You don’t get pregnant where we come from…..at least not until you graduate and marry; they could not understand how I managed to remain so calm. You see, I had done my own share of the crying thing and was all cried out! I knew they would eventually get over it as I did. The strange thing was that I never for once thought about termination….in fact, I found out I was pregnant after just 3 and a half weeks. I told my loving boy friend and he immediately developed a phobia for babies….he was scared to death about becoming a father. I told him it was okay, I will do this on my own then, just feel free to jump right in anytime you want I teased trying to make him laugh. I failed woefully at that, well the short version was we had to go our separate ways.
Life was not too cool after that, at about 7 months I really began to show and all the fun stopped. The rest of the months was used to prepare for my child and on the 15th of mach 1990 at exactly 1:05 pm, my son Timothy was born at a healthy weight of 8lbs 9 ounces. All was not as Rosy as I write mind you…my father did find out, almost threw my mum out of the house(as you all know that the bad stuff is usually the mothers influence right…) I was told to ask my mum where I came from because it was obvious I was not his child.
I took it all in stride but made sure he was equally as frustrated as I was, so I always came back with an equally spiteful response. I told him that I knew for a fact that he was my dad because all his people claim that I am the spitting image of his mom.
We had our war of words for about 3 months and needless to say that my topic fully occupied the gossips of my very extended family whilst the cowards amongst them still pretended and came to visit me and my son.
My so called friends here in Houston gradually pulled away from me, we had nothing in common any longer and as painful as all of this was, I still managed to hold my head up. My sisters were incredible….they were tireless in their efforts and they were mothers to Timothy along with me. Between us we had no clue what to to, but we winged it as we went along.
My father cut me off completely, no tuition money was sent to me any longer and I had to put my baby in daycare at 8 weeks, and went back to work. This new life was becoming too much for us to handle, and my poor baby was also suffering; I knew my only option was to ask my mother to take him, and she said “yes” when I eventually did. It was against my fathers wishes, but all she said was “let me see how he’ll throw away his own grandson” She was right, the stubborn old man could not complain, but he did his best to stay away from Timothy I was later told.
The next three years were the most miserable of my life, I missed my baby so much and there was an empty void that I need to fill desperately; only having him back with me would do that. I finished school, got my degree and went on to take several jobs along the way. I was a cook, housekeeper, gardener, English tutor and a catalogue model at one time. That was a good period for us…the money was infrequent as the work,but when it did come it was very good.
Tobe and I kept communicating and it was during one conversation with him that he said something that changed my life….he said ‘if you miss your baby so much Maya,why don’t you work with children? that way you can still feel a part of him with you”
At first I paused and thought how silly is that? That would make me miss him more….but later that night in bed, the more I thought about Tobe’s comment, the more sense I made of it. That is one thing I can honestly tell you that calmed my spirit. As I started the daycare work, I became happier with each new day. I saw Timothy in every child there, and I showered them all with all the love I had reserved for my baby.
Life suddenly seemed worth living again, my sisters graduated as well and started better jobs, and I made the frequent call to Nigeria and my son was growing gradually. I also found out that my father was also beginning to take to him….they said he had no choice; Timothy would crawl to his bedroom door and sit there most times and he would have no choice but pick him up in other to get in the room. My poor mother would be commanded to come take “this child”…and she would smile secretly as she saw his defenses gradually weakening..
I continued work at the daycare, some days better than others, one day I was very low in spirit and a colleague said I had a call. Thinking it was one of my sisters I immediately broke down and began to say how unhappy I had become lately and that it was not making it any better anymore being surrounded by children whilst mine was hundreds of miles away. When I stopped talking was when it dawned on me that I was not speaking to either of my sisters, but Tobe. He was very kind to me and after much pleading that I stop crying, he asked if I wanted to come to London. To do what I asked slightly irritated. Well….you’ll be nearer to him for one, and you can bring him here.
You have lost your mind I remember replying, and how exactly are I going to pull this off? I finally have my green card in the U.S., why would I want to go through the hell of another immigration problem? Besides, I had help here and could not make it, how do you think London would be any better?
I will marry you he said ….for the papers and I will help you. I was speechless! That was typical of Tobe, but I could not put this all on him. I said no! And we went on to discuss it further; work mates began to fidget because I had been on the phone for long, so I said I would call him when I got home. I never did, but I did mention it to my sisters and they agreed with me that it was unfair to allow him do that.
I was all ready to let him know that I could not do it and so I was going to call him that weekend to let him know, but to my surprise, he called and asked if there was anywhere I could receive a fax and I told him where. He faxed me an invitation and had also located the British High Commission in Houston.
He told me to let him do this for me, that he felt compelled to and would not take no for an answer; so I finally agreed to go to the meeting at the British High Commission. Two weeks later I was on a flight to London and I was both excited and apprehensive about the whole thing.