Posted on

What is that darling?

girl-882336_1280

How modern are we as parents? Really and truly?
Tinu is the executive officer of an NGO “Belfort Place”. She has a daughter called Banke. I am deliberately dispensing with surnames. That way they are private while we talk about them.

Banke is home on an exeat of a day. The mother takes Banke shopping and as they move towards the check out, something drops from Banke’s bag. Tinu had the presence of mind not to react instantly as Bank quickly drops it back in her bag. But for the rest of the shopping, Tinu is distracted. Later during refreshment, conversation ensues
Tinu: Who is he?
Banke: (Very mystified) He?
Tinu: Saw the condom in your bag
Tinu leans back and laughs, but Tinu is about to have a heart attack, never mind that her NGO counsels people on rape and victims.

“Honestly I didn’t know what to make of it, had she become sexually active already? She is only sixteen?”
Tinu had given her mother a look, shrugged and explained that another NGO had come to their school and distributed free condoms to all of them.
Tinuhad a lot to think about, it was an NGO, and the students had been given a talk about sexual activities. Tinu said, she felt suddenly vulnerable about her daughter and was not so sure she welcomed the idea of condom distribution in her daughter’s school. Seriously now, how many of us as parents who claim to be modern really love the idea of that talk? When we shared the event with Tunrayo, she was scandalized and went on and on about NGOs being part of the problem. She was of the view that children should not be told anything until they were well into their first year in University.
“Don’t be a goose Tunrayo said sharply, Olayinka got raped while she was in 300 level and she had been told nothing. If her mother had taken time to talk about sexuality at all, the poor girl would not have gone off to a strange city with her half- brother.

The argument moved from should NGOs be allowed to give sexuality orientation in secondary schools? Notice that my emphasis has been on sexuality and not on sex education. Is there a difference? Sure there is a difference? However the experience today is : what would be your reaction if your girl child has a packet of condom in her bag.
Banke said, she used the condom to let her seniors know of her preferred orientation
That started Tinu off as she asked what was going on in the boarding house for girls?
Banke rolled her eyes and turned to me: “Big Mummy, have you ever heard of feathering”
My throat went dry as I asked what she meant, and she said

When a senior girl is interested in a girl in the school, they ask her to be a friend with benefits. They educate her in what they mean about the benefits. If she refuses to give them the password to her server, they feather her. That means they come round to her bed at night and initiate her. Can you persuade my mum that I do not wish to give anybody right now a password to my server?
Can somebody please educate me further?

Posted on

Conversations with Mama

The pain didn’t have a location and it was not physical. But it hurt so badly I sighed awake for three straight nights. I was also embarrassed. I remembered mother. Then I prayed weeping silently in remorse. Could I talk with mother now? But then, I still felt pain about the whole episode. Forty three years was a long time to hold pain and Mama had been dead for twenty years of that time. We had not talked for the first fifteen years after mama passed, the pain was too raw all that time. I had simply ignored all the silent promptings that explained it was in my best interest to hold mama in love.

The horror of one day in Time, being brought to face the chasm of lovelessness had forced me to get a firm grip of myself and I made the first tentative approach to talking. I had no idea where mother was now in the beyond, I had not even prepared her seat so she could sit with the ancients. So I had to call her with my thoughts and use my love to search for her through moonlit nights amongst the stars.
mother-and-daughter-668167_1280

It took a while, but finally mother responded one morning while I was in the bathroom. She simply stood in her thoughts watching me critically and then said simply, she had received the messages. I asked Mama how she was faring and gave her a critical look.
Mama looked …well….Mama had shed the toga of a ghost and looked young, in fact younger than how she was before she passed.
“So, you didn’t send me such messages just to wonder at my age do you?” Mama asked
“No, Why didn’t you give me any inkling of what you thought of Alex when I came to tell you about him” I blurted
“I did” Mama said and I could imagine she had raised her eyebrows as she always did when she thought I was asking a stupid question
“Mama, you never said what you thought was wrong with Alex, just asked that I should not get pregnant and said it was okay to agree to marry him and he promptly made me pregnant. Why didn’t you tell me about love Mama? About waiting and preparing for the Mr. Right and not living with a man out of wedlock”
“How could I tell you what I only sensed, your father wasted no time getting another woman when I did not birth a son for him, what did I understand about love too?”
“My daughter is sleeping with her boyfriend now and I don’t know what to tell her, I wish she would wait for him to come and ask for her hand properly, Alex never did for me. Three children later, I left him and live alone now. The moral standard is much lower than when I met Alex Mama and as a parent, I have tried letting my daughter know about decency, but she says she is getting on and must marry quickly or be left on the shelf”
“I see, so you want me to spook your daughter by appearing by her bed and tell her she is committing sin?”
I laughed outright, alone in the bathroom with the misty image of my mother. She still retained her sense of sarcasm and fun.

I wanted to ask her what I am not doing right about parenting, and why all I said to my daughter always sometimes ended in painful arguments and silent days of mutual hurt feelings.
I wanted to be a perfect parent, show out all I had missed why growing up and fill in the gaps.
“In short Olayemisi, you want to live your life all over again through your daughter. Interferring as usual with the threads of fate of your gift”
What?

I was alone in the bathroom and Mama had returned to history and left behind the lessons of love, prayer and patience.
Parents were never created perfect, that is why procreation was allowed, so we learn through each other and with each other.
Talk soon..

Posted on

ARE PARENTS PERFECT?

couple-254683_1920

She was late again, and I rehearsed to myself all the stories she was going to tell me . Not the truth though and that was the source of pain. There was pain in her eyes as she talked and I sighed, for some of the things she said echoed within me.

“Why don’t we have perfect answers and reactions? She asked me plaintively.
I sighed, Can parents be perfect? Is there really a manual that tells us that we can do this or that at any given time?
You don’t become perfect as a human being and we all work towards that perfection when you will not be here on terra firma.

I wish I had perfect answers all the time. My granny would always smile and shake her head.
As a parent, do we have really and truly the best way to bring up a child. Some of us take refuge in our religion and use that as a yardstick. Then I read the commandment that said Tough shalt honour father and Mother.
Can a child honour a drunken father, dishonest and dissolute? Or a mother who indulges in coquetry, flirts and cheats? Where does the honour begin? and the distaste sets in?. How can I honour a father that sends his son to give his girlfriend notes and messages, or a mother that has kept the secrets of her extra houses away from the father until the daughter stumbles on it one innocent afternoon.
Joke came to see me, her eyes saucer like in shock. Her mother is a trader and she had three daughters. Joke is the last of the three girls. A marketing executive with of the major brewery in the city. Her father retired as an accountant and Joke was always regarded as daddy’s little ‘present’ because she came after 12year from the last girl.

Iyabo her mother had a very bad pregnancy. I mean she hardly had one pain free day. We all attributed it to the length of years between the pregnancies. She never seemed interested in her children though always leaving the emotional nourishment to Dapo her husband, so we were not surprised when they seemed closer to their dad and we were touched because you know men always wanted sons . Dapo was different though. He cared for his daughters. As they got older, they would share confidences with their father and not the mother.

Joke said, it was strange as she would visit her friends and knew the daughters could share with their mothers girly secrets, however,Iyabo rarely seemed to want her daughter’s company.
I was always puzzled but since she always seemed concern about them I shrugged it off as maybe she was inwardly shy of letting her inner thoughts to shine forth.

However this afternoon, there was anger, disgust and disbelief in Joke’s eyes. She had escorted her friend to a new flat he was paying for and the landlady turned out to be her own mother!
“We both stared at each other in total shock I can tell you, she suddenly paid money into my account. This woman has been complaining to my dad that she has no money from her trading and asks for money to buy toiletries and she owns a luxurious flat at a swanky part of town. How do I honour such a two faced devil?” Joke asked me
What should I tell her?