Today is Father's Day.
I became a father at age twenty-five to two young girls at once. Yep...at once. The elder was aged six years old and the younger was three years old when I first set eyes on them. They were and in my head still remain the most beautiful and cutest little girls I had ever seen. I got involved in relationship with their mother afterwards and adopted them both. I loved them so totally and unabashedly that I raised them as mine as best as any loving father would. Many have expressed shock when they discovered they were not my biological children because of how they saw me handle them. Did school runs from Lagos to Ogun state. Hospital runs were a different matter entirely. I could virtually kill myself if anything untoward threatened the well being of my little queens. Taught them everything a dotting father would teach his his beloved children...from how to clean themselves to how to face the world to how to believe in God and prayers. I surreptitiously kept stories about their paternity from prying ears of the world because I truly never wanted them to feel incomplete or lacking in any way compared to their peers. After all, who is a daddy? Was I not there for them? I held nothing back...absolutely nothing for all of those sixteen years. I invested all I had and didn't have in them. They became the houses and other worldly acquisitions I could have had. My wanting them to grow up full and well rounded in character was my only sources of happiness...my only aspiration. These came at great costs. My family thought I had lost it or had been hypnotized. But neither was the case. I just loved these two unconditionally. If you ask me why today, I still don't have an answer. I just loved them from the moment I set eyes on them. This love even had noting to do with their mum. It was just me and them. I recall days when I would break down and cry because there was something they needed I hadn't been able to provide. I recall days I had had to borrow from my church to meet their school and personal needs. It got to the point where my then 'first daughter' came up with the 'crazy' idea of wanting to go to America for university education. I thought it was crazy and scolded her terribly for dreaming beyond her bounds. Only to wake up in the middle of the night and hear God say to me, 'Son, that's contrary to all you ever thought them that I -Their Father in heaven could do more than they think or dream!' It was then I believed. Long story short, the first went to school at Lawton, Oklahoma and the second ended up at the second largest black university in America at Nashville, Tennesse. God made it happen in ways I cannot even explain.
They have flourished and bloomed since then till date. I recall asking each to kneel just before they boarded a plane to depart these shores as I invoked a father's blessing from heaven as instructed before I set them on their way to their destinies. Since their biological mother and I became estranged a little over six years ago, I haven't heard from them. I no longer hear from them.
Was I angry? Initially, yes. But can anger withhold indefinitely against those we truly love? No, otherwise it was never true love. I feel a sense of peace instead...I am even humbled that of all the men in the world, God could use me to bless them.
Through it all, God has shown Himself true. Through my pains and hurts he has continued to protect, bless, provide for me and renew me every morning. Today, I am blessed with my own children Eno-Emem and David-Edward.
Today, I want to give a shout out to all fathers around the world giving of their all to raise the next generation.
Sometimes, it appears a thankless job because the world don't see our agonies. But here is the good news, our reward rests with The One who made the heavens and the earth, and made us bearers of His seed and the forebears of tomorrow. He sees all things...He knows all things...even the hidden truths! Ours is to see in parts, prophesy in parts and just do His perfect will.
I have checked myself even in my innermost parts, yet perfection is not found in me. A preacher once said to me, "God makes us strong in our broken places...and in our weaknesses His strength is made manifest."
A father is not the man who impregnates a woman or donates spermatozoa. A real father is that one who raises his children to know and love and fear God and respect mankind. A real father is he who continues to love and pray for his children in spite of their shortcomings. A real father puts his all into ensuring that his children can stand on his shoulders to pluck the fruits of life his own hands could never have reached, and by so doing ensure that his children are a better breed than he was and have brighter prospects of success than he had.
Happy Father's Day to all of you out there doing the work God called you to do even when no one acknowledges you. Love is never a wasted investment otherwise God Himself would not be Love and Jesus would never have gone to the cross to guaranty our salvation.
And happy Father's Day to my own father- Mr. Sylvester Enang Egbas. It's about time we sat and shared a drink...so much I need to tell you...so much weight I need to get off my chest.