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Opinions of Sunday, 19 June 2016

Columnist: Andoh, Isaac Kyei

The cry of a father

My dear child
Barely a month ago, together with you, we celebrated your mother and to an extent every woman. Even women who don’t deserve to be recognised were not discriminated against.

On that day, your Whatsapp and Facebook profile picture did not feature your usually twisted-lips selfie poses but that of your mother. Your status read: You are the best mum in the whole wide world' In fact, you kept posting some nice things mum did all day on Facebook.

On that day, we did not look at women who failed in their duties, we did not talk about women who have aborted innocent kids and don’t recall anyone talk about how some mums pamper their children until they become societal misfits. No, it wasn’t the time to dwell on that or shift the focus to the negatives when there are so many positive things mums do. It was time to look at the pain of carrying a baby in the womb for nine months, breast feeding the baby and spending sleepless nights to ensure you are okay.

It was time to look at the cost that came with it: the sagging breast, the big stomach and the loss of that once beautiful shape which made them the centre of attraction everywhere they found themselves
It was time to talk about the hugs and the empathy they show in things concerning you. It was time to talk about how you run to them when it appeared everyone has rejected you. It was time to look at motherhood

Today is FATHERS DAY, it is our day. With mother’s day fresh on my mind, I have good basis for comparison. I am not in any way competing with your mum but I want to see the extent to which my good deeds are overlooked in favour of the few negatives as has always been the case. I am not asking you to use my picture for your dp- you know I pay very little attention to such things. As a matter of fact, you haven’t done it anyway. All I am asking of you is to remember the good I did

When your mum carried you in her womb for 9 months, I carried you in my heart over the same period of time. As mum went through the physical pain, I got drained mentally and emotionally. On my meagre salary, I spent sleepless nights thinking and planning of how to take care of you and your mum upon your arrival. I counted each day, made my deductions to the extent that I could tell the day, the minute and the second you will arrive- all things being equal
I didn’t bother about the fact that your mum will be disfigured because of you and she will no more be the woman she used to be- I stood by her, loved her and overlooked the temptations on the streets, in my office and even in the church.

I readjusted to the changes your mum went through and in the process my own world where I deemed your mum’s looks and shape better than Mrs Malaika so that I can always find her attractive and be faithful to her. I stopped comparing bodies and started comparing hearts. I changed my perspective to accommodate her new shape.
I must confess, I would not have married her if I met her in this shape, but today, I will chose her above every woman even in her ‘disfigured’ shape. I am happily living with my sacrifice.
If you understand the workings of the eyes of a man, you will come to terms with the value of this sacrifice. I don’t know how you take: all I want you to know is that mum didn’t suffer alone on your birth and neither did she have to sacrifice alone for your upbringing, I did too. In fact, until I counted the cost, I didn’t know I offered this much. If you care to know, for every pain mummy went through physically, I suffered same mentally and emotionally.

Every day of my week was dedicated to putting food on the table and getting bills paid. I wasn’t waking up as early mum did to attend to you because I got physically drained during the day and need rest for work on the next day.

Unfortunately, when it comes to recognising FATHERS, all of us get to be described as though the man who impregnated that girl and ditched her represents all men. When fathers are mentioned, the next word you hear is IRRESPONSIBLE.

The notion that fathers are irresponsible is a big lie. Fathers care and take care of their children. You don’t become a father by bringing a human into this world, you become a father by giving care to a life. This is why Roman Fathers are called fathers even though they have no children.

FATHER’S DAY IS FOR FATHERS AND NOT BABY PRODUCERS

As fathers, God didn’t create us to carry you in our womb for 9 months - we would have. God didn’t create us to breast feed you morning afternoon evening - we would have. God didn’t create us to cry when you fall down, he created us to tell you to stand up and that is what we do. We are fathers, we can’t be mothers. We can’t always be hugging you when you need to be straightened up so that you don’t go astray.
I was not happy when you brought that boy home not because I didn’t want you to be happy but because I knew you were not ready and will end up broken hearted. If you are smart enough, you should know by now that I was right when you caught him with another girl
Mine was to prepare you for success in this crazy and competitive world. There are times when you don’t get anyone to help you up when you fall- I had to teach you that.

Mummy appeared more caring but it doesn’t mean I cared any less. I didn’t scold you out of delight, it was a necessity. As a father, I am supposed to bring the balance in your upbringing without competing with your mum.

Have you asked yourself why many children who grow with either parent alone go wayward? It is the lack of balance in the upbringing. Mothers mostly express their love through encouragement, we do that through correction. Sometimes you need encouragement; sometimes you need to be disciplined. Mum did the former most of the times: I did the latter most of the times. You are a nurse today because of this balance.

Unfortunately, mothers get recognition for what they do whereas fathers don’t.

I wrote this note to you because I saw what happened last year and I see same happening today. The silence on our day is enough testament to the low key recognition we have received over the years and will keep receiving until we stand up for our right.
Even if you will not use my pic as dp, I don’t want to hear that fathers are irresponsible. Just as mother’s day is for the celebration of the positive aspects of motherhood, so is father’s day for the celebration of the positive aspect of fatherhood

This is the definition of father: A father is a person who fathers.


From: Underappreciated fathers

Isaac Kyei Andoh