When I was a little girl, my whole world went at a pleasantly slow pace. It was endless days of wanting to be an adult. And the calmness and stability of that little world seemed to last forever. The hopeful days of waiting and the protection from my parents from what the world had to offer slowly faded away. They couldn’t shield me from them forever. And I couldn’t stop growing up at a rapid rate.
This is what I always wanted. But I’m not even yet an adult. I’m just one leg in and another out, and it’s already looking like, “Why is this world so fast?”
Like this modification of a few lines from the Korean movie ‘Daddy Long legs’, I have my own Daddy long-legs but had no idea I did, even after I knew the difference between my right and left (hands) as a child.
I spent those earliest years just taking life as it came. Well, what did I understand? I was under the wings of my parents. They knew the next steps I had to take and did not need to consult me before doing that. From church to school and everywhere else, my little self trusted the systems they were taking me through.
From daycare to playgroup, I learnt my ABCs and 123s. The primary one to five came, not like a dream, as this was when I started understanding how slow the earth circled the sun. I could not wait to go to secondary school. And when I did, I realized that secondary school life was not worth hurrying the former experience.
“Write WAEC, JAMB and get into a University, study the course of your choice,” became the next instruction, and my mates and I burnt candles, reading like maniacs, grappling to the next level. Those who moved shared testimony in church, talking about A’s, three digits JAMB scores, and various tertiary institutions. Those who didn’t did not admit to feeling a little less of themselves but strived to move too, for there was a ‘next’ time.
Well, I became conscious of my Daddy-longlegs around this time. You could say I knew what I was saying when I shared my JAMB testimony at the teenage church.
I got into the university. And very soon, I started understanding my Daddy-longlegs alongside the reality of life. He wasn’t a bad guy, and in everything, he was good. As time passed, it was as though he grew older with me. Or maybe I was the one growing up. Life became unexpectedly grim. I became a diplomatic person, showing whatever side of me I had to according to the side each human deserved at a particular time.
Soon, I began to long for my former carefree days when laughing was just laughing, and crying was just what it was. I had to start re-learning how to appreciate little things starting from the very air I breathed in.
I’m learning to enjoy the present while working towards the next phase I never seem to run out of. I’m learning to give up the past for the next when it comes.
For reference, I’ve had to move from the teenage church to a fellowship on campus. For situations such as the recently suspended ASUU strike, I wanted to return to the Teenage church. But I realized I was no longer fit for that place even though it had sustained me at a point in my life. I had to move on to the Youth church. There’s no intermediate between teenage church and youth church, just like semi-adult stuff seems non-existent, so I stayed. At long last, I have to return to the campus fellowship when I had started enjoying the higher dynamics of the Youth church and will have to adapt again.
Daddy: Literally, just father.
Longlegs: Refers to someone who can easily reach what others would take due process to get. If you’re Nigerian, you probably understand this.
Daddy longlegs: according to the general understanding of the slang, not the spider variant, refers to a rich middle-aged or old man who bestows expensive gifts on a young person in return for companionship.
Daddy longlegs: In this context, means a rich middle-aged or old man (God) who bestows expensive gifts on a young person (me and you). (Companionship is not out of place). And he also has power and influence (long legs).Hearty’s once-in-a-while-dictionary
To me, God is like ‘Daddy longlegs’. I know it could be vulgar, crude or even rude, if what you’re thinking about is the spider or the rich middle-aged man, just like when you say “God abeg” but you have to change it to “God abegeth thee” because you want to sound appropriate while addressing the Ancient of days. But it is what it is.
While you and God could be pals, God could still do what only he can do. And it’s not always as you want it. I’m talking about God changing it for you.
Even though God is my Daddy-longlegs, he lets me take my time at a particular stage and doesn’t hurry me to the next without reason. And whenever I was too comfortable somewhere, he doesn’t mind disrupting that false comfort zone I had created for myself to take me to the next stage. He is still my Daddy-longlegs, and this is just one of the things he does.
Meanwhile, life is not as slow as it used to be. In fact, it now goes at jet speed.
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