As a little girl I loved to play. I would play in the garden for hours, running around with make believe friends and concocting all sorts of shapes with heaps of sand. When the sun hid its light, I played in the full glare of our hall way lights, sometimes running up and down the stairs for reasons I do not now remember. One day, my little foot slipped and I found myself ruffled, at the bottom of the stairs. Before the tears could well up, my father was at my side, scooping me into his arms and soothing my throbbing head with his palms.
“My darling daughter, did the stairs make you fall”?
I nodded slowly as the tears trickled down, my head buried at the nape of my father’s neck. The memory of what happened next was something so amazing, it has stayed with me forever.
My father began to ‘beat’ the stairs.
“Naughty stairs, you made my darling daughter fall!” “Naughty stairs” he shouted repeatedly as he stomped his feet on the marble stairs.
This action, managed to compensate me enough for the tears to stop and a smile to appear. Before long I was back in the hallway running around for no apparent reason.
My life is littered with many similar funny, sweet moments with my father. Each moment revealing to me the kind of man he is, and the kind of traits one may find necessary to have in a husband. Off course, I realize that asking any man to live up to the ‘ideal’ my father has set is both a tall order and unfair to any prospective suitor and is perhaps likely to keep me in singleville much longer than I’d hoped. However, in this treacherous land of singledom it is important to have standards. Realistic standards, that govern your choices of who you let into your life and who to keep out.
I realize my father isn’t perfect, no one is and my future husband doesn’t have to be. But there are certain character traits, I have seen in my father that I believe are necessary for any man I hope to have a life with to have.
One, is prayer. The first person I ever saw have a daily, morning and evening prayer pattern was my dad. He’d roll out of bed onto his knees, make the sign of the cross with his head bowed down and spend a considerable amount of time praying. It was only after that would he speak to any of us. Evening time was the same, he’d emerge from his room, switch off the TV which had my brother and I glued to it and say “let us pray’. It is this life of prayer that has given my family the strength to stand as one unit and weather life’s ups and downs.
Secondly, dedication and hard work. My father started his first job at the age of 19 and was the recipient of many local and international scholarships. He became an obstetrician and gynecologist and after the war, spent most his working years as a civil servant in the Ministry of Health. When he retired he opened his hospital and today, carries on with the profession he loves at the age of 72! That’s the man my father is, simple, focused, determined, ambitious and prayerful. Not particularly given to materialism but wise enough to put enough aside to give his children the best and keep him going through the later years of his life.
That’s the sort of man I want to marry. Not necessarily the man who drives the most expensive cars in Lagos, but a man with foresight, vision and understanding. A man who is able to lead me and my children as God leads him. Off course, he may sometimes make mistakes and fall, but if he is a praying man, God will always make a way for us.
Reading this, there isn’t a doubt that I am the proper definition of a ‘daddy’s girl’ but who can blame me? I talk to my father everyday (sometimes twice a day) and I can unashamedly say my father is one of my best friends. My dad once told me that I was ‘the apple of his eye, and if anything happened to his eyes, he wouldn’t be able to see’. That’s my father- a real smooth talker! But jokes aside, I would want a similar relationship with my husband-a compassionate, affectionate and caring man, who I can unashamedly call my best friend.
That’s not to say my dad and I see eye to eye on everything. We regularly have full blown arguments about everything from the way I dress and my curfew when I was younger, to more recently, my career choice. But even in our arguments, it is clear there is deep mutual love and respect for each other and even more importantly, that we have learnt through the years how to understand each other’s personalities. So in marriage I fully expect to have full blown arguments with my husband. But I hope that regardless of each harsh word spoken in anger, we will always have a foundation of love, respect and appreciation of the differences in our upbringing and personalities.
So to my future husband were ever you may be, make sure you tell my dad a great big thank you on our wedding day!
This piece is dedicated to all the amazing fathers; those who have gone before and those who are still here with us.