THE MOTHER-IN-LAW I DID NOT HAVE …
When I first met you
You didn’t look directly at my face
No, you busied yourself trying to make me feel comfortable
Dressed in the Naija bohemian way
You had prepared yam and sauce and insisted that I eat
You would have made fufu
But your son was bringing home a North Central girl
Fufu and swallow may not be her thing
And you were right
You set a table in your little room
You reminded me of a matron
So prim and proper
Set on the table, dishes,napkins and cutlery
How tasty that meal was
True, Akwa Ibom women were born in the kitchen
You stopped me from doing the in-law runs thing
No clearing the table, no washing the dishes for me
You had your boys to do all of that
And if they couldn’t you were capable too.
And after that, we had a long long talk
Long long long doesn’t cut it
“My son has a ministry so his wife cannot wear pants”
Alas, I was wearing jeans and decked very sporty
You shared your dreams for your children
And told me Ekom’s miraculous childbirth story
You poured your heart out to me
Told me of you and the mistakes you had made
Just you and I alone in that little room
You told me your heart, your dreams and desires
Your victories and struggles…
How long did you wait for a daughter to pour your life to?
How long did you wait for me to come?
I left that day and I realised
I had another mother whether I liked it or not
You called me
You prayed for me
You would finish my airtime blessing me
I would complain fondly to Ekom
“She finished my airtime”
He would laugh and say,
“She just exhausted mine”
What did you say?
We would travel out without paying for it?
God will raise men to help us
We will be recognised in our places of work
We will get new jobs
We will prosper so we can take care of family
We will never lack or sorrow
The God you serve will never leave us
We will take care of you
What did you call me?
God of my Blessing be praised?
When sick, you will rejoice
You would say, “The devil wanted to destroy me but the God of my blessing did not let it”
You called me your blessing
You called me your daughter
What did you call me?
Your pillar, your first daughter
There was no pretence
No lies, no deception
No other woman besides my mother has blessed me the way you did
I could report Ekom to you
Shebi I said I will buy what you’ll wear for the wedding as your fashion sense is rusty?
Shebi you said you want to live with us when we get married?
I know we said, “Ha ,not immediately” but now, I take it back
You can come and stay as long as you like
The man I will marry
What should he do now?
What about all the plans we had, he had?
Couldn’t you have waited a bit longer?
What you have said…
They are coming to pass
The prophetic utterances you made by the auction of the Holy Spirit
We see them now…
So you won’t dance at the reception?
You’ll dance in heaven?
I tried to show you how much of a daughter-in-law you would get
I wanted to do more
I’m told to be strong for Ekom
The task is harder than I thought
I don’t know how to make him grieve
He smiles and comforts others
Yet his eyes are sunken
And yet I grieve
I may not have been your daughter-in-law
But you made me your daughter
And I grieve
We lay you in the ground
Finding comfort in this one small thing
You are in an amazing better place
And we will still see you again