no longer around. They can meet him, feel him for the man he is.

I'd also like to think the love of a good woman had something to do with it too! My mum & dad have been together for over 40 years. I watch them – he adores the woman! – would do anything for her – he's like a love-sick puppy – and my mum still plays hard to get at times like she ain't interested. They go through these cute phases together – one minute, they're obsessed with nothing but fried rice, next minute it’s fruit smoothies, a couple of months ago, it was a 'let's-stay-up-til-insane-hours-of-the-night-watching-Nigerian-films' phase. It's not always share-and-share-alike though (no, that would be a Hollywood film) – my mum LOVES these cereals called Jordans. He doesn't. My dad boils and drinks the juice from this really bitter leaf called Onugbu which he believes 'invigorates' him. My mum hates it. But I’m like, if she gets to benefit from this renewed sense of energy (if you get my drift), then it's all good! There was a time when they were both glowing and I KNOW she ain’t touched the stuff! More power to 'em!

He's a strong, funny, very very loving man, my dad - he tells me he loves me all the time – in a world where men aren't necessarily encouraged to express their true feelings – are told to bottle them up - 'be a man', whatever that means – well, it takes a human 'being a human' to be a man.

I remember back in the days in Nigeria when it was an abomination for a woman to wear trousers, you were considered an 'ashawo' (a whore) if you did. But my mum put on her jeans and a pair of shades and strolled casually down the street – and my dad walked beside her in his jeans and shades – holding hands. I was about 9 when that happened and it's an image I'll NEVER forget – will always be grateful to them for that.

I saw him in a pair of jeans the other day - for the first time in a very long time. He looked adorable – kept on asking me if the jeans looked good with the trainers he had on.

I wrote this for him a while back:


I was born with Kente cloth wrapped round my umbilical cord, a brown spoon in my mouth to match my skin, and dirt under my fingernails, hands defiantly clutching the soil I once danced on.

The entrance into the world was relatively easy for me - familiar. I had already rehearsed it four times through the eyes of my older siblings. But yet, when the time came, I thought it would be best to cry like the rest of them, for I'd been warned by my brothers and sisters, that if I didn’t cry, I'd get pinched by the nurse. If I didn't cry, I’d be known by all the brown-sugar babies in the world as the 'Un-cry' baby. My reputation would be ruined before I could even crawl. And so I cried and cried and cried. I cried 'til the whole hospital knew I existed, 'til the walls were encrusted with my tears, 'til the cows came home and went back to pasture. I cried…

...and then I stopped

'cos this man - called himself 'Da Da' - picked me up.

'Cos he was crying too...

I felt his afro-haloed face move towards mine, his big, beautiful, black nose press up against my cheek, and his lips press sanctuary onto my bloody forehead.

I didn't have to be washed - his tears did that. Didn't even have to be weighed - his undying affection for his sweat-tired Nigerian queen matched mine for his - pound for pound.

His ‘Da Da’ breath escaped an 'Afum gi n'anya - I love you' into my ears.

I knew we'd be best friends for life.

I love the guy – I think he's an amazing human being. Glad I met him.

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