Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.

Learning Lessons

Hello everyone,
I am sharing my fortieth year as a writer. It was a bit surprising when my husband noted thatthis year makesit the fortieth year of my writing experience.
So I had to ask myself a few questions. what has been my experience. I live in a country where the reading culture had been bastardised.
What have I achieved in all the 40 years? Is it worth celebrating?
Given the country I live in,I have grown a lot, my writing skills has improved. In recognition of that length of time, I changed the look of my website. made a conscious effort to reflect on what has moved me through the years.
I am bit surprised to note that I have always been socially conscious, from my romantic plays, to my detective series as well as so many other stories. I even wrote horror stories which recently changed forms to religious and fantasy.
I have published quite a number of novels, poetry and produced plays.
I am musing today and will share in the weeks to come my stories, rationale and lessons learned.Meanwhile let me share this with you
TREAD SOFTLY

Don’t get lost
In the weft of threads
Don’t swim west
From the heat of sweat
Don’t make mounds
From life’s hounds
Search through the chaff
From the flowing stream
Each clap of thunder
Each sighing hiss
Of the fierce lightning
Evidence of streaming light
Follow the rainbow stream
And friend, you’ll be home.

Resolutions…..what are they?

“How did they come about anyway?” my daughter asked me
We were discussing new year resolutions and I had asked her if she had thought of any for this year. You know I never really thought that it originated from somewhere.

Do you think new year resolutions started from somewhere or as a result of something? I don’t think so though, but I sense that it must have started from the human mind deciding to review its past activities and checking for itself how far it has gone towards achieving a goal or a set of goals.
Remember how we set so many goals for ourselves, it is indicative of the prayers we make too. Not one prayer point, but several in fact in the space of a minute. We do have a lot we want. So I asked her what she had set for herself as a goal this year. She frowned then gave me a questioning look.

“Mum, I am not being rude, but If I tell you, Iam going to have a hard time working at it as you will be checking me out to know if I am working at the resolution. I think resolutions are private you know”
I swallowed as I acknowledged the truth of that statement. But can we give our ourselves resolutions? How dowe teach our children, the importance of resolutions? Is it supposed to be at a particular time of the year?
I remember that for me my resolutions or review tends to be as I approach my birthday. It is that time of year when I wonder what the Creator wished I could do with my present incarnation and as I take my first breath my contract begins .

I used to think that is when I review what I have done in the past year. For me the first day of January is just the first day of the new year but not the first day of my new year. They are other days of similar importance in the calendar of my growth to a goal. So it generally is part of a collective review.
I thought of all these as I chatted with my daughter. She asked me why I had lapsed into such silence, so I smiled and shared my thoughts. Her eyes opened wide in surprise and she nodded.
“You know mum, actually, I sense a day should be a review. We could make each evening of our lives a review of what he had done and make a resolution against the next day”

Now it was my turn to stare and give silent thanks for the opportunity of experiencing this gem.
So, resolutions? What are they really? There are the decisions we take each time we give ourselves a chance to honestly review how we have acted and make a resolution to improve on it.
If we take it one day at a time, we stand a pretty good chance of keeping, maintain and sustaining our resolutions.
My daughter smiled, and touched my shoulder, “and you didn’t like pastors mum?”
I stared and she laughed blowing me a kiss
Happy new year everyone

What shall we give Jesus for His Birthday?

It is the time of year when we all remember it as the season of goodwill right? So when my daughter kept giving me broad hints about what she wanted for the Christmas celebration, I sighed wondering how I was going to communicate to her what the real Christmas was supposed to be.

All those nativity scenes and movies she kept watching was not doing the thing I wanted to pass across. I had noticed that each time I patted the seat beside me and asked her that we should chat she would become restless and remember something she needed to do in her room. Hmm , her room had become some kind of fortress these days. She was always hiding in there. I did not want to invade her privacy as I am a stickler for privacy myself, I could snoop in there. I asked myself the question, why would I snoop in her room? I didn’t like that picture of myself so I waited.

This afternoon, I was checking my old box of memorabilia that I always took with me and my hand struck my piggy bank. A smile came across my face as I gently stroked it and I knew I would start bawling in a minute as I remember my dad. He was my hero and I could never stop talking about the things he taught me even with his silences and his silent trust of me. The piggy bank started with him asking me to drop whatever tips his friends who came round gave me. He said I might be surprised what I would have saved by the end of the year. He said he would give me the interest toad to it. We made a pact and he gave me the piggy bank. If I was sent on errands by his friends, they would tend to ask me to keep the change. That went into my bank. Some days I would sit and daydream that angels would fill up the bank for me. Other times, dad would give me a smile if I had made some really good grades and hand me some coins to put in my bank.

Each year by the beginning of the third quarter he would order for clothes for the children. He did not like the rush towards Christmas. So usually as the last month came round, I was always in a fever of impatience to have the chance to put on my new clothes and go visit friends and relatives.
As this particular Christmas approached I kept hinting to dad that I would love to have “bisco’ you know the glittering sticks we burned at Christmas, I was not into bangers and the noise but I loved bisco and would stare at the glittering showers imagining I was seeing stars come and go.

However dad’s question was very surprising.
What is Christmas for?
It is the birthday of Jesus dad, we all know that
Hmmm… so what are you getting him for his birthday then?
I stared, then stammered. He is not here dad, he is in heaven
Is that why we can’t give him a birthday present? We pray to him don’t we every morning?
I slowed down and gave my dad a puzzled look
He smiled, that very special smile of his and wondered if Jesus might not like me giving Ahmed the little boy next door a football for Christmas.
He is a Muslim dad and he doesn’t celebrate Christmas
He is God’s creature my son, and Jesus is neither Christian nor Muslim but the incarnate Love of the Creator. You think we might just give Jesus a lovely birthday gift of love which we show to our neighbor whoever they are wherever they maybe.

Your neighbor is just a thought away and it is faster than the second.
I knocked on my daughter’s bedroom door as I sent a prayer of thanks to dad for his Christmas gift

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?

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..

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?

The mouse roared

couple-254684_1920

Are you jealous?
“I was surprised at the question. Jealous of my own daughter? I wondered if I was jealous. A tiny imp of mischief whispered that I probably am. It was a depressing thought and I felt funny. My spirit lifted however when I remembered Dad and I. The severe pain I had felt when he passed and how I resisted any hint that he could have been human after all.”

I sighed as I listened to Tope. We have been friends for more than forty years and so I accepted all she wanted to tell me as a friend. I wondered though if she would be willing to take a few words from me. I had listened to her eldest daughter talk to me one day.

“Aunty, Mum is the male in this house. She never once visited me in school, has never ever looked at my reports from school. There is a loneliness that I will never wish on my child when I have one. Each time I bring my reports home, she simply asks Dad casually if there are any reds in my report then yawns and goes straight to bed. She never waits for Dad to answer” There was bewilderment in her voice, then she continues ”you see she is of the school of thought that parents should not be attached to their children, but she is not attached to me, I think she said having me, spoilt her shape, she keeps telling me that she was a real heartbreaker when she met dad”

Wow, I said to myself as I wondered how to be helpful. The question of jealousy had come out because Tola has a very beautiful figure, clear faced ebony beauty a pride to any parent. She had finished school and was working in the hospital. As a medical doctor, she barely had a social life until she met Tade a fellow doctor. On the very rare outing, her mother had come out and complained about dress, make up and eventually the fact that Tola was throwing herself at a man who was poor did not have a rich genealogy and was…. The complaints were endless. Tola had in anger taunted her mother and asked her mother if her mother was jealous.

You could say the mouse finally roared.
I have said it often on this blog. Let’s take a step back once in a while and put the spotlight on ourselves. We know that we are not always right. My cousin says you can’t keep forever second guessing yourself. There is no such person as a perfect mum or dad. We are humans after all too. So how do we help ourselves to grow?
Tola drew naturally close to her dad, being an only child, Tope became so immersed in her job that she forgot all about the guest she had invited into her life. Children are guests and gifts from the Father Almighty. We are not just expected to feed, clothe and educate them, we have other basic responsibilities too.

What are the priorities we show our children with our activities? I asked my friend if she wanted a rich husband for her daughter and would be willing to shop for one. I asked what made her to be close to her father?
She looked at me in surprise and said her father was the one person she could relate to in a polygamous setting with her mother out of the picture

“Well, you seem to be repeating the same pattern you know, Your father took care of you because your mum was not there physically for you and you never became close because the bond of love was not made. You are not in the picture right now for your daughter, not because your husband has another wife or wives, he loves you but you have made him both mother and father to your only child. When do you want to be in the picture?”
I saw a strange look come into her eyes as realization started to dawn. It was going to be a long road to find a daughter and it was time I left.

What do you think?

What about the butterflies mum?

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I shook my head trying hard not to let her down. I never saw the butterflies nor did I see the stars. I felt resentment rise in me, as I felt cheated of what may have been a legitimate experience. She was looking at me and I could swear I saw stars in her eyes. Were those butterflies I felt in my stomach, my hands were sweating and I knew I was going to sound like a frog being strangled if I spoke. I took refuge in a screechy laugh. Alarmed at that sound I clamped my mouth shut.
There was a teeny bit of jealousy that rose in me. Tolu my fourteen year old daughter was beginning to look uncertain. I held her in my arms and screamed silently for help and guidance. She wanted to know when she would know she was in love and was asking me what she should feel. Nothing in my warehouse of memories looked like what the romance books says. The clammy feeling, the stars in her eyes and those darn butterflies!. I get all those feelings when I am nervous or am about to hit the roof over something.

Tolu had been told by her friends at school that she would feel all those things when she meets Mr. Right, Ergh! We had to talk, it was standard practice in the house, she asks the questions and I had always been able to answer the questions. Now I am having problem answering this one because knowing my daughter as I do, her next question was going to be if I felt that way about her father. So I took a deep breath, and held her hands

“Darling, love comes to people in different ways, when we are young and start seeing the opposite sex as a bit more interesting than the nuisance we thought they were, our generative instinct is coming into play. We are beginning to be self- conscious, we start wanting to look like the ideal we sense and want the object of our interest to see us as the ideal. I guess that is when we see those stars because we see in the other person something higher than ourselves and we want to be the best for that person. These feelings awaken in us the sense of what real love should be like. It is a beginning my dear but like a fruit just budding, you must allow it to grow, mature and ripen . Remember how I used to tell you not to eat unripe mangoes in the garden? You know you must allow it to mature and ripen and then you enjoy the fruit?”

Tolu nodded and she looked at me as she asked, “So falling in love is like seeing an unripe mango?”
“Learning about those butterflies in your stomach is learning about love and you will need to give the mango time to grow, mature and…..”
“ripen” she finished for me laughing.
I went further picking my words carefullyas I explained about crushes, infatuation and their new definitions of friends with benefits and friends without benefits. She was amused and we chatted for a few more minutes before I rushed off for my production meeting.

Obviously Tolu had only barely understood the phrase about “friends with benefits” because she asked her dad what were the benefits the neighbor’s undergraduate son meant when he said they could be friends. I waited until the wretch got back home and bared my teeth to the miserable boy, explained to him the benefits derivable from a rampaging witch as well as what the insides of a police cell could look like. I smiled as I explained to a horrified young idiot what he could with his benefits.

Tolu is barely on talking terms with him as I revisited out talk and gave details about the meaning of “friends with benefits”

Did I do it right? I have been wondering.
What do you think folks?

When is it time to do it?

When is it time to do it?american-teen-948079_1920

You don’t expect your child to ask you that type of question do you?
It was a strange question to ask her, and she stood there staring. Then she gulped and went back to the seat staring straight ahead. I knew then she was seeing the ghosts of her dreams. She sighed slowly and twisted her hands on her thighs.

“I guess I never thought of that” she muttered at last
Quite and interesting question all parents never expected to be asked and frankly speaking, if you were asked how were you going to answer? Do you trust your daughter with her male friends?
Kofo had always assumed she knew everything about her daughter, had insisted that she was very close with her daughter Solape. She would have been happy knowing about Solape as a model child until she was shown a sex tape by accident.

She almost had a heart attack and there had been one very violent fight at home. According to her, she had hit her daughter for the first time right across her face. The shock she had problem recovering from was that her daughter had hit her right back.

Kofo collapsed, not from the beating but from the shock of her daughter raising her hand back at her. It was a tough thing to happen. Segun had come to me in desperation asking me how to resolve the issue between wife and daughter. Solape had left the house in tears and Kofo vowed never to talk with her daughter ever again.
Never is a long word in relationships and definitely in a filial relationship. I had to ask my friend to swallow her pain enough to check what was the genesis of the fight, then asked her to be sure Solape was safe wherever she ran to for refuge. Segun had made some discreet calls and knew that his daughter was safe. He was also wondering what to do about his wife. Who was he expected to be loyal to in the first place?

What was the story about sex tape? Solape said her boyfriend had bought and they were going to watch it in his room. Kofo hit the roof asking if Solape already had been having sex with her boyfriend. Wait for it, Solape is twenty six had even concluded her service year but was waiting to get a job.
“That question was way out of her terms of responsibility” was Solape’s argument, when I finally met with the daughter. She wanted to resolve the fight with her mum but she was still angry herself.
“For goodness sake, she is not thinking I am a virgin am I?” Solape had continued pacing the sitting room of her friend Remi where she had taken impromptu shelter.

How do you negotiate a relationship that should have changed focus years ago? when Solape had attained the age of discernment?
The questions kept coming. What was wrong here? Both parties needed counseling?
Will you suggest solutions please?

While we are thinking about this problem, I have one of my own.
Parents ought to evolve from being parents with the responsibility to bring up their children to a point of maturity. All through the lives of their children until they have to pass on to the greater beyond, they should maintain a relationship. When should parents see their children as friends? What type of friends are you with your child? We would like at the stages of friendship in its different definitions , and like Solape demanded, what would be the terms of responsibility?
Looking forward to your responses.

Being a parent is easy, but parenting is for all your life

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