Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To My Daughter on her 1st Birthday by Remi Olutimayin

By the time you are able to read this, you might be challenged to understand my meanings and contexts of choice.

Seeing as you're already impatient about growing up, you might prove to be the true child of your father and adopt the mien of an adult by the time you're 7 years old.

I prattle. It's one of the things that your mom's good sense and wisdom, recognised to be what she could not live with.

I could lie and say she couldn't bear my awesomeness, but like you I eat, fart, take a dump, take long naps and have furious bursts of energy that defy my seemingly sluggish mannerisms.

Today was an education for me. I took you (and your nanny Peace) along with me on my hustle today.

We met Mr. Bunmi Amosu and the talented studio engineer/producer, Tayo.

I ate wheat with egusi and stew. You gobbled down your formula.

We left and your expression didn't change from the silent 'observer'. But when your hand decided to explore my mouth, that was when I fell in love with you again. We will grow in love as soon as you decide it is time to. No hurry.

We slept off together in the back of my friend's (Mr. Kunle Solarin) car on the trip back to your mom's end.

I think it was a good thing that we were still learning each other. It would have been difficult for both of us if you had formed an attachment so deep that you wouldn't let me go.

That's what makes you awesome, I think.

That said, here are some things I should tell you about the way things are with

1) Your mom and I (so you don't look for some big shadow to blame as the excuse for trying your hand at being a difficult person...it is beneath you and you know it.

2) The world you were born into (the first brothers had the first homicide. The world was already crazy a long time ago, so don't worry...it's not just you)

3) The love that met you (love is not just a feeling and it is more than decision. I love ice-cream, but I choose you first.)

4) The reasons why people are people (this is a tough one because people are people, they aren't smart enough to avoid offending or hurting you from time-to-time.)

1) YOUR MOM and I:
I love your mom.


I don't completely separate it from my penchant for emotional pain, but I love your mom.

We can't be together for reasons why adults keep things to themselves.

Because it is not a 'societal' matter, but it is very personal and even you have no say in it.

The best I can say without being crass or stupid is that I test her patience so often and she grinds me down in response.

Who did what to whom first? That's a bulb and flower question (it is an asian buddhist thought that sounds so much cooler than its american cousin 'the chicken or the egg').

Your mom is beautiful, smart, intelligent, strong, wise, and a host of other things that I am reminded of my unworthiness every time I see her.

I think she knows I love her and I am sure she knows we will only harm ourselves if were together.

People might offer their opinions but they are either in unhappy marriages (and so hate us for our courage) or assume unhappy marriages are caused by some factor that they are above of (and so a rude awakening awaits them at the end of their 5th wedding anniversary).

I don't know what she might tell you about me (this feels like a suicide note, but like most people I know, I too want to make it to heaven alive...so I can't quit) but I'm sure it is from her heart and her head, not from a broken record.

I'm not quite getting to the point, am I?
We're not together and it is none of your business.

Just love us back the way we just love you. Because we are cute, we smile when we see you, and we think you're awesome...we KNOW you're awesome.


The world is at a stage where we seek alternatives to the natural so much so that we mistake our 'different' ideas and the works of our hands as a form of 'freedom'.

I'm a little to the left of things in a socio-political way and I choose to live like a prophet...that's code for 'I don't buy the shit they're selling, so I can't play well with others'.

Right now 'Boko Haram' is the topic for discussion between strangers in Nigeria.
The US and the UN are pressuring Nigeria to 'change' to a more 'open' society by overruling the voice of the Nigerian masses and telling us what 'we' want.

Africa is fast devolving into the scene for World War 3 as there are a series of baseless conflicts all around and the idea of sitting down to talk it out is not in the style of these 'revolutionaries'. I don't blame them. They were already ready to murder unarmed non-combatants and call it 'war', long before the opportunity to pick up arms came along.

Nigeria's economy is not the worst, but it doesn't encourage the lower class to improve themselves. I find this odd seeing as most of the heads of government in 'my lifetime' were not from a privileged background. As people about the president who wore no shoes. His politics is quite intelligent, but many people assume politics is a case of 'point the problems out and use a blunt instrument on them'.

The first black president of the US is not African-American in the traditional sense...none of his ancestors were slaves. Being a subject of the Queen of Great Britain is not being a slave. People don't get why he acts in a mature and civil manner...almost 'white'. Your father (me) is almost white, so I understand the predicament.

Things I anticipate in your lifetime:
There will be a gay american president in your lifetime. I can bet my inheritance on it.

There will be social monitoring aka community control on such a massive scale, that there will be a nickname for drones.

Religion will be unified, even though no single sect is without conflict, and the hope is that it will grant the world peace. It won't. Remember what I said about the first homicide. They didn't even have a religion difference, only a difference in practice.


You're not an accident and you're not an uncomfortable reminder that I'm a dad. I love you.

Rotimi loves you too.

Your brother loves you. He was already excited that you were on your way and he hoped you were a boy. I thought you'd be a boy.

For everyone else, I guess I have to explain my side of your family.

I named you Yemeewaolu.

I spun that name together from the title that was held by your great-grandmother.

Yemeewa means 'the beautiful one'.
You look like her.
Your cousin looks like her.
I look like her.
My brother (Kayode) and sisters (Modupe and Oluseye)look like her.
Your grand father (Arc. S. O. Olutimayin)looks like her.
(I think you get the point).

One look at you and I knew what to call you.

Your mom calls you Kiisi. She covets you & I respect that. I don't know how to grip onto another human being quite like she does and so I've given her room to do as she pleases about that.

Being your dad is enough for me.

Wise women explained that a girl would be just perfect for me. When I held you in my arms, that was the first time you opened your eyes and I knew those women were right.

They are your great-aunts.

Your grandmother, Dr. Mrs. Mary Ali Olutimayin (she's got a CV that still depresses me when I think of people who mistake titles and achievements for a greater stake in the right to life).

She gave you a name 'Nnako' (ask how it is pronounced in Nupe/Bassa Nge, don't disrespect yourself and mispronounce it) which means 'mother'. (Oh yes, you're not yoruba, but that's for your 2nd birthday letter. Don't worry, I won't forget.)

Your uncle Kayode Olutimayin fell in love with you in a way that words fail me in describing. He didn't dote over you like a senseless baboon. He just loved you.

Your great-uncle Idowu Olutimayin took to you like he took to his daughter...but you're not his daughter, you're mine.

When you were on your way, I was going mad with pressure and had already prepared my mind for a freefall experience through marriage and fatherhood...but your mom and I were woken up before things got to the point of no return.

I love that my courage matched her own in deciding to be apart as ourselves but together for you.

I know you won't remember how many times I came to see you at your grandma's house.

It doesn't matter. But when we see, it hurts like it hurts to suddenly see bright lights after a period of darkness...but you still can't look away.

4) The reasons why people are people.

Okay. This is the tough one.
It is tough because people know better. Should know better.
Should act on knowing better. But they don't.

The point of forgiving people is to turn your anger towards the action and away from the actor.

It helps you feel lighter, freer, and most importantly, you won't carry the offender on your mind all day.

He/she isn't carrying you on their mind and so it is easier for them move on to the next issue. You should try it.

I am a christian believer, not a born-again or not born-again-born-again, or whatever new designation they will have put together to show they are closer to the societal impression of God than you are.

Forgive so you will be forgiven. What will you need to be forgiven for? If you're human, you already need to be forgiven for that.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie.
Daddy loves you and that comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Yours Sincerely,

Remi Olutimayin