Am I the legitimate daughter of my father?

As a child, I used to watch as my father jumped ropes. He did it with so much fluidity that it was like magic. It was as if his feet never left the ground, yet rope kept going over his head again and again and again. He was like the proverbial cat with nine lives, whose feet never landed, just his toes.

We all had our own jump ropes but ours was tattered with broken handles and worn out ropes. We skipped clumsily, bent our knees and jumped so high like we were trying to prove to the world that we had the potential to grow taller than our infancy would allow.

My dad was a fitness buff. Even in our days of living in flat, he bought table tennis boards and kept it in the compound for everyone to use, just so he could play on it, considering the fact that he couldn't put it in his apartment.

Even though I admired him, I never wanted to be like him because he called me a lazy girl. Every Saturday morning, he made me and my siblings lie down and do sit ups and crunches, something I detested and still do. He pinned my ankles and knees down and shouted “sit up, you can do it. Don't let your legs move.” And I replied loudly “I can't, I can't. I can't sit up if my knees don't move. When he saw that I really couldn't sit up, he will say “Ati, you are a lazy girl” and move on to my other siblings who were blessed with better fluidity than me.

You see, my father's definition of lazy girl was a lady who wasn't agile, active and nimble, who couldn't hold her head amongst men, especially in the career world. My mum's definition of a lazy girl was someone who couldn't hold her own in the kitchen and take care of the home. Between both of them, I obviously had no choice but to turn out to be superwoman if I didn’t want to fit into their differing standards of a “lazy girl.”

Fast forward to my teenage years, my dad tried to teach me to swim. By this time, I had changed my mind. I really wanted to be like my dad. I pleaded with him to teach me how to swim. “I'm traveling out this Sunday.” He would say. “I'm going to the gym by 7pm. If you can meet me at the office, we would go together and I will teach you.”

And so I would move mountains to make sure I was at his office by 7pm on a weekday, and off to La’ Campagne Tropicana we went. He would hold my stomach try to make me float and teach me. It was so difficult. After about 5 times of this kind of trips, I gave up. I had become a lazy girl once again. So every Sunday we went to La’ Campagne Tropicana. He did all his gyming and all while I just played around and watched him. But I guess watching him was the only training I needed at that time.

Thankfully, my father had been blessed with another daughter when I was a teenager. I guess he didn't want to make the same mistake of her turning into the same lazy girl I had become. So he started her fitness training while she was still a toddler. To the gym they went every Saturday. To be honest I couldn't be bothered with his new companion. He had found a new play child, and the pressure was now off me.

He taught her to swim, a feat he couldn't achieve with me. They danced together, raced around the house together, a bigger house this time. Together, their reality was different from mine, growing up in a flat, and my dad pinning my legs down and screaming “sit up sit up.” They were best friends.
On a Saturday, they went to the gym together, did their swimming lessons. That was his last day on earth. No he didn't die while swimming. I wish he did though, it would have been far better than the way he was gunned down. She was 6 then.  I doubt she remembers him much .

I used to be a dancer, and we would rehearse all night like it was nothing. I had the energy of twenty people compressed into my small body. But someday in my mid-twenties, I danced rigorously to 5 songs and got tired. At this point, I knew I had to take all my dad’s earlier warnings and get my fitness game on. I couldn’t be one of those women who in their forties looked like they were really in their forties, and would reminisce on how they used to be so agile and youthful before marriage and kids took their toll on them.

And so I picked up my skipping rope, dumbbells, shoes, fitness gears and all. Now every morning, I jump ropes with nimble feet and fluidity. I do more than my dad ever did. I squat, I lunge, I push up, I crunch, I kickbox, I do everything I’m challenged with. I am no more a lazy girl. I am now the daughter of my Dad.

A week after my 6th birthday, and
my Dad was 33, celebrating
his master's graduation. Although he
lied to me that the party was for both
of us when I kept pestering him.
Gosh he told me so many 'lies'. Lol

P.S: I really need you guys to help me with a good title for this post. Something that would instantly grab attention and make you want to read the post. Thanks

25 comments

  1. The title as you have it IS an attention grabber. Your Dad seems like a sweet and fun father.

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    1. Yes he was fun, though he was a very busy man sha.

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  2. The title made me want to read.so it works. Omo baba e...omo ti ekun ba bi, ekun lo n' jo (translation: her father's daughter. One who is birthed by a lion must surely resemble the lion)

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    1. Lol. You should start doing alaga iduro and alaga ijoko at traditional weddings, with this your psyches. Thanks

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  3. OMG!!!!! This is such a read!!!!!! I dont know if to laugh or cry! God continue to rest his soul!

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    1. Amen o, thanks. Please don't cry.

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  4. Awwww, this was sweet to read and very heartfelt. He seemed like he was a great father to you guys. May he continue resting in peace.

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  5. Awwww, this was sweet to read and very heartfelt. He seemed like he was a great father to you guys. May he continue resting in peace.

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  6. blessings....
    great that you had a good role model and a father that was present in mind, body and spirit. Not everyone has that. There are many fatherless children in the world. Cherish each moment/memory

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    1. I thank God for that. It's such a great tragedy to have absentee fathers of fathers who pass on very early in a child's life.

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  7. Great read. Keep the title, it made me click! May your dad continue to rest in peace xx

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  8. Interestingly, the title made me click because you hardly talk about your dad. Girl, you do alladat? You're a fireball. I'm skinny but I think i'm def a "lazy girl"

    May his soul continue to rest in peace.

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    1. Looooll. I know you are a lazy girl, madam. Even your blog is suffering from the consequences of your laziness, lol.

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  9. This was well worth the read and I think the title is on point! Your dad was truly a father among father's. Rest his soul. I bet you do taekwando and karate too! Lol. Omo daddy toh sure!

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    1. Aww, thanks. Maybe I should take martial arts lessons, since you've suggested it, But who has time for that?

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  10. And that throwback pic was WOW! Saved it instantly!

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  11. The tittle is definitely catchy and you are def a true daughter of your father.

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    1. Thank youuuu. I'm glad his lessons finally sunk in.

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  12. The title is just right. It got my attention.
    I wish I could really really love exercises.

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    1. Starting is the key. Once you start and your body gets used to it, you won't be able to stop.

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  13. Hi Atilola,

    I enjoyed reading this well-written post, it is heartwarming. The emotions shine through the humour. The loss of a loved one hurts but we have cords within us that bind us to them always.

    The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree, you are your father's daughter after all.

    Have a great week.

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    Replies
    1. Thank youuuuu. We learn and move on with the lessons learnt. Right?

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