IF you asked three-year-old Shanika Lazarus about her dad, she would tell you that she loves him “bad, bad, bad”.
Shanika, a pupil of the RJR Citizens Advice Bureau Basic School at Beechwood Avenue in Kingston told the Jamaica Observer last month that she loves her father simply because he takes care of her.
“I love my daddy bad, bad because he gives me food, he makes tea for me and he buys things for me,” the young Lazarus explained.
If she could articulate, she would probably list a thousand reasons why she loves her dad, Benetto, who is the only parent in her life.
Benetto has been taking care of her for the past two years… all by himself.
When the Sunday Observer caught up with them last month, Benetto had just rushed from the studio right in time to pick her up shortly after her dismissal from school.
Shanika, who could not contain herself when her father arrived, tugged on his arms as she pointed out to him that the ice cream man had also arrived.
Even though he did not purchase the ice cream, she held no grudges. Before you knew it, she wanted him to lift her up as she suddenly planted a number of kisses on his cheek.
The single father, whose task includes combing her hair, fixing breakfast, taking her to school, picking her up from school, among other things, admitted that it is a tough job.
“It really rough in the mornings when you know you have to press, wash the clothes, worst if you have two suits. You have to wake her up and get her something to eat. Sometimes she doesn’t want to wake,” Benetto stated.
The father of one who lives in Arnett Gardens told the Sunday Observer that he was not prepared to be a single father, but said he had to play the role.
“It was easier when her mother was there and I could go on the road… she never had to go on the road because she was alright. I made sure she was alright too. So when she cut leave her and school time come it hard,” Benetto reasoned.
The entertainer also admitted that even though the relationship between himself and the mother of his child was at a crossroads, he was prepared to take care of his daughter.
“I always tell myself that whenever I get a youth, I am going to be there because mi nah do it like how I grow up,” Benetto reasoned.
Benetto further explained, “Me nuh grow up with my father. It was just the old lady; mi nuh know much, much about him … you know what I mean?”
Although next Sunday is celebrated as Father’s Day, Benetto said, he receives the same amount of love every day.
“Every day me celebrate Father’s Day because every day my daughter get up she tell me say she love me … it come in like a every day is Father’s Day to me. I no have no special day to say Father’s Day is a special day. Every day is Father’s Day to me,” he explained.
By this time, Leonard Bailey, otherwise known as Merciless signalled to Benetto that it was time to return to the studio.
But the father, who is obviously proud to be a dad, described Shanika as “such a blessing”.
“She is a girl who loves save, three-year-old ennuh. The other day me nuh have no money in my possession to buy her Career Day thing ennuh and from the silver that she saved I could use some out of it to buy her costume,” he said, adding that at that time she was dressed as a Superintendent of Police.
“She brilliant man, well brilliant, I am always proud. Every artiste loves her. Some time me nuh have no many to give to the school or pay the school fee and the artiste them give her to pay the school fee. That is how lucky she is. Mi nuh know how to explain it but she bless,” he added.
He also noted that even though Father’s Day does not receive the same volume of recognition as Mother’s Day, people also called him on Mother’s Day to wish him well.
“The other day when it was Mother’s Day a whole heap a people a call me and tell me Happy Mother’s Day ennuh, because they know I am a mother and a father in one. Whole heap a call me get ennuh. When a Father’s Day it double worse,” he chuckled.
By: Racquel Porter