DAD STORIES: My Uncle Is The Father I Never Had
I grew up in a single parent household. My mother had me when she was still a student so I spent most of my childhood with my grandmother.
I used to wonder what it felt like to have a father.
I’m 28 years old today and still haven’t met my father. I know nothing about him.
I remember when I was a high school student, I asked my grandmother his whereabouts. She gave me scanty information that helped me trace his close friends and relatives. I was able to get his contacts from a close family friend of his. Using a friend’s number, I contacted him.
I was excited. I cheerfully called him dad but to my utter disappointment, he dismissed and threatened me. I was in school, young naive and hungry for a father’s love. I believe he is my father because back at home he looked for my mum and threatened to sue her for “dirtying” his name. He is still alive and well, living somewhere in Kenya.
My mother was on my neck for causing the fracas. I gave up on the mission and I lost hope about ever having a relationship with him. My mum is not willing to talk about the issue either.
Nature however was not totally inconsiderate. My maternal uncle who stood in his place and became a father figure to me but my little eyes could not see that back then. I have learnt to appreciate him more each day.
CARRIED ME ON HIS BICYCLE TO SCHOOL
I recall so many a times in lower primary he would carry me on his bicycle to school. Many a times on Sunday, he would force me to dress up so that I could accompany him to church. He was a strict disciplinarian and never spared the rod on me.
One moment I will never forget is a day he bought me a story book called Heidi. I am not sure if he still remembers. I was over the moon.
He had detected the love of literature in me. His constant buying of magazines and newspapers helped me develop good reading culture and this paved way easily for my career.
Today, I’m and English and Literature teacher at an international school in Nakuru.
He would occasionally pay visits to me in secondary school and his encouragement and support made me whom I am now. He gave me the greatest gift ever by believing in me. His name is Jonah Limo and he is a teacher in a local primary in Eldama Ravine.
The older I get, the more I realise how important it is to have a dad like him. He provided stability in my life and the love and acceptance that I needed.
I will love you endlessly, uncle. Happy Father’s Day!
By Valarie Jepkemoi Mutai