I was chatting with my long-time girlfriend Juliet who lives in Ghana, and she said something that quite struck me.
“Who would have believed that you would turn out to be a good mother Akudo? You never did look the part” she concluded. I must confess, I had to pause in my response and think back.
You see, Juliet is one of the very few people who have known me in Lagos for close to a decade. She was among the few friends I made immediately I arrived Lagos, bag in hand and with a strong desire to make a name for myself. She took an instant liking to me and we have been friends since then, so I can safely say she knows ME.
“Oh yes”, I replied, “It’s amazing that we never stop surprising ourselves” I typed back at her as I cast my mind to who I was back then.
I am very innovative, and once an idea pops in my head I want to follow it up regardless of the discouraging situation in Nigeria. You must agree with me that our beloved country pays little attention and never really supports start-ups. So imagine me, a simple girl with no strong family name, and also not a part of the usual Lagos clique. I was just a simple girl with ideas popping in her head. I knew very well the challenges facing me, so I was pretty determined to fulfil my dreams of being a renowned media personality in my time.
Of course I had no time for family or children. The idea hardly cropped up in my head and when it did, I quickly brushed it off. I, however, didn’t know that I cut the same picture of self-contented working class lady, who had no interest in children or marriage to other people. Maybe that’s why it took me forever to get married.
I remember one day, my older sister was telling me about her kids and their wahala on phone and I jokingly told her that I am sure I would run mad if I’m left to cater for children.
“How about when you have kids, how would you cope?” she asked me.
“Ah, ah, why do I have you now?” I replied, “I will send the kids to come and live with you. You will help me train them while I work, but don’t worry, I’ll visit them occasionally” I said confidently. She laughed loudly for a few minutes and said
“When that time comes Akudo, I’ll remind you of this conversation”. Now when I look at my kids, I wonder how I could have thought of giving them out to someone else to train for me. I must have been bananas then.
Recently, during the summer holidays, my sister asked me to send the kids to her in Enugu, so they could spend time with her kids, (last summer, she and her kids had spent the holidays in Lagos and she wanted the same experience on the reverse side). I consented and told her I would discuss with their dad.
My husband agreed; on the condition that I’d take them there and go back to bring them back in two weeks. I agreed, but then was reluctant to make the final traveling plans. ‘What if they get so used to Enugu and refuse to return with me?’, ‘What if my children replace me with my sister and develop more love for her than me?’, ‘What if my son who was learning to talk starts calling her mummy?’, ‘What if they refuse to return home with me and insist I keep them permanently in Enugu?’, ‘How would I cope without their usual cries and bubbly laughter’s?’, ‘How would I endure their absence?’
These questions troubled me for days and I had to call my sister and tell her I think the kids were too young to go on holidays.
“You see now Akudo, I just tested you. I knew there was no way you could endure to let the children out of your house for days, except if you don’t love them enough” she laughed and hung up. I smiled as I remembered that conversation years ago, I must have been mad, yes I must have been mad.
“I love my kids so much Juliet, they are MY WORLD” I told her in the chat and with a sheepish smile on my face.