“Shhh dear. Your mom, Sister Tola needs some rest. It’s that time of the day when people go to sleep; not another cry to bring down the house”! As I clasp your fragile body in my hands rocking you to and fro, my mind wanders far and wide yet finds no comforting lullaby for you. Perhaps, the thoughts running through my mind will suffice as I recap the day’s event.
It’s been a long day dear; a memorable one at that. Exactly one week to your birth, today marked your naming ceremony. If what these superstitious iya ijebus say about your consciousness of what plays out around you are anything to go by then your stare said more than the ordinary perceived.
And so, you may have wondered….
Why, barely an hour after the vicar invoked passages from the Holy book, the same tongues that took the communion pounced on bottles after bottle of booze?
How it was that your grand-uncle Kazeem who only a month ago, we held a family meeting to raise money for his children’s upkeep still afforded to dole out bundles on your grandmother l’oju agbo (dance floor)?
How the same grandma who also doubles as my mom and her colleagues managed to raise the tens of thousands for the anco they wore at the event despite cries over their unpaid gratuities?
Why minutes after your dozen or so names were read out – the least with 10 letters – anyone could barely remember?
What can I say? Even I can’t understand the foregoing as I was born into what now culturally defines us as a people. And in a rather ironic twist, my next brand “Àsà” seeks to uphold these very cultural values that seem conflicting in certain areas.
If for nothing, accept the sacrifices as living proof of our love for you. Yes dear, what you represent dwarfs the dramas facing each of us. It’s why your daddy called a stop to my lifeline saying he had to focus more on you. Oh, you didn’t know? First, your mom’s arrival and now yours, translate to resources hitherto channeled to support my entrepreneurial exploits would now be diverted to you.
Nevertheless, I’m not mad at your daddy o! Life’s about choices. He went the route of paid employment and was at this age of mine today financially independent and comfortable enough to attract a damsel like your mom.
Dear, our society is a peculiar one and I can only pray you grow not into its stereotype to give room for guys like me tomorrow; guys with little more than ideas, passion and the determination to execute them at the expense of immediate material gratification to offer their heartthrobs. Unfortunately, your uncle ‘Bee’ here bears that brunt today.
Siju, the lady in Ankara that carried you while your mom did her thing on the dance floor, she’s the ‘special one’ in my life. She’s been raising dust ever since she saw you, asking now for a date. Guess what? She seeks nothing short of commitment from me; a rarity in today’s Naija. Perhaps, due to her material comfort with a professional 9 to 5 job. Me nko? Probably too caught up with my long held dream to create the next ‘Big Thing’. Or just happy to be without the overhead of bankrolling her needs and family’s; “ma wo e (look at you)”, you’ll be amazed at what burdens men carry in our society. Beyond our love though lie some unspoken realities. Some say we are no match because she’s a few years older than me. Others say I’m even more physically attractive than her. Ejo mi ko o (it’s no fault of mine). Fineboi without money equals zero love as my experiences with younger ladies have shown. It’s a story that’s best analogous to that of ‘Lakunle’ and ‘Sidi’ in Wole Soyinka’s “Lion and the Jewel”. Whatever the case, time remains to decipher between true love or otherwise in what binds us. Families and friends are not left out saying I’m next in line as the second born of the family. Believe me, even the routine weekend weddings never prompted as much pressure from them as your arrival has. Yes o! It remains to be seen if their question is motivated by sincerity or another reason to justify an owambe.
As you close your eyes in sleep, savor your blessed nature dear. In your daddy’s stop to my lifeline, thanks for providing me with the motivation to push even further. In Siju’s pressure for a date, thanks for the reality check. In the lavish spending on your naming, thanks for making us see the true value of money despite the societal odds facing us even if for this one day. Goodnight baby.