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DADDY DIARIES: Fulfilling Fatherhood

Tuesday November 26 2019

FATHER, FATHERHOOD

Let that young boy or girl feel the presence and warmth of fatherhood. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK 

HILLARY LISIMBA
By HILLARY LISIMBA
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I, like many Kenyans, recently watched in anger as a one-time Kenyan soldier led the police to the shallow graves of his wife and kids.

I wondered where a man gets the cold heart to ignore the innocent look in the eyes of two beautiful children and hack them to death.

It must take next level evil to be that brutal, especially to young ones in whose veins your blood runs.

As a father, nothing can explain how fulfilling that position is, one that was handed to me by a shrill cry in a delivery ward. That first cry changed my mindset completely, elevating me from just a man to a father.

INCOMPARABLE
I cannot comprehensively explain, through words and pictures, the satisfaction that comes with being called "daddy." It is incomparable.

As if that is not enough, it comes with this superman feeling whenever the young one gets stuck with something and rushes to me for help.

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There was this day I was at the mall and got him a pack that had like 12 little cars. He was excited, but then it dawned on him that all those cars need a road of their own, so he questioned why I did not buy the road too.

I told him it was not possible to install a road in our house because we are middle class citizens with medium sized houses where we jostle for space with furniture and fittings.

“So if you can’t do that, who else can?” he quipped.

You see, it was a mock question, but then again it held the message that in his eyes I was the one man who can fix anything. I was challenged, because he seems to be the only individual in the world who believes in me 100 percent, ignoring all the inadequacies I have as a human being.

The disclaimer is that it takes one to be a hands-on father to understand all these things I’m saying, not one who sees things from the sidelines.

It explains why some months back there was a documentary in which men who once lived as family broke down in tears because their partners supposedly denied them access to their children. I understood them, totally.

I would honestly lose my mind if you took my boy away from me for an unknown period, without any form of contact. I’d rather go nuts shouting myself hoarse because of his never ending misdemeanour.

As long as no one gets injured we shall replace the few unlucky things he breaks, but let him goof while with me.
ABSENT FATHERS
Being in his life has also given me the opportunity to keep up with his changing outlook on life. If I only spent 2017 with him I would be assuming his do or die animation is Finding Nemo, because we watched that thing so many times and the urge remained tops.

These days he says a firm NO or even cries when you select the same animation, so if someone bought him a present embossed in Nemo art it would be thrown away the same day.

Those are the little embarrassments I am saved because I know how things progress. We are now in the season of Mr. McQueen; probably next year he will have discovered something totally unrelated.

This piece is therefore for fathers who are absent in their children’s lives, and absent does not only mean deadbeats, it includes those that share a roof with the family but hardly interact with their offspring.

If you are absent, please create time to spend with that young one when it is this early, and make amends if need be. That is not only your blood but there’s also a whole world in them for you to learn and enjoy.

Make parenting mistakes and learn from them; like I did when I once parked by the roadside to let him pee because he was too pressed to make it to the next gas station. It has been a year of rectifying that mindset, thank God we are now over it. Fyuks.

Do not wait for next week or month because you are not sure you will see it. Let that young boy or girl feel the presence and warmth of fatherhood.

Separation or divorce, however messy it was, keep in touch with your children. On the same point, ladies should also be gracious enough to separate children from a fight with their father, unless he poses a security risk to them like that rogue soldier.

As a closing note I have a little homework for you; move around and ask 10 men if they know their father’s birthday, favourite food and colour.

Now ask the same men how many have ever walked into a shop to get a gift for their old men. For those that say they have, ask how easy it was for them to choose what present to buy.

Share your findings with us on [email protected]

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