Growing up, I saw my Dad wear torn singlets; he had money for new ones but he just didn’t buy. I thought he was unfashionable. I mean, how could he when he buys me new singlets for school and dresses in old ones instead? “Well, it’s possible he didn’t know” I concluded.
So I made up my mind to point it out to him. “Papa there’s a hole in your singlet” I started, unsure of the response my inquiry was going to elicit from him. He turned around slowly, obviously rummaging his head for an appropriate answer, knowing my age at the time was an impressionable one. “Nna ” he muted pensively; bent to my height now, he clutched me by the shoulders gently as he peered into my eyes and cleared his throat. “I know there’s a hole in my singlet” he answered to my utmost surprise: is there a hole in yours?” He queried with a gleamer of deep fatherly concern in his eyes and I said no.
” I would have been worried if you had holes in yours” he continued. ” The hole is in the right place; I was a trendy man in my early years before you came into my life and changed my priorities. Now, you are my number one priority. It’s no longer about me, it’s all about you now and the best is what I sacrifice to ensure you turn out. Don’t worry, I know you’ll buy me dozens of Singlets without holes when you grow up,” he concluded, smiling reassuringly at me as he sat and fiddled with his Transistor radio in search of the Short Wave station that treated him to old Congo Brazzaville musical tunes; his favourite.
With near- teary eyes, I left his presence in a cacophony of thoughts in attempts to come to terms with the bitter reality of the outcome of my inquiry. His commitment to my welfare confined him to a spartan existence. So sad he passed away without enjoying my duty of gratitude and dozens of Singlets without holes.
Fast forward to the present. What goes around comes around they say; just a few day ago, one of my Sons showed me a hole in one of my Singlets and that, erupted an avalanche of nostalgic memories.
Life is indeed an inescapable cycle! We are our parents’ investments and its up to us to make it count; don’t break their hearts. On the spur of the moment, I celebrate all the Fathers out there who cry silent tears and remain stoic in the face of vagaries of challenges to give their families the very best in present day Nigeria. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown; Gentlemen, keep holding forth, last last we shall all overcome by God’s Grace!