By Bunmi Sofola
Some five months ago, Earnest, a chartered accountant who’d just ventured into going it alone in his private firm, became a father for the first time. He’s still in awe of what he termed “a miracle and God’s priceless gift to us”.
According to him, “My son’s coming has turned me upside out. All those things that seemed essential to me have, in the past days, taken on a different colour. Like many young unattached professional men I know, I have lived a life that on occasion has veered along the edge – parties, reckless relationships, you name it. In a world of insecurity and ambition and ego, it is easy to be drawn in, to take chances with your life, to believe that what we do and what people say about us is reason enough to gamble with life.
“How I got married was not such an event. I’d known Clair for a few years., but I’d other girlfriends too. Then she got pregnant and, for the first time in my life, the abortion didn’t feature. I was 32, a few of my friends were already married and Clair seemed keen to give it a go, so we got married. But as the baby grew inside her, I became curious.
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Who was I bringing into the world? I imagined what it would look like. Would it be a boy? A girl perhaps? And now that he is here, days have melted into nights and back again. Clair and I are learning a new grammar – a long sentence whose punctuation marks are feeding and winding and nappy-changing. Clair’s mother had offered to help and she’d stayed for a few weeks until Clair, could cope with looking after our son, helped by a maid she had hired for us.
“I was never ired of watching the baby suckle contentedly. And my dear wife, who’s always been a designer freak, is often more tired than I have ever known her, yet she’s happier.. I’ve learned to give her a break and look after our son from time to time. These are my moments too – moments when I gaze into my son’s sleeping face, listening to his occasional sigh and gurgle and I wonder how I could ever have thought that all that chasing after fame and fortune was sweeter than this wonder I’ve helped create.
“It is times like this that I’m pained, haunted more like, by the memory of each suffering child I have come across. To say the truth, it is almost too much to bear at this moment to even think of children being hurt and abused and even killed. Looking at my son gives me a flash-back on an abusive father who was glued to the bottle. I was the first of five children and the memory of my mum is not a pleasant one.
“Money was scarce and the little there was paid for the alcohol to which my father has become addicted. The cancer of alcoholism ate away at my dad until mum died prematurely. We were then left to be raised by our maternal grandparents.
They did their best but I always hated the way people looked at us with pity. Some had seen our father weaving and stumbling from one cheap beer parlour to the other. Though I loved my father, I was ashamed of him. Before the drink possessed him, I remember the time he showed us off proudly at parties, the few things he bought us, and the stories he told once in a while.
“Thank goodness I was a brilliant scholar and had a good education due to a few scholarships I was awarded. My siblings haven’t done so well for themselves, but they’ll get by. I help from time to time and when dad died last year, we were all he had to give the semblance of a good burial.
How could he waste away his life like that? A man who’d had a fairly basic education? Only, he couldn’t hold down a decent job – the booze always won. When I went to clean his room at the insistence of his younger brother who graciously gave him a room in his house, the room was full of old cheap gin bottles and clothes.
I noticed that he had kept all the letters I and my siblings had written to him. Letters and photographs from years ago. For all those years, they were his link with the family that was lost to him. Then I noticed a Bible lying on the bed. It lay open, and I noticed that he had underlined the sentence: “Lord let me hear thy mercy in the morning, for I have hoped in thee …”
“When my son is older, he will learn how complicated life becomes, how people can easily lose their way, and get hurt inside and out. I’ll also let him know that when he let out his first powerful cry in the delivery room where I’d gone to watch the miracle of his emergence into the world, and I became a father, I thought of my own father.
“And foolish though it may seem I wish he were here to see his first grandchild. To witness the sound of hope in your first lustful cry, a new beginning, that you, in all your innocence and freshness, have brought into the world …”
Shock treatment (Humour)
A woman sees a teenager crying in the doctor’s surgery. When she finds out what’s wrong, she immediately storms in to see the GP. “Did you tell that girl she’s pregnant?”, she demands. “I did”, the doctor smiles. “That’s not funny at all!”, the woman snaps, furious. “I agree”, the doctor says. “But it did cure her hiccups!”
Whatever it takes! (Humour)
A young man walks past his elderly neighbour’s house and sees the husband sitting in the front garden with no trousers or pants on. “Excuse me”, the young guy calls out. “Are you ok? Why are you only wearing a shirt?”
“It’s my wife’s idea”, the old man replies, smiling. “You see, the last time I sat out in the garden, I didn’t wear a shirt and I got a stiff neck”.