Uncle Daddy

The best thing in his life happened unexpectedly. His beautiful story actually began with, ‘and, all of a sudden…’ This sudden adventure of his was never planned though it turned out just alright for him. A lot of the time, we plan ahead and with the very best of intentions. But then, life happens. What do we do when life just happens to us? Do we roll with it? Do we free ourselves from expectations, with the belief that, the very best would come when and from we least expect it? – DBM


“Dear Dave,

My story is a little bit complicated, however, it has a beautiful ending, which I love. Prior to meeting my wife, I had had a bad dream weeks past. A wake-up nightmare actually, that got me to be very cautious on the road. In the dream, it was around 7:00 PM, and I was returning from Takoradi, driving along our not so well lit street. I was alone in the car, pretty excited about a project I had excellently executed on site. Home was in Accra, project contract was in T’di, and so I moved in and out of Accra a lot, always on the road. The atmosphere and mood in the dream that night was good, but I somehow, had some rather low-spirited music playing from the Radio station on the player.

Out of nowhere, a few yards in front of me was a little child. He was trying to stop the commercial bus ahead of me. I could read his lips, “Accra, Accra!” Dave, I remember shouting on top of my voice, “WHAT THE F**K IS THAT?” The boy was almost in the street of our lane. The bus was quick to swerve him but I couldn’t, and then contemplatively hit my brakes. My car unfortunately, slewed and I ran into him. In the dream, I saw the child fly through the air.

Everything was still after the hit. A huge traffic had suddenly stopped, behind and on the opposite side of the road ahead of me. That was the dream. I prayed against any misfortune when I woke up from my sleep. I couldn’t continue with the sleep even when I realized it was just a bad dream. I was horrified. I was terrified because I’m not the ‘dreamy’ type. I don’t dream. Even when I had overeaten, I will not dream. Dreams were just not my thing, so I was kind of, scared. I became very cautious on the road since that day.

I was returning from Takoradi, in one of my on-the-road trips, this time, in reality, to Accra. I was almost completing an assigned project, but had an impromptu meeting to attend the following morning. It was around, 7:15 PM when I reached the Ola/UCC area. Out of nowhere, a child ran out in front of me, trying to stop me, on the highway. I hit my brakes, and the car stopped right in front of the almost, 4 year old boy. I had no idea what had happened. I’d normally be thinking in such unexpected occurrences, however, I stopped thinking that very moment. I couldn’t bring myself to address the scene.

I looked on the side and an adult lady, with three other little kids, was trying to get them to be still. She turned and saw where her other son was, and then screamed in horror. The boy who was probably confused, started to cry. I signaled him to move away from the street, and then, parked my car to check on him. His mother was already checking his body for any cuts or bruises, but he was okay. She quickly turned to my direction to apologize.

I asked where they were heading to, because they had luggage’s… and she said, “Accra”. I asked them to come along with me, of course. The kids were in the backseat, singing and arguing and making noise, it was all funny to me. Their mother had only thanked me for the ride, and had gone silent throughout the trip. She made no attempts to talk to the kids. She was just quiet, and thinking deep. Her kids kept calling out her name to engage her attention, but she wouldn’t mind them.

Then she broke down, and started to cry in my car. She wouldn’t talk, she just cried. Her kids asked why she was crying but she wouldn’t mind them. At a point, she looked deep into my eyes, with tears in hers, and just shook her head. A very pretty lady too, Dave. I couldn’t ask what was going on with her. I did not want to know. When we passed the Winneba junction, she turned to her kids who had by then, calmed: two were asleep, the other two were trying to sleep also. She opened her handbag, took out a medication, swallowed it with water, and then asked me to wake her up when I reached Kaneshie.

Something didn’t feel right, but I said, ‘okay’. I do not like the whole idea of people sleeping in my car whiles driving at night. It made me feel sleepy too. But I couldn’t tell her all that. I allowed her to rest. I got to Kaneshie, and she wouldn’t wake up. I shook her several times in the front seat but she wouldn’t respond. I got alarmed because she wasn’t breathing. The kids were alive and fast asleep and snoring. I didn’t know what to do with their mother, so I sped off to the 37 Military hospital.

I carried her from the seat and rushed her inside the hospital, screaming for help. I narrated the whole incident to a female doctor, the nurses and the military guys present. One Military man went into my car, took the lady’s handbag from the front seat. I saw another nurse also attend to the four kids in the backseat of the car. They found her phone and the drugs inside her bag. The doctor took a look at it, and then, rushed to the emergency room, where they had taken the lady. The military man tried calling the first number in her call history with her phone, but she seemed not to have had enough call credits, so I offered my phone. He called the number on my phone.

A man responded, and claimed to be her husband. Divorce papers were found in her bag actually. He was informed of his wife’s state, but all he cared to know was where his kids were. A nurse returned with the kids and it was all tears this time. They wanted their mother. The nurse came with the information also that, the father of the kids had packed all of his belongings from their home with another lady, and their mother had packed theirs too, right after their father had left.

It was around, 11:35 PM. I slept in the car at the hospital. In the morning, I got to know the mother was responding to treatment. The father of the kids had come around, talked to us, and was about leaving with the kids. I asked if everything was alright between him and his wife. He looked at me in a certain way, and then smiled,

“She’s no longer my wife. You can keep her if you want.” He said

I almost fell back into my seat, stunned. I laughed at the thought of it again. As I was laughing in shudder, I heard a still small voice, whispering to my hearing, ‘This is not funny. Think about how you see the lady. Is she someone you’d want to know?’ I prayed for her, earnestly. She’s a very beautiful woman, Dave. So beautiful, it is difficult to believe she’s a mother of even two kids. Mother of four, yet looking so young and apt? I went home to shower for my afternoon meeting, came back to check on her at the hospital, started talking to her until she was discharged.

I paid for her hospital bill. Her husband did not return to the hospital again. I wanted to take her to wherever she was heading to in Accra, but she wouldn’t want to go to her parents. They warned her against that marriage, but she went on ahead to marry him because she was in love. She wanted me to take her to her friend’s house instead. I took her to her friend’s. I was 37 years and single. She was 36 years old. After four and a half weeks of getting to know one another, I started to like her. She was all and more than I had ever preferred a woman to be.

I couldn’t show any interest in her because she was married. She needed the services of a divorce lawyer one day, and she asked. I happen to have a sister who is into law. I introduced her to my sister, and she took it from there. All that while, she hadn’t opened up about her marriage. The little I knew was what the nurse had gathered from her son at the hospital. Her divorce process took a while, and my sister was offering her services pro-bono. She had been told of her marital problems, and she was touched to help her for free. And I also got to know later on that, she did not actually have any money for a lawyer either. It was all God.

We kept in touch as friends all that while her divorce process was ongoing. I started to really like her. I had been single for six years, and was lonely and really wanted to be married. I wanted to share my achievements in life with someone special. She had become that someone special. My sister was concerned when I started making inquiries about her. My sister wouldn’t tell me about why she needed her services. All she kept reminding me was, ‘would you be able to cope with a woman and her four children?’ I had forgotten all about the number of kids she had. My concern had always been her.

I began factoring her children into my picture of a family, and they were a crowd, too much of a crowd, but I liked the woman. That was my headache. I liked their mother. She made me forget my worries whenever we met or talked on phone. She could relieve my stress effortlessly with just her laughter. She was hurting, and bitter. Her husband had given her a miserable life getting to the latter years of their marriage, and then, abandoned her and the kids. She resented her husband, but she made the decision to want to forgive him and move on.

The day her divorce was finalized, she asked me to drive her to the court early, because she had arranged a final meeting with her husband. I drove her there that morning. She had left to the waiting area of the court, when I saw her husband drive over with the kids, and another woman in his front seat. The kids got down. The lady in his car kissed his lips as he alighted. She waited for him in the car.

When court session was over, I saw my sister and my wife smiling as they walked towards the carpark. I got out of my car, and walked boldly towards them, and then, hugged my wife so tight, in the presence of her ex-husband and everyone else. I heard one of her kids address me as, ‘Uncle Daddy’. It was so emotional for me that moment, I had to kiss her that deep in their presence again. Everyone was shocked. I was shocked. I didn’t know what had come over me, but I was not myself. I was in love with a single woman, finally. I did not know for how long I had been praying for that moment, but it came to pass for me. I watched her kids run to open the backseat of my car. I also caught a glimpse of the lady in her ex-husband’s car, examining me from head to toe. She liked what she was seeing in me: taller than her man, well-built than hers, fresher and younger than hers, handsome than her choice of a guy, and of course, the car difference… They knew their level.

According to my sister, when we had left them behind, my wife’s ex-husband kept staring at us in shock till we had left the court premises. He probably had assumed no man would want a woman with four kids? All my wife needed in a husband was a man who could understand the fact that, a wife needs a husband to commit his time and attention, also to the family. I recognized that – when I committed my love to her and the kids. I spent quality time with them as a family, long before we made the decision to get married. It actually strengthened our friendship and likeness for each other. It built a different kind of bond between us. She respects and adores my efforts to want to be there for and with them always. I help with the feeding and dressing of the kids. I help with the house. Nothing is left to only my wife to do. I ended up demonstrating to the kids that, it’s fun being together as one family. We came up with a solid plan as the adults of the house to train and discipline them. We planned for their future, though I was not their biological father. I had never been a father before, however, I loved my new position in their lives.

I had not even thought of the way forward, eight months after her divorce. We were all living together in my house. I loved to have them around. I was in my bedroom one evening, when the little girl knocked on my door. She wanted the answer to 5+1. It was a homework given her. I asked her to count everyone in the house that evening, and that, that was the answer to the question. That was the time I knew we were a family after all. They were my priority. Before she left my room to do the counting of everyone in the house, I sent her to ask her mother whether she’d marry ‘Uncle Daddy’. We’ve been married for four years already.

Anytime I remember how it all led to this, I’m drawn to believe that our marriage was instigated entirely from God. I had no part in it. My wife had no hand in it. It was not an agenda either of us formulated. I did not even ask for such a provision. It was God, not me, who decided that I needed a woman like my wife to be a part of my life. I was not aware of my own needs – to be honest. I was chasing after money. I loved money more than life, and was working very hard to make a lot of it. I did not know how incomplete I was by myself. It was God who dreamed me the dream about that kid and everything about him. God alone knew the kind of woman I needed in my life. I did not have to go searching for her. God presented her to me. Our meeting point was predetermined.

Marriage to my wife has been one of my very best decisions ever taken.” – From SL

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