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  • Writer's pictureChef Nii

My Personal Plantain Keleweled

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Chalé let me end this series by beginning to emphasize the struggle with putting up the prerequisite to this post – “My mother the book worm!” This woman will read any and everything. Especially my blog, “once a teacher, always a teacher.” She will start by marking my grammar and then assume the supportive mother role by clicking the like button after we have carefully walked her through the process by which she can achieve that per post. Yes oh! Post by post!

To write about her was hard you know! Sifting through my perceptions versus what the reality on the ground really is How can I speak the truth, yet keep her feelings intact? I stood at the edge of that cliff for weeks you know, and then I decided to lift off. I jumped! And immediately I began to soar! Words just kept spilling out, and then being able to grasp it all and document it left me discombobulated.

This act of courage, has left, imprinted in my mind, the vivid picture of my mother, grinning from ear to ear, with so much pride and satisfaction. A memory I can always reach for when she sees the light and reaches for it, and our FaceTime video calls can no longer be. And yes, she is an Apple user! Refusing to grow! My very own sweet sixteen!

“Mummy, you know teaching is one of the least paying jobs? Wouldn’t you like to look elsewhere?? I mean with the amount of money you spend on stationery, goodies and classroom decor ... some Nike’s won’t be bad oh! “

“I know! I know! But I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, teaching makes me happy you know! Money is good, but money isn’t everything. And must you wear Nike? Will not wearing it make you less of a human being?? Are you barefooted! Do you know the number of children out there who do not even have a shoe to wear? When I was your age...”

Yes!!! You can never win with her, she was so sure of what she wanted to do, but most importantly when it came to her job she was happy!!! She laid a foundation of purpose for me. Knowing your purpose is such a significant aspect of life, it is what drives you, it is what brings you joy and the lack of it results in unfulfillment. Hear me! “Your gift will make room for you, it will usher you into the presence of Kings!!!” And so I always ask myself?? “Is the pay commensurable with my joy? Am I happy here? But most this my purpose?” If not, then what am I doing here?

“Yes please! … No please! … I am fine, thank you! No thank you!” Manners are everything for her. She insisted we spoke well, “enunciated our words properly!” We needed to speak clearly and audibly but most importantly we need to address others respectfully irrespective of who they were. “You might be addressing angels” … No pidgin English! How dare you! With all this school fees! The fufu must have passed inside your head!

And I hated it! I didn’t want to speak differently! I wanted to be “Normal!”. Why couldn’t I be like everybody else? I want to sag my pants too!!! And why must I always walk straight? Am I a ruler? This mouth! It got me into loads of sticky situations.

But today I sit here and I have come to the realization that I was blind, I couldn’t perceive beyond that present and she wasn’t going to allow it, she had purposed to see for me. She was embedding in my DNA the different gene, because I tell you “ Normal” is boring! “Different” is hard, yet satisfying.

It’s as if this woman knew! She saw me and said “This my son is different, I need to prepare him” with my two color choices and different fashion sense and most importantly my career path considering where I found myself. She must have been a soothsayer! Wait! Is this word even Christian? Considering she will read this...My prophetess!

The snide comments and jokes, the mocking was hard you know! I hated her for that so I fought her! Being a man of few words I engaged in serious non verbal wars., I will make my move and then it will shock her But this woman! She fought back even harder! Don’t joke with her!

That action of hers forced me to develop very thick skin, and to be so confident in my self nothing you say or do will deter me! If I say no! Unless God! Maybe unless Jollof , some specific Jollof. You are waiting for me to tell you eh! Keep waiting! Who reveals their kryptonite?

She created opportunities for us and forced us to pursue the ones that came our way yet we were too afraid to pursue, she was courageous for us. This was not without major support, she will ensure you had the right skills and then what will your excuse be??

Let’s go back in time to the time when “MrS” my brother made the basketball team, yet he was at such a disadvantage. Considering his stamina at the time, not to talk about his size , it meant that it was indeed a dream come true! But one that might unfortunately end pretty quick!

Wrong! My mother got him a whole private basket ball coach! Like!!! Sunday’s after Church we were rushed for practice, yes we! And no! I didn’t make the team with those love handles. But it was believed that the exercise was good for me... I have suffered in this life!

But yeah! She got him a private coach, and he pushed. Gosh! When he shouted, she shouted louder! When he was soft she was hard, and when he was hard, she was harder! They drilled this boy! On some days eh! I will just respect myself, pretend faint, excuse myself and pray for this boy! “God please I don’t want to be brother less! Who will I blame now?? Save this boy!” But guess what? He became team captain and they won the championship! They won!

That taught me so much! Whatever it is looks like a mountain only because you perceive it as one. And don’t give up just because it’s hard or others think it is beyond you! You decide! Not them! It’s different if you don’t want it or you are not interested. But if you are interested go for it! What is there to lose? Don’t live life wondering “what if?” Everything is attainable. “Everything is possible to him who believes.,” The question is, “how badly do you want it??”

And by the way because of her, regardless of what anybody thinks I will happy myself and dance, because if she can dance like that with such boldness and be sprayed enough to buy Papaye, who am I?

I came back from my trip to Singapore, excited spilling all the beans. “I had so much fun! And ohhhh! The guys from India have invited us over. But I don’t know, considering the amount you had to sacrifice for this trip!” “India? Don’t worry, you will go. I want you to see the world!” A statement that left me dumbfounded considering the fact that she has never sat in an aircraft but was willing to do all she could so I could see the world!

Having to constantly moisturize her hands, cracked from the constant use of chalk, I see it now, clear as day! Swollen feet from hours of standing coupled with exhaustion and a pained look because she had completely emptied herself into her kids that day. Yet had to pursue home tutoring so we could partake in extracurricular activities to make our dreams a reality.

Sacrifice was the core of her being - she lived it! Her night time struggles became nothing but a façade in the mornings because at the break of dawn she was super fired up and ready to go, sometimes long gone before we were up and about. Sacrifice was my reality - Jesus...Others...Yourself - JOY!

Writing both pieces led me to doors that I had bolted permanently. Locked with keys that I had kept hidden for years and to unlock them required searching through a box that has remained closed and neatly tucked away to make this life a bit more bearable....”It’s just emotions, taking me over...” Walking towards that box was... long, with every step requiring a bit more courage.

And then I had to face the almighty door, which required constant key turning and twisting of the doorknob, coupled with the constant slamming of my body against it, trying to recollect, asking myself, “how do I open this?”

Alas! It’s opened and I’m bombarded with vivid flashbacks and memories. Coupled with constant bursts off laughter on the train, accompanied with weird looks or me trying to hold it together by pretend sleeping, or wiping a tear by pretend removing a lash.

But I am glad I got to do this now instead of wait to read it to the wind and well meaning people who have come to lend their support, pay their final respects and say their final goodbyes. I would much rather she read it herself.

The Sun, Sunshine

And sunflowers

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Dec 05, 2020

Beautiful tribute to the parents.

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