Last night was funky.
Agitated I was. Supremely.
Because I couldn’t find a recent picture of my father. The ones I have in my collection were clicked feverishly while he was hooked up to a bazillion IV’s last winter. Brought back memories of the time when we almost lost him.
It is his eighty eight birthday today. Last few years, birthdays of my parents, have been tough for me. Distance, aging, serious health issues are some of the triggers. The last time I had the pleasure of being with him on his birthday was three years ago. There was no big celebration. Just family. We sat around the fire pit, and reminisced with much chatter and laughter.
Of course, Chivas as the loyal companion always adds much color to the evening.
I call him at the crack of dawn to wish him. I am having my morning cuppa of tea, he announces, remnants of sleep still lingering in his voice.
What are your plans for today? I ask my usual question.
He replies with his usual response. Get ready for Uruka meji, go to the bazaar to buy some firewood for the evening feast around the fire.
The celebration is now understated, the level of excitement has come down a couple of notches. But the essence of it all, remains the same.
My eyes unexpectedly well up. Maybe the agony of not finding a recent pic of his heightened my emotional sensibilities. Maybe because I simply miss him terribly. Maybe because he is older, the precariousness of his age overwhelms me. As if its using a deafening blowhorn to inform me of its lurking, inevitable presence.
Soon I am frantically texting my nieces, my sister in law and my brother to send me pictures of him and my mother, of the birthday boy celebrating. I need them pics OK, barking orders at my kin.
They didn’t disappoint, especially my younger niece. By the end of the day, Whatsapp was filled with several shots of the newly minted eighty-eight year old birthday boy. My favorite of all is a pic of him feeding my mum a slice of cake. For several years now, with my mother’s numerous health complications, she has become his raison d’ etre, his biggest priority to continue on, be the best “care taker” to her.
He IS the best. Certainly best everything to this daughter who wishes every day that they weren’t separated by million miles.