January 4, 2016 – 10:22 AM – British Airways Flight
I have to write a speech. God only knows what a terrible idea that is. I’ll thank people and provide some bullshit quote. Simple enough. And since they’re recording this, have to make sure I get the important folk. Or I could tell them a story. A story about my smart little sister, my hero. Or my brother, who has taught me to have patience. Or talk about everyone called my blog a truman show. Or something that Mum and Dad taught me. I’ll tell them about daddy’s approval. Or the first time he called me excellent.
It’s weird that you’re always with me. I mean, Mum is too, she’s my biggest fan. But you? Your voice sits in my head, right in between my inner bully and my inner cheerleader. Your voice in it’s very distinct accents: sometimes British-Naija and sometimes simply full-time Naija. They both make appearances at least once day.
“Yetunde, have you finished _____,”
“Yetunde, that’s daddy’s girl!”
That morning while writing in my journal and fighting sleep on the airplane, it dawned on me that you’re my go to icebreaker. My conversation starter. A story about you, and your unforgettable quotes, or your funny mishaps, or your bravery of moving us to the US, usually does the trick. I think it’s my way of making myself comfortable and calming the anxiety, because, well, that’s what you do. You settle my world when things seem to go array. One quick phone call and things seem to be better. Well, right before you go off on your tangents.
Like on my 24th birthday. I called you at 6 AM in tears and didn’t say much. I think you read through the sobs because you said, “You’re still very young. You still have time to do it all. Don’t think that you’re behind. Your Mum and I are so very proud of you. ”
Or two summers ago, after a run in with an ex, “Well these things happen. You have your path, he has his. Relationships do not always work out, but something else will. We raised you to be independent, and you’re doing that. You’re time will come.”
Or, one of my very favorites, during our daily commute to Holy Name Jr/Sr Central Catholic High, you randomly turned to me and said, “Remember to always have a mind of your own. Don’t do what they do.” I didn’t get it back then when I was 14. But I get it now, Dad. I mean, at last I think I do.
I can’t believe I am going to admit this, T.J. may actually kill me, but you kind of have a way with words. You just might be where I get it from, and to think, you only wanted me to focus on math, science and engineering, all the while you’ve had storytelling skills of your own.
You tell stories with lessons learned quite bit, if we’re being honest. Not just your simple quotes, but the stories from your childhood in Nigeria, to you learning how to adult in the UK. You like to talk a lot, Dad. You really do. And though these stories may sometimes be too long and and extremely detailed, and often times they tend to be traditional (queue yesterday’s discussion), they always come at the right time. Which is probably why you’re my conversation starter. Your words always have good timing. Everyone can do with a little “Obe Knowledge” in their lives.
So in July, when I accept my award, I will talk about you, Dad. Because your words make for an amazing speech, a memorable speech, and I’ll need you there to help me through it.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you.
P.S. – I tried to post this yesterday, work just got in the way. You know how that is. Like Father, like Daughter.