Dear Amari Mambo,
I hope that by the time that you read this, your dad and I would have built the strongest relationship you know- one that you can draw inspiration from.
Your dad and I’s stories will differ about where and how we met, but that doesn’t matter. Just remember, when your dad tells his version to nod like you believe him, even though you know of course that my version is the real truth. 😉
Today, the 25th of July is your dad’s birthday- he is a Leo, which explains a lot, mostly why he needs my practical, Virgo sensibilities. Obviously. Let me get on to the actual message of this post.
Your very first word, at 6 months, was ‘Daddy’. Your dad is a very special man Mambo, and I have said countless times that I really hope you know the love of a father, I am very confident that although you cannot verbalize it, you already know. Tatenda is the most gentle being ( second only to Uncle Kudzi) that I have ever encountered, and I know you know. In your journey with us he has rocked you, changed you, bathed you, sung to you, danced with you, read to you, cooked with you, put you to sleep, fed you, walked with you, taken you for your vaccines, driven you to the ER in the middle of the night, taken days off to stay home with you. Your dad has been the most involved dad a child could have.
I want this post to be about you, but truth be told, I must also mention how much this man means to me. When your dad and I began dating, I had come out of a marriage that had taken a toll on me, and left me feeling as though I was not meant for a relationship, or a companion- not that I was any less of a human being, I mean, I am awesome. I focused solely on the people in my life already and my friends probably saw me more often than they had ever seen me. I was very happy to continue this way and have the greatest time of my life without a life partner, for whom I decided life was just easier without. I was very happy at the thought of one child, who I would raise alone- if I was ever blessed enough to have one. It was my 5 year plan. Though, I really did not see the need to have a child either and was content to be alone.
It took a lot for your dad and I to decide that we were actually dating, mostly because he had come out of one relationship and I was in no space to ever be in another one. I guess our stars aligned. I often say I reserve the right to be human and change my mind- because it happens to the best of us, situations change. Fast forward to one year of your dad and I officially deciding we are a couple, and we were already 6 months pregnant. I do not mind telling you this story Mambo because, for starters, these are probably the stories you will hear, and secondly, I would like you to know this: we planned you. Sure, we planned you for a time further in the future, but by the time we knew you were coming to us, we had discussed the possibility of having our child and why we would have a child together. We probably anticipated you so much that you heard us and decided to put us out of planning and straight into execution. Between your dad and I, we prayed many prayers, meditated for hours- and even cleansed in preparation for you.
No matter what you do, you can rest assured that your daddy is a wonderful dad and always has your best interests at heart. He loved you so much, he meditated you into being. He calls himself the ‘King of manifestation’ and even though I am waiting for him to manifest our jackpot lottery winning, I honestly believe that it was he who manifested you. You looked so much like him in your first year, how could it not be his doing?!
When I told your father about you, he could not hold back his absolute delight. I was very practical, but he believed that we were meant for you. He wanted to be in my life, for me, and now he wanted to be in your life, for you. I cannot say what life would have been without your dad, and I will not waste any time wondering.
Your dad asked me, very nicely, if you could take his last name as, in our custom, you already would have his totem, MaNdlovu. Part of his negotiation was that I could name you whatever I wanted. I agreed to you having his last name, and so you do. I believe that this is testament to what a respectful person your dad is. He made no assumptions, opened up the conversation and negotiated- even though you are his baby girl too. He suggested some names that I could consider, and of the names that he suggested, you have yours- Mambo. His creativity blew me away and as soon as he suggested it, I held on to it. For your own curiosity, Chengetai was another one of his suggestions, but I know too many Chengetai’s and I really wanted uncommon names for you. Your dad already had a plan for you Mambo D. I am so glad he suggested your name because it fit into my theme. And also, your character.
I must also tell you that right now, as I write this, you are sleeping soundly in our bed, between your dad and I, because you still hate sleeping in your cot. Your dad has learnt to sleep at weird angles- just like I have, everyday for over a year now, to be sure that first and foremost, YOU are comfortable. It is hilarious when we talk about it, but he is so cautious around you, even though he knows you are not as fragile as we want to believe you are. He is grinding his teeth and occasionally snoring, you have turned on your side to face him and your arm is across his face. This is often the case. Sometimes you slap him or punch him or kick him in your sleep or while you are breast feeding to get to sleep. So funny. Often times when we try to put you to bed in the dark, you crawl up to his face and shower him with kisses. We know better than to give in to these outrageously cute stall tactics, but he will let you do it no matter what. It is more than a beauty to witness- I will carry these memories for as long as I can. Your dad is so patient with you, and he has never lost his temper with you- not the way I have. One day, he will tell you the story of how he saved you- apparently you were flying through the air after having bitten me and therefore being tossed somewhere, and he had to catch you. I cannot tell the story as well as he can, but when he is done telling you the story, you can always come back to me for the facts.
In our future my darling, please do not forget to bring this dad of yours a good bottle of whiskey so we can all share it around the dinner table and sing happy birthday to your dad, Tatenda Dizha. Today I celebrate him because he is here, he is present, he is wholly yours and he is here to make sure that you know it. Did I mention that ‘Daddy’ was your first word?