I made one thing abundantly clear to my wife once we got married, that my parents were very important to me. I understand that she didn’t have that sort of upbringing; she and her parents virtually are not on speaking terms. But as for me, my parents were part and parcel of my life; they were very involved with me as I went through life’s rites of passage.
My wife, however, had a different kind of upbringing. She was raised by a single mother. Her mum left her dad when she was 8 years old and the mum never let any of her children see their dad over the years. When I met my wife, some 24 years after her parents had separated and she told me she hadn’t seen her father for that long, I was scandalized as in, I asked, ‘where is he? Is he even still alive, what happened between you and your father?’
I felt like, whatever happened between her parents was their problem, it should never be a problem between her and her father or even between her and her own mother.
So my wife, she was my girlfriend then, was raised to believe her father was a good for nothing man, a man who didn’t support his children nor cared about them. That being the story her mother told her and her siblings as they grew up; was also the story she told me.
I then asked her if she had reached out to her dad and heard his own side of the story, she said she hadn’t; she said the man was dead to her. I told her she had to, for her own sake, hear the man tell her he doesn’t care about her and her siblings.
After much persuasions, she began to make enquiries and found that her dad was still alive; he had been retired from the civil service years back and had relocated to his village. I encouraged her to call him and ask to see him.
She did, the man was bitter;
He was angry that my girlfriend and her siblings didn’t bother to ask after him.
He said he didn’t want to see them, since they had abandoned him.
For me, I didn’t believe that was all there was to it; I encouraged her to call him again after sometime to ask to see him. I felt that one’s father would always be an integral part of one’s life, maybe because my own dad was every present in my life, I wanted my girlfriend too to experience that kind of love, security, joy from having a dad that one could call on to sort things out, guide, support…you know?
The dad eventually agreed and she and her siblings made the journey to see their father. It was bitter sweet.
They found out that their mum hadn’t been entirely truthful; he wanted to see his children but she prevented him from, though not to discredit her; she single handedly sent her kids to school, all three are graduates! But she deprived their father of his role, true he didn’t have as much means as she did, yet, no matter what, he should have left him have access to his kids…anyway, I’m not talking to judge anyone.
But it also happened that the man had remarried and had two more sons; he had become blind at 67 and was not too happy with his first set of children. He blamed them for not coming to look for him especially as their mother had prevented him from having access to them.
Anyway; the father too has some skion, skion, you know, some native madness about him. He told my girlfriend and his siblings that they had to take care of some of his hospital bills as his younger children were too small to be of any financial support to him…that how come those ones said, “lailai, you that we hadn’t seen in years, we start paying for what?”
I told you the man has a touch of madness!
But by and large, the father would call and check on them and of course, ask for money. This is the reason his elder children stayed away from him, their mum, was also not helping matters, she was accusing them of betraying her; she told them she would have nothing to do with them if they continued to be in touch with their father.
Anyway, the period we got married was the maddest with both parents trying to outdo one another with meanness, caring nothing for how their daughter felt. They both refused to wear the same aso ebi, refused to entertain their guests at the same venue, virtually stressed my girlfriend and me over every detail. After we got married, she didn’t want to have anything to do with either of them.
Anyway; that is her own issue. I understood her need for sanity and I respected her wish. Then of course my parents, who I had no issues with, whom she had no issues with became the very people she also wanted to keep out of our home.
My parents, like I said are people who have been a part of my life; I am close to them; I talk to my dad virtually every day. We talk about work, politics, life…everything. He’s my paddy for jungle. My parents are not interfering neither are they the quarrelsome type. All was well until my wife had our second child and she didn’t want my mum to come help with the baby. I asked her why, she said she could manage on her own. This is a woman who had undergone CS Cesarean Section to give birth…
At that time, I had no idea her mother was telling her things; telling my wife how she had betrayed her and taken her husband’s mother as her mother…she was telling he so many things that when I found out, I was mad. I told my wife, ‘don’t listen to your mother, she ruined her chances at being a good mother. Let my mother come and help you.’
I was talking to a brick wall of course.
She kept stalling, ‘Mummy is too old… Mummy will just be in the way…I don’t like how mummy bathes babies…’
When my mother heard she had undergone CS, she wanted to help, to be there for my wife and our baby. She kept calling and my wife wouldn’t pick and when she did it was to tell her not to bother to come.
I travelled that period when the wahala happened; my parents, after they had been constantly told not to come, came.
They were baffled that she would try to prevent them from seeing their grandchild. Unfortunately for them, they came, knocked and knocked on our door, my wife was in but did not open. They called me to call her to tell her they were at the door…this woman told me I should tell them they should have told her they were coming!
I’m not a violent man, I came home three days later and threw her out!
Nobody will disrespect my parents, over what?
See wahala now, her parents can’t even come together to plead on her behalf, they are busy blaming each other for her bad behavior but she is an adult, so I won’t hold her parents responsible for this.
If her mother and father are mad, mine will not be treated like they are mad! So that’s what happened, o.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)