Dads, Daughters & Distance
“I am your number one fan, and yet I have never graced your blog”, my ‘dancer’ complained to me over the phone the other day. I was surprised because he is not the type who enjoys drawing attention to himself – and that was my main reason for not bringing him all here. “But I have given you a few mentions here and there….” I tried to wiggle out of it.
“Where? I haven’t seen them”
“My previous posts… A-Ha! So you say you are my biggest fan, and yet you are not such a keen reader eey?” I tried to turn it around.
“Baibe, all I read about is Hailey & Heidi….” Did I sense some jealousy?
I realized that he was feeling ‘left out’, which was not fair. It’s tricky though, being in the life of someone who likes to pen down their thoughts and life happenings because chances are, you might bump into ‘yourself’ while reading one of their articles. I am sure no one is ever comfortable reading about themselves unless you have something good to say about them, or you write for the media in which case, it won’t matter. So where do you draw the line. Where do I draw the line, dear dancer of mine?
Being a private person, writing has challenged me to come out of my comfort (read private) zone because you cannot write unless you have a story to tell; you can tell other people’s stories for so long. When that is exhausted and you increasingly come close to becoming bedfellows with writer’s block, writing about yourself is something you cannot put off for a long time.
Through with the ‘pouting’ (ha!) we went on to talk about other more important issues. He wanted to find out how the kids were doing. How is Hailey? Does she ask about me? I really miss you guys. Is Heidi walking yet? Is she talking? To which I proudly, and selfishly-now that I think about it, say “Yeah, she finally said ‘Mummy’ the other day” Then the pouting starts all over again…”Mummy? What about Daddy? She hasn’t said ‘Daddy’ yet?” I then remind him that Hailey’s first words were ‘Daddy’ – you win some, you lose some.
I hand the phone over to Hailey and for the next couple of minutes, I somewhat cease to exist in her world. I lose her for a while as she converses with her father with all her senses. Her mouth smiles, “I am so HAPPY to hear your voice”, her eyes say “I miss you Daddy” and with her words, she actually says “I love you too”
I can make out the whole conversation from her responses; how is school, to which she answers fine. What did teacher say? To which she answers, she said to do my homework. Ok…how is Heidi? Heidi is fine. Give Heidi a kiss for me. She goes to find Heidi, wherever she is, and forcefully plants a kiss on her cheek as she goes “Mmmmwwwaaa….!” Heidi screams. She always thinks that Hailey is out to get her! “Si daddy amesema nimfanyie Mwwwaaaa!” she tells me defensively. I tell her it’s ok.
Mission accomplished, she gets back on the phone. Her father is laughing on the other end. As I am trying to convince Heidi that her older sister meant well, Hailey is singing on the phone with her father. It’s always either ‘Baby Jesus’ or ‘Kamares’. Today the song of choice is Kamares which has her wriggling her waist as she goes “Na Hailey siku hizi, ana ringa ringa ringa….anatoa waist kamares….” Who comes up with these songs!?
She gets a high from these phone conversations with her father. Sometimes, she will hand the phone to Heidi saying “Ongea na daddy” I guess she wants her to experience the same feeling of closeness she gets after talking to him. When Heidi learns to talk, I think the fact that she is also tired of being ‘left out’ of those conversations will be a motivating factor.
When I get the phone back, he asks again; how is she doing really? Fine, I say. His voice is heavy with emotion, and I sense it. You can tell that working miles away kills him sometimes. He misses his girls – He misses them like crazy.
I envy him because with all that goes on around us, the girls will always love him. Unlike motherhood, Fatherhood is not complicated. You only have to be there and the love you get back, ENORMOUS! You just have to be there, distance notwithstanding.
Keep at it baibe. Keep doing what you do best. Mwwwwaaaaaa!