Many of my friends think I am the ultimate daddy’s girl. (Once they meet my baby sister though, they change their minds.) I see why they would think that. Papa is my person. He is my day one. He is and always has been involved in my life.
Here are 6 things I appreciate about him, that make him uniquely Papa.
1. He is fun.
Growing up, Papa always told fun stories of his childhood. Stories about how he was the village football celebrity; the Messi of his time. Stories in which he got caught in a trap that was meant for a leopard that had been terrorizing his village. And of course the story all African parents tell, of walking miles upon miles just to make it to school.
My earliest memory of Papa and I spending time together is him dropping me to nursery school before work. He would always buy me the same snack at the kiosk near the school. It was always potato crisps and Ribena. The original black currant Ribena before the new fancy flavors existed. This memory, albeit fuzzy, warms my heart.
Another fond memory I have is of my siblings and I being floored by his magic tricks. We thought he was a real magician. He had this trick where he removed tiny stones from his eyes. Whoa! We later learned that the stones were actually hidden in the fold of his arms and not really coming from his eyes. You have to see the trick to fully understand what I mean.
2. Papa is present.
Papa does not fit the stereotype of the ‘African dad’- unavailable, too busy serving as the provider of the home to spend time with the kids. He is present. He has seen me grow up from his little girl to the woman that I am today.
It is the little things like Papa taking my sister and I to get our ears pierced, and the big things like school presentations, graduations and my wedding.
Papa came for all my high school visitations without fail. He would mark off the visiting and class days on his calendar at the beginning of the term and he would never miss any. I was always the girl who had chips and chicken from Wandegeya and not ‘real food’ from home. (Because Papa cannot cook to save his life. We are still waiting for the pot-boiled beef he promised to cook us. He swears it is the best meat we shall ever eat.) It was always such a treat.
Papa dropped me to school and picked me up every single term, right up to my final semester at the University. There is this story he tells all the time to anyone who cares to listen (Thank God it did not make it to his speech on my wedding). If you know my dad, you know he owns a pick-up truck which is what he used to pick and drop us. One time, on the first day of the term in high school, all my luggage was at the back of the pick-up, mattress and all, when it started pouring rain. I immediately thought that he would turn back home because there was no way I was going to school with a wet mattress. Nope, not Mr. Kazibwe. He kept driving as I cried and tried reasoning with him. He dropped me off at school and instructed me to put my things out to dry once it stopped raining and assured me that I would be fine. It turned out the mattress did not get wet; he had managed to cover it with a tarpaulin at some point on our way to school when he realized it was going to rain heavily.
3. For all your information needs, contact Papa on…
I have never met anyone who loves the news like Papa. He reads the newspaper on a daily, watches the 7pm, 9pm and 10pm news bulletin on a daily and listens to BBC broadcast on radio early in the morning. To date, having unnecessary conversations during news time is one of the worst offences you can ever commit in Papa’s presence.
You can have a conversation with him about literally anything, and he will have at least an idea if not the details.
Papa is informed not only about the happenings outside his home, but the happenings in his home as well. He will know you were trying to sneak out of the gate because he has the sharpest ears ever. He will know you changed channels when he stepped out and changed back when you heard him come back because the remote is a tenth of a degree off from how he left it. He will investigate and poke holes in your teenage lie about why you came home at the time you did. He will ask casual questions like what your friend wore to your meeting, which route the taxi used to get to town, where you met and how long it took to get there. When you least expect it, boom! You mixed up some detail and you’re caught in your lie by the tiniest of slip-ups. Papa knows all.
4. He is a stickler to rules.
It is all fun and games with Papa until you do things contrary to how they are supposed to be done. This ranges from the big things like sneaking cooked food into a school that does not allow it, to the small things like peeling an orange the “wrong way”. He is a firm believer that things are meant to be done in a certain way, and nothing else will do. He also believes all things should have homes, so his biggest pet peeve is not finding something exactly where he placed it. And I mean EXACTLY.
This makes him such a good keeper of things. He still has our report cards right from primary school. He has all our certificates even for tiny school competitions like a swimming gala in primary school.
5. He is Jajja-Daddy.
Jajja in Luganda means grandpa. His grandkids gave him the name Jajja-Daddy because he is grandpa to them and daddy to us. I love watching Papa as a grandpa. It is interesting the crimes his grand-kids can get away with. Things that were capital crimes growing up are now shrugged off. Except shouting at news time; no one gets away with that. He is my daughter’s best friend, for the most part. He introduced sugar to her before she made a year because he did not get why I was giving his grand-child sugarless porridge and plain yoghurt. So he sneakily bought her flavored yoghurt one day and there was no turning back.
6. He was and always will be in Mama’s corner.
This goes way back to when Mama would give us homework that was not from the school (kids whose parents are teachers will relate) and we would try to sweet talk Papa into letting us not do some or all of the work, and he would tell us to ask Mum first. Or when Mama would punish us and we would hope Papa would give us a free pass, only for him to reinforce Mama’s punishments.
Fast forward to more recent times when Mama was ill, Papa was there to the end. Mama was the lady in the chemo room whose husband was always there. The doctors and nurses knew him well, and never missed an opportunity to tell us just how rarely they saw that kind of support from a husband. The Mother’s Union honored him with a gift for caring for their friend so diligently. He made tough decisions and was strong through to the very end. To this day, he continues the traditions he and Mama established. He did not let the first Christmas without mama go uncelebrated, even though we were all in the clutches of grief. He has always been in Mama’s corner. They made decisions as a unit, some that left us the kids side-eying them, but they still stood by their decisions and had each other’s back. I have always loved that about their marriage. They were partners.
For these reasons and more, I celebrate Papa this Father’s Day. He is everything I could ever ask for in a dad and then some. And to all the papas, daddies, pops, fathers who uniquely fulfill that role, a happy Father’s Day to you.
Yunia Kazibwe is the founder of Adulting Out Loud. She is a wife, and mother to an amazing little girl. When she is not writing for the blog or recording for the podcast, Yunia loves spending lazy days with family, watching movies and catching up on a good series. Though she doesn’t currently have one, she loves cats.
Yunia prefers texting to phone calls, enjoys taking walks, and her favourite snack is popcorn. She often plays pranks on people, and only stops laughing to catch a breath.