Tuesday, 24 October 2017

This Will Touch U..

I never could understand why my father always supported my mother's decisions or opinions even when they were wrong.
And one day, totally frustrated by his unflagging support for her, I blurted it out even before I realised my anger had found a voice.
"Daddy, you know mommy is wrong, why are you agreeing with her?"
He looked at me solemnly and spoke in a measured tone.
"Jude, do as your mother says."
There was a finality in his voice.
And with hot tears in my eyes, I did as she had said.
Later that evening he came up to the upstairs living room, where I sat watching one film after the other and sat at the edge of the couch.
He was quiet as he watched the film with me.
I ignored him.
Then when the film ended, and I stood up to walk to the VCR and replace the film with yet another, he spoke.
"Jude, malice is unbecoming of you."
I ignored him and went about replacing the videotape.
"I am sorry."
Those three words rushed across me like a cool breeze.
I could taste their sweetness on the tip of my tongue.
Still, I ignored him, even as I turned around and walked back to the couch, the new videotape winding to life inside the VCR.
"When you love someone, you never make them look small in front of others. You instead stand by their side in public, and when they err, you correct them in private."
His words welcomed me as I sat back down.
"But you are my father, you are supposed to love me too."
"I love you, but not enough to sabotage the need for you to respect your mother and appreciate her efforts to raise you in the best way she knows how to."
I let it sink in for a moment, then I let my swirling thoughts out.
"But how can you say you love her if you do not let her know when she is wrong?"
He smiled.
"Does she repeat over and over again what you call her mistakes or wrong decisions as it concerns you?"
I thought about it for a moment and shook my head.
"Does she buy you gifts after she has so deeply offended you with her not seeing things exactly as you see them?"
I thought about it again and then slowly nodded my head.
"Are you always right when you say your mother is wrong?"
I thought about the question, deeply and then I slowly shook my head.
"Are there times, I ask your mother to allow me to handle things or times when I explain to you even clearer what your mother wants you to do or times when I explain to her what you are trying to say to her?"
I didn't need to think deeply about the question, I quickly nodded.
"No one knows all the answers, not me, not your mother, not you. We are all trying to make it work. Us being as good a parent as we can be, you being the best son you can be. But we know that nothing you do is because you want to hurt us, please believe same about us too."
It catalyzed me.
"But mommy doesn't get me at all. She always wants to have her way, and she knows that once you get involved, we have no choice but obey, that is why she uses you against us."
He smiled.
It was a knowing smile.
"Your mother doesn't use me. She loves me too much for that. I am her husband, not a weapon."
"But Daddy can't you see what I am trying to say."
"Jude, I knew your mother before you knew her. I loved her even before I loved you. There are things between us you can never know or understand. But when you one day find yourself a wife and you both are faced with raising the child you hopefully will bring into this world, you would understand that a united front in the face of life's challenges is the best way to build a future for yourselves and your family."
I was quiet as I allowed his words sink in.
"Your mother and I love you. We also are human and will make mistakes. But we can not give you the power to play us against each other. Because if we do, then we destroy you in the long run, by making you master how to win in the short run."
I was quiet as I listened.
"It will never be a popularity contest between us as to who loves you the most, but more of a partnership in nurturing. So please, understand that we will correct each other in private and support each other in public so that you do not only do what we say, but you also learn how to work in a team and most importantly how to love."
I looked at him.
He smiled.
"One day Jude, you would understand that sometimes the one who loves, learns how to plant in the night time so that the person who he loves can proudly reap the harvest in the daytime, because a relationship is like farming, and the harvest is what truly matters. You do what you must do to protect and preserve it. The lover is happiest when the loved is happy. Jude, you and your brothers and sisters are our harvests , I would do what I must, to make your mother look good just as she will do to make me look good, as long as our harvests are bountiful."
Just then my mother walked into the living room.
She had a plate upon which was an open newspaper.
There was a massive heap of savoury smelling hot suya on it.
"Alamatoye, so this is where you are hiding."
She announced smiling.
"See what i brought for you."
She extended the plate of suya to me.
I looked at my father.
He smiled.
I smiled.
In that silence.
I finally understood.
The many faces of Love.
I had a father.


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