I’m thinking up the best way to surprise him. He’ll be turning 62 and that’s so much of a milestone. You see, he was born on April Fool’s day and to make him enjoy his birthday, he must sweat it a little, see? Like we did to him some time ago. So I’m thinking of springing a very early surprise on him. Oh boy, I’ll enjoy this.
He’s been a wonderful dad for all these years and I remember when he turned 50, he came home from work to a very silent house. No one went out to meet him and he carried all his stuff inside himself. It was not usual though. We were spying on him from the kitchen as he collected all his stuff and put them over one arm and closed the door to the car with the other hand, before locking it. Five stubborn kids and our mother! He walked his usual wedding procession walk onto the porch, stopped a little as if to read off the newspapers we had left on the table and continued the journey on towards the living room door. We scurried quickly, all of us, falling over each other as we did so, just in time to pick our seats behind the dining table before he opened the door to the living room. “Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you…” we started singing. He looked up and over his head hang flowers, and on the tables too. We had changed the look of the living room and were sitting behind the table, lunch served and waiting for him. One fine afternoon.
He was smiling as we sang the song and our mum couldn’t help but join him smile. After all, it was her plan to set this up. And you could see that Daddy was very perplexed. Pleasantly perplexed, that is. The food on the table was his favourite fufu and a whole fat chicken had been killed for the occasion. No one told him. Drinks were served and displayed all over the table too. He settled quickly, told us all how he appreciated us and what we had just done, and then the eating began. We continued to share memories and jokes about how long he will live and what we will become, what we will treat him to, the stuff kids are always blabbing about. We were all so happy. Biting chicken away too.
After lunch, we presented to him an electric doorbell we had bought for his yet-to-be completed house. A house that is large enough that each of his five children has two rooms in it. It was a beautiful occasion.
This is what I’ll do. I’ll write him a poem, call him up tomorrow and read it to him. After all, I’m a poet. That’s what I can offer. Oh boy, this should be fun. Here the poem goes. Straight with no review.
It may just have been a dream
That we dreamt yesterday
Just a sigh
That we heaved our lives away
Our many fretting songs
Because we had gone wrong
And you reserved a pure scolding for us.
But now we understand.
That every raise of your hand
Was a straightening rule
Every raise of your voice
Was a call to the shinier us
And every moment you called the shinier us
Was because you loved us
Words are too unsanctified
To tell you what you mean to us
And so this poem is a poor tribute
To a man so dignified, true.
But we write it…
The best we can record for eternity
To remember that in you is the best dad
That roamed the earth…
The best dad the world has ever known
The best dad the world will ever know..
We love you, daddy.
It just turned 12:00am on 1st April. My brother just sent a text reading “Today is dad bday” and I understand. We never forget our dad’s birthday.
I sent him a text telling him to read this page in a few minutes. But maybe I should have sent a text that read that today is 475 days since he died. A typical April Fool’s post. A typical April Fool’s poem I have written now. A typical April Fool’s text it would have been.
God moves still. #GRACE and #MERCY.
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