In my plan for you, I want you to be that celebrated journalist I couldn’t become. Then, I want you to proceed to Congress, you will become the President of the United States. It wouldn’t be as difficult as it is now for Barack Obama.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Dear Son, this is Daddy writing you for the first of what I hope will be a lifetime of letters.
How are you doing over there? Yes, as I write you, New York, our current residence, is blanketed with snow. Obviously, a baby in the womb does not know that winter is cold.
I live her with your Mummy, Edna, and your sister, Ijeamaka. Ijeamaka is also called Pom-Pom, IJ, Pumpkin, and Princess. One day she is Princess Fiona. Another day she Princess Cinderella or Snow White, but always a princess. I will talk more about them later. But first, let me introduce myself so that you won’t be shocked when you eventually see me.
I am six-feet two inches. I used to be taller but my back has begun to bend. The more I cringe my body during winter seasons the shorter I become. You need to see me rushing out from the house to the car, hands tucked into a heavy coat. For someone like me, born in Africa, my Africa, it is hard getting used to this.
I am a mild-mannered man, more in the mold of Unoka than Okonkwo. You will get to know these two characters when you grow up. They are the two ends of the Igbo man’s spectrum. Oh, I am an Igbo man, too. And I hope you will grow up as one too. It is a privilege full of responsibilities. You will see what I mean when you get here.
In terms of my relationship with you as father and son, I will demand absolute obedience, respect and discipline. This may sound harsh to you, but I am talking from experience. Your three year old sister, Ijeamaka, has shown me where I made all the mistakes. In you, I intend to correct them.
With Ijeamaka, I experimented. I wanted to know what a baby will turn to if allowed the free will to become what she wants to be. Well, everyday now, I am riddled with the result. It was like telling the yam seedling to grow to where ever it wanted. We get surprised when we see the outcome.
I have been struggling to save money that I will need to send Ijeamaka to Harvard. But when I found out that she was going to be a comedian, I decided that I don’t need to save money anymore. She is too funny to go to Harvard. That stuck up school will kill her humor. She will do two years at one community college and head to Comedy Central in Hollywood.
Now, back to Daddy – I am a failed singer, a failed journalist, and a failed writer. Though it sounds really bad, but I am not in a bad company. I am in the same company as Joseph Jackson, the father of the Jackson 5. You will get to know their music when you watch Daddy Day Care, which I am sure Ijeamaka will put for you the first day you get home.
There are many failed fathers of successful people, but I choose Joseph Jackson because he did something with his kids that I plan to do with you. He transferred his dream of becoming a successful musician to his children. The result is that his family gave the world Michael Jackson. Like I said, Ijeamaka’s case is over with. I will be doing that to you not to give you unnecessary hard time, but because all fathers transfer their failed dreams unto their children. It is the way our world works.
In my plan for you, I want you to be that celebrated journalist I couldn’t become. I want you to go ahead and write Profiles in Courage and not crap like Children of a Retired God. Then, I want you to proceed to Congress representing New York, specifically following John F. Kennedy’s footsteps. From the Senate you will become the President of the United States. It wouldn’t be as difficult as it is now for Barack Obama.
You know, before I found out that Ijeamaka was a girl, I bought her a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which I had planned to post by the crib. When I found out she was a girl, remember that was before Hillary Clinton started running for president, I packed them up and stored them away. I have just pulled them out and placed them by your crib. Well, technically, it is the same crib Ijeamaka used. We only changed the color of the beddings from pink to blue.
So, you do have an idea what the plan is. After your two terms as U.S. president, the Nigerians who are wishing that Bill Clinton could come and save their country may ask you to be their president. Oh, I should first tell you that Nigeria is your father’s old country. In fact, as things are going now, I am sure that after your two terms as American president, the Igbo of Nigeria will still be clamoring for the first Igbo president.
Bingo! You can of course tell them that you are Igbo, too. Talking about Igbo, Ijeamaka used to speak Igbo. Those were the days before she started school. These days, when she manages to throw in one Igbo word in her sentence, she immediately reminds you that she spoke Igbo, as if it is something to be celebrated.
Take for example, the first time she will see you, I will introduce her to you by saying, “Ije, here is your brother, Ogonna.” I can bet you, she will throw her hands in the air and say, Chineke mmuo nso, God the Holy Ghost, Mummy what happened to your big stomach.” Yes, she is that cute.
She also sings “Onye tili nwa na-ebe akwa.” And you bet she will use you a lot to practice. At the end of each performance, she would take four bows – one to the East, West, South and North and then say “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” That is the point you clap for her and say bravo or encore. You must clap or she would say to you, “Hello?”
A few words about Mummy – You have a pretty Mummy. Hopefully, you are getting more of her physical features and less of mine. That will pay you better. In America, pretty faces earn more than not-so-pretty faces. And pretty faces win elections more. So feed more on the X chromosomes than the Y. It is the way our world works. And did I mention that she is very smart? You will be better served to have a brain like hers. She has three degrees in three different fields. She is well rounded. You can’t fool her with the V-chip, she will make you read Shakespeare, and also insist that you eat your vegetables. She can even give you your flu vaccine injection herself. On that count, I don’t envy you.
We live in New York City now, in a black neighborhood. We left the white neighborhood of the Long Island suburbs for this. It is very important that you were born in New York City and in a black neighborhood because when you will be running for president, the Republicans will still be talking about 9/11 while African Americans will still be looking for a candidate who lived their experience. You will be wholly qualified to claim both heritages.
I had thought that before you arrive, that iti bolibo George Bush will no longer be president. But, unfortunately, he is still president. Thinking of it now, it is not such a bad thing because now you have two years to learn all you need to learn on how not to be president.
The Nigerians are also having their elections the same month you will arrive. Of course, theirs is of no consequence because the result is already published in the gazette. Luckily for you, you don’t have to deal with whichever long hat man wins the do-or-die election.
You will be hearing more from me in due course. Until then, stay safe, kick less because Mummy says so. Trust me, you will hear that a lot. Doing what Mummy says is the beginning of wisdom. That rule is not just for you and Ijeamaka, it also applies to me. It is the way our world works.
Enough for today. Now go to bed and safe journey as you make your entrance.
Yours truly, Daddy
Rudolf can be reachead via [email protected]