To me, he was the greatest man alive. He was my hero. My life. My everything. He was the first man I ever loved. The first man who ever showed me love; for the short time that he did.
I remember sitting by the window every Friday, excited like a little kitten, waiting for him. The minute I saw him enter the gate, I would dash out like a lightning bolt shouting “daddy! daddy!” and pounce on him. He would then carry me in his arms and into the house as I asked “daddy umeniletea nini?” Weekends were the best for me; that’s the time he’d come home from the big city where he worked. Of course, the next week would be spent bragging to friends about the gifts he’d brought. Thanks to him I had a collection of every toy a kid can dream of; Susan, the doll with her own bed and pacifier, a remote controlled airplane and a red harmonica that gave everyone migraines whenever I played it.
I loved sitting on his lap and pulling the little hairs on his beard. I loved the times he’d pretend to be a horse and carry my sister and I on his back as we sang” farasi kongoriko wawili tereza”, after which he’d drop us on the carpet at the end of the song. And we’d laugh and laugh and ask for another round. It was amazing.
But, sadly, that didn’t last too long. He found a new love. One who was demanding and selfish. And with time, the one two bottles he’d take on Saturdays became one too many. Eventually, it turned him from the hero I adored, to a villain I feared.
See that’s the thing about us girls. A dad means the world. He is the first man in our life. The first man who gets a shot at showing us who a man really is. He gives us the definition of a man. And not the textbook one. The real life, practical one.
He is the one who teaches us how to tie our shoe lace and ride a bike. How to swim and do math homework. He is the one who sets the standard for the man, or men, we allow in our lives.The man supposed to tell us how beautiful we are, the way we are, before another comes and feeds us with lies of what beautiful is.
Or at least that’s how I imagine it.
Unfortunately, the man I first loved turned into a stranger. A stranger who did nothing but hurl insults at my mom, sisters and I. A stranger who made us spend sleepless nights when he arrived home at 3 am and quarreled for the rest of the ‘night’. Who gave no care to whether or not we ate or went to school. Life can change overnight. People change overnight.
He broke my heart, but the day I heard him say he wished my mother gave birth to boys because girls are worthless, he crushed my heart. The day he put my beautiful mother in hospital, almost costing her life, he crushed my heart.
The definition I had of my amazing dad was tarnished. I no longer sat down by the window waiting for him. Instead, I lay in bed petrified, praying and hoping he wouldn’t come home.
And as I grew up, the hate and bitterness in my heart grew as well. To the point where just the mere mention of his name or thought of him, made me feel pain. Real pain in my heart
And it went on for a long time, until I found the man.
The man who replaced what I thought was impossible to replace. The man who taught me my value as a woman. The man who defined to me who a real man is. The man who set a standard for the man I’ll allow in my life. Better still, the man who taught me how to let go and forgive this man who broke my heart.
At times I sit down and look out my window, as I reminisce, and a part of me is thankful that life turned out as it did. For out of my heartbreak, I found God. I not only found him but with Him we developed a beautiful intimate relationship . I spent my days crying over the pain of my experience, that this post barely describes, and he held and comforted me through it all. There are days I literally felt like he was hugging me as I cried out to him in bitterness. And eventually, with time, the pain subsided and I forgave him. I even call him these days and before I hang up I tell him how much I love him. And I do.
But most importantly I found God. I found a father.
I know fellow girls whose self esteem was ruined by their dads, some who’ve never met the guy and some who were even molested. And it can mar a girl’s life in all kinds of ways. Some end up hating men, others in relationships with men who are an exact replica of their dads. Others live like prisoners chained by unforgiveness and bitterness.
I can’t say that I totally understand you, because it’s never the same for any of us. I can’t feel what you feel. You can’t feel what I feel. But I know of a man who completely understands what you feel. Who knows the depths of your heart. That man can heal the hurt and restore that relationship you never had. In Him you’ll find a father and a friend, a confidant and a comforter.
I found that man. I found Jesus and He changed my life. And guess what, He can do the same for you.