Who says no one remembers what happened to them as little kids? Who says you can’t remember anything before 10 years old once you become an adult?
I was 5 years old. It was an afternoon in my primary school—Corona School, Victoria Island. I was in nursery class. The school seemed to be in chaos. The usual silence in the school turned into loud voices and footsteps everywhere. I looked out the window, and students were being rushed off by their parents into their cars and being driven away. I heard the word “riot” over and over from teachers who’d convened in my classroom, and also from the mumblings I could hear through the windows.
The teachers told us the school was being closed early due to a riot and that our parents were on their way to pick us up.
A thought immediately flashed through my mind: Daddy is definitely going to pick us up today. Not the driver, but Daddy.
Like most middle-to-upper-class families in Nigeria, we had a driver (sometimes even two) who drove us to and from school and to other places, like birthday parties, shopping, etc. Basically, most parents delegated this chore of driving their kids here, there, and everywhere to drivers who were paid to do this and who often lived on the grounds of the family home.
Our drivers lived in the “boys’ quarters” behind the house, a cottage-like home at the back of property, separated from the family house.
The driver had dropped my older sister and me at school that morning, but I knew for sure my dad would show up instead this afternoon. That was my dad. My dad, whom I’d known from birth. My kindhearted, steadfast father, who showed us unconditional love no matter what we did or what was going on. I was confident he would soon be at the school to pick us up.
As my thoughts waded through my head, my dad, with a smile on his face, walked into the classroom, took my hand, grabbed my bag, and shepherded me to my older sister’s classroom, where he gathered her to us, and we ran to the car, hand in hand. He barely uttered a word. He was super focused on getting us swiftly into the car.
My heart felt at ease. I could breathe comfortably. I felt safe. All worry left my body. I was being driven home by my dad, surrounded by his safety. And I must say, in the best car of the family. He picked us up in the yellow Mercedes Benz! Wow, what luxury! My sister and I didn’t get to ride in this car often. This was Mummy and Daddy’s special car. We had to ride in the “danfo” family car (the Volkswagen—half minivan, with the “bed” area in the back) or in the Santana, a much-older VW.
But today, on this national riot day, where it was unsafe to even be outside, my dad wanted to ensure our utmost comfort and safety. He brought out the luxury car! I noticed, and that meant a lot to me.(I later learned these riots were part of a major political unrest, and college students and other factions had started rioting to protest their discord with the government.)
My dad drove us through areas littered with tree branches, palm tree leaves, and other debris scattered by the rioters. I’d never seen him so focused on his driving, speeding at times, taking back routes just to get us home safely. We did get home safe and sound, and relieved!!
Who says you don’t remember anything before 10 years old? Not true. I remember that day vividly till today! I was 5. I am now 49.
Love from dads matter. Love from moms and dads matter. But there is something about a dad’s love that digs deep, that goes straight to your essence. This is the kind of love I experienced from my dad over and over. He was involved in our education, read every school report thoroughly, attended all school events, meetings, plays, and sports events. He was an engaged, loving dad. Both my parents loved us unconditionally.
My dad was my rock, my superhero, my confidant. With his gentle demeanor, gentle voice, and humble stance, he directed me in many life matters. As I blossomed into a woman, he grounded me and spoke words of wisdom to me that helped me navigate life on many levels. He walked me down the aisle, he offered strength and wisdom during my medical school training, during my decision to start my own practice, during and after my divorce. He was my solid rock.
He passed away in October 2015 at 86 years old.
Even after his passing, he was still inspiring me. I became a writer after his passing. I was so deeply overcome and inspired by his death that I heeded to the urge in my heart, picked up my laptop in December 2015, and started to write—and I haven’t stopped since. I’m writing my third book. One is published. The second is soon to be published. And I’ve written over a 100 blog posts in two years.
My dad. My superhero.
Was your dad your superhero?
Is your dad your superhero?
Do you wish your dad was your superhero?
Was there another dad figure in your life who was your superhero?
How have these experiences shaped you?
Are you a dad reading this blog?
If so, are you fully present in your children’s lives? Fully present?
Do you shower them with a healthy balance of unconditional love, guidance, and discipline?
Or have you been absent in their lives?
You still have time to correct this. Time to make amends and pull your children close. Call your kids today. Ask for forgiveness. Start over. Release the hurt. Your children need you.
As I blossomed into a woman, he grounded me and spoke words of wisdom to me that helped me navigate life on many levels. He walked me down the aisle, he offered strength and wisdom during my medical school training, during my decision to start my own practice, during and after my divorce. He was my solid rock.
He passed away in October 2015 at 86 years old.
Do you know a dad, or mom, or child who needs to read this article? Forward it to them.
Let us collectively make this the best Father’s Day ever. A Father’s Day of forgiveness. A Father’s Day of starting over.
Who wouldn’t want to experience the amazing love of a father like I did? Every child would. Every child yearns for it.
Dads, your children need you. Pick up the phone today. Call them. Visit them. Reconnect with them.