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Will I ever be a good father to my dear son …

By Bunmi Sofola

(A new father’s anguish)

Some five months ago, Earnest, a charted 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, “mV son’s coming has turned me up-side 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 word of insecurity and ambition and ego, it is easy to be drawn in, to take chances with your lives, 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 knew Clair for a few years, but I’d other girlfriends too. Then she got pregnant and, for the first time in my life, abortion didn’t feature. I was 28, 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. 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 1 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.

“I was never tired of watching the baby sunckle 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 learnt 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 sweater 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 tell 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 flash-back-of 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 little there was paid for the alcohol to which my father had become addicted. The cancer of alcoholism ate away at my dad until mum died prematurely. We were them 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 bear 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

clear 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! and my siblings had written to him. Letters and photographs from years age. 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 a particular sentence: ‘Lord let me hear thy mercy in the morning, for I have hoped inthee1…
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 n sound of hope in your first lustful cry, a new begining, that you, in all your innocence and freshness, have brought into the world….’


Tips to liven up your life

For those days when friends wondered if you’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed, there are remedies to put you back in a good mood. In the book, The Happiness Plan, its author, Carmel Me Connel, says it’s important to start every day right, and then to follow these simple tips to get you through the day’,.
Eat Something Good: A lot of bad moods are the result of your body wanting some nutrition or because you’re dehydrated. Have a proper breakfast. Eat fruit or other healthy snacks during the day and drink plenty of water.
Question your Feelings: If you feel grumpy, pause to ask yourself: “What’s wrong with me?” Focusing in this way can calm the situation.

Meditate: Close your eyes and remember the last time you felt relaxed and happy. Hold the memory for a while. When you open your eyes you will be able to continue what you were doing with a new outlook.
Get Some Fresh Air: Being in a hot building can make you tetchy. Stand outside for a few minutes to relax and cool off.
Help Others: Making other people feel better can lift your mood. Take part in fund raising or donate some money to charity.


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