This will not be posted on your birthday ’Nifemi. It will come some hours after. You may not know exactly why. You might ‘understand’ that work has taken my time of recent, the same work that has made my muse complain of lack of attention to her. Work or whatever it is that has made writing an irregular thing nonetheless, I will celebrate you with a few lines.
You came into the family when another sibling was what we (Yinka and I) craved. I cannot say the gender Yinka wanted but I wanted a sister. I looked enviously at our next wing neighbours, a quartet that had both genders in twos, and I prayed God to give us a sister too.
I was old enough to know Momma was ‘double’ but you did not come till after I left home for the Boarding House. When the news got to me a fortnight after you came, I was overjoyed. I finally had another sibling, at least it would not be just me and Yinka again. Gender paled into insignificance as I took my bath in the junior bathroom in my hostel back then in Olivet Heights, Oyo, one of my melting pots. This story was years ago.
Thank God you have come in leaps and bounds. Making everyone of us in the nuclear family proud of you as your life has been a testimony some supposedly close people do not even know. In the hard times, you were unable to attend school for a few days at a time or the other but your performance did not drop. Your Common Entrance, Junior Secondary exams and private O/Levels surprised all.
I remember seeing you grow like a weed. Do you remember the days when I took you to your primary school, Subuola Memorial in Ibadan, and we had banters while trekking from the junction to school? I always had this good feeling about you.
Your “niceness” as a child has not left you for one second. Nifemi, you had a way of saving monetary gifts to buy yourself things. Saving up to buy phones you gave out willingly when any of us had issues with ours. Your Nokia 5110 for use in the family’s commercial telephone business, Nokia 1110 to Yinka, your Samsung ‘free i’ to me, your visaphone to Momma among many others. Giving things to people when it was not as if you had no need for them was a feature you had, and still have. Your large heart is beyond comprehension!
Your dedication and commitment to things you do is first grade. You once told me you want to play football and went about saving for your kits. From school to your club training back then with total focus and singularity f purpose can’t easily be forgotten. You came home tired in the evening, but there was a look of satisfaction on your face. If your academic performance had not dropped a bit to make Dad force you to stop, maybe you would have represented Nigeria some years ago.
Seeing how well you have soaked yourself into music, your next love after football, is something worth praising. Your dedication is second to none I have seen. Please keep it up kiddo, I am proud of you.
Momma was expressing concern that you were not attending any lesson after school. She wanted the best for you always but there was one reason or the other for you not to attend. Your SSCE came and you wowed us all. Some folks did not expect you would make good grades because you did not attend any extra lesson. You proved that extra lessons or attending a public school are no excuses for poor grades. You went a step further by ‘spanking’ your UTME, an exam the ‘olodo’ in me did not pass.
As you add a year, look up and aim higher. There are steps to take as you approach a milestone in the next twelve months. Now is no time to rest brother. Push harder and get to heights I could not reach at your age. You can be sure you have my support, as well as Yinka’s. Dad’s support is very obvious as you are the only one who has followed him into the Humanities. Make Momma proud as you always have.
You have made your shares of mistakes you have discovered yourself. Correct them and use them as the springboard for bigger and better things. I assure you of my unalloyed support little bro (I know those who admire the ‘fine boy’ in you don’t like me calling you that). I am very sure wherever our parents have reached that both Yinka and myself have surpassed will be your starting point. Go for glory kiddo, don’t stop till you surpass whatever standards we have set. Have at the back of your mind that we aren’t resting though, so your work is cut out *winks*
Happy New Year aburo mi atata. Long life is your portion. Your life would be decorated beyond your expectations and you will not disappoint destiny in Jesus name. I love you to the cells kiddo. I LOVE YOU, or like you once wrote to me in Spanish, “te amo mucho”. Best wishes kiddo