I had never had a cause to undergo grooming under the roofs of other people asides my parents and as I sit in the comfort another had to provide, I realize that those moments were gold and not appreciated enough.
I remember my mom’s hands holding me as I took my first step, with my dad staring at me like I had just achieved something no one else could. The image remains blurry but I vaguely recall the first cooked meal I ever ate were from the hands of my father, cooked by my mother with lots of love as the secret ingredient. My eyes held such bright smiles and heartfelt happiness.
I recall going to school in my dad’s car, my mom kissing me goodbye as I made my way to my classroom, grumbling about how the Indomie didn’t contain sardines alongside the egg already put in it.
The car was sold before I got to primary 3 after my dad lost his job. Still I didn’t feel the effect that much. The buoyancy and extravagance of our meals had to reduce but still, we ate to our satisfaction. Now that I think of it, I don’t recall how the food was provided but it was always there at the right time and my dad promised that he would never have any reason for us to live outside his home come rain or shine. The situation only affected their inability to get the Christmas clothes I so wanted because all my friends were getting theirs. We couldn’t cook a huge meal like we did annually and I was so angry at everything and everyone.
I remember my parents getting up at 4 a.m so as to make sure I got ready early enough my primary School leaving certificate examination. I complained that the #100 was too small for snacks that day since my friends were obviously going to bring more. I didn’t want the biscuit and drink my dad put into my bag and I grumbled about not being given enough freedom to be responsible for the things I ate, with their money of course.
I remember being pissed off on my first day in secondary school having to wear the same school uniform used by my elder sister, although adjusted to my size. There was a time I got so mad when I had to exchange my new school bag and water bottle for my sister’s old ones when she was going to the boarding school. I recall being sad that my parents wouldn’t allow me go see my friends at their houses or even get me a phone.
I thought sadness was the worst emotions one could ever feel but then I experienced shock when my mother fell ill and I became saddled with the responsibility of going to the market and making meals at age 13. Privileges I had enjoyed seemed to have disappeared alongside her good health.
I recall things going real bad when daddy’s job came to a standstill. The strains became overbearing coupled with the heavy hospital bills that didn’t seem to be yielding any positive results. I remember the reality of my pain and the emptiness written boldly on my siblings faces as she was lowered six feet under. I had never gotten a chance to thank her for her love and the roof she made sure stayed over my head. There were uncertainties and fears. Daddy couldn’t afford to cater for us anymore without a source of livelihood and his promises had to be broken for our survival.
I’m not starved neither am I naked but I just wish I still had the protection and love their roofs offered. I wish I didn’t complain over the lack of sardines, Christmas clothes or a phone. I wish I had accepted the 100 naira without complaining or comparing myself with others. I wish I had understood they didn’t want me visiting friends for my own good. I wish I saw the used uniform as a sign of the bond and unity we shared as a family.
Having seen life myself, I couldn’t want more than my parents taking charge of my whole being because I don’t think I’m prepared for the tides of responsibility. I wish my mum could hold me in her arms and tell me all is going to be fine even as I go through the remaining thorns life has to offer.
Life has its ups and downs. I went through them and I still do but I have learnt to appreciate the roses better because the images of their beauty engraved in my mind keeps me going even as I approach another set of thorns.