A few days ago, I saw this heartwarming post on X where media girl, Gbemi O, reminisced about a 2007-2008 paid gig where a dad asked her to record his daughter’s school notes into audio books.
The post sent me down memory lane, and I thought about all the times I saw my mum go above and beyond to see me thrive and make life a little more enjoyable. But I didn’t stop at relishing my own memories, I also spoke with people who had warm stories to share about their Nigerian parents.
Nkechi, Early 30s
I just had a baby, and I’ve been experiencing baby blues/postpartum depression.
I’ve also been dealing with constipation and having issues doing number 2. I always feel the poo at the tip but pushing it out is extremely painful.
My mum showed up out of the blue one day to check on me and that was the relief I didn’t know I needed. I slept throughout the night she arrived as she used formula for my baby. Now to the pooing part, my mum noticed how I struggled to use the toilet, so she did the unexpected. She put her fingers between that space between the anus and vaginal opening, and pressed it. The idea is for the strong poo to compress so it comes out softer and easier. It was a painful experience but it worked and the poo came out in one loud thud.
I don’t know how she knew I was in a dark place but her presence helped me a lot.
As a married man with three kids, people are surprised whenever I tell them I still receive a monthly allowance from my dad. To be honest, it’s not a lot of money, but I appreciate the thought behind it. I’m blessed with a kind dad, and it inspires me to be a better dad for my kids.
My four siblings and I make occasional jokes on the family group chat about receiving credit alerts from daddy. Once, we tried to talk him out of it. We argued that we’re all doing fine and he could instead use the money to enjoy himself, but daddy wasn’t having it. I think it gives him joy and we’ve all come to love him even more. It’s unspoken, but my siblings and I know daddy will always be that safety net we can run to.
Yejide, Early 30s
When my dad started his church in Akute, Ogun state in 2002, we had to join him. As a pastor’s child, people often criticise everything you do. They expect perfection from you because “na your papa dey close to God pass.”
Our landlady — an elderly woman who attended one of the popular orthodox churches — was always criticising us whenever she saw me and my sisters in trousers. One day, she reported us to my dad, thinking he would ban us from wearing trousers. But my dad told her he wasn’t against women wearing trousers, and wouldn’t stop us from doing so. That was how the woman collected ela o!
This singular act proved to me that I didn’t have to hide from my parents. While I saw other pastors’ kids wear outfits they couldn’t wear at home in school, I was free to dress how I want, albeit, modestly.
I lost my mum a few months before I got pregnant. It was a very depressing period —we had a close relationship and we joked a lot about how she’d spoil me silly when I welcomed my first child. I was sad and depressed for most of my pregnancy because I’d have to deal with my mother-in-law coming to help with the baby.
A day after my baby’s naming ceremony, my stepmother showed up at the house with her bags. She said she knew I needed the help even if I’d not asked. It was a shocking and pleasant surprise. I always had a decent relationship with her but didn’t think it was that strong to invite her to help with my baby. She stayed for two months, and it changed the course of our relationship. My son is three now, and he calls her granny anytime she shows up.
Growing up, I was a sick child. It was always one hospital trip to another. I watched my parents shape their lives around my needs. I couldn’t be left alone on weekends and they had to attend every hospital appointment even if it was on a Monday morning when they should both be on their way to work. It was hard watching them stretch for me, and I almost hated myself for it.
Thankfully, things got better as I got older and I was happy to see them go about their lives without living in constant worry of my health.
Sadly, the sickness struck again when I was in senior secondary school. It felt like it came back with a vengeance for all the years that it let me be. Unfortunately, my mum had been transferred to Abuja. My dad and siblings tried, but with my mum away in Abuja, I didn’t feel like I had all the care I needed. I also didn’t want to be a big baby and request her presence so I just carried on. She came home a few weeks after I fell sick and even though I didn’t say it, she could see how much I needed her. For six months, my mum traveled down to Lagos every weekend just to be with me. If it took a toll on her, she never complained or showed.
My dad was a disciplinarian, but I guess it’s true what they say about old age softening people up. Since he retired, he’s been coming down from Abeokuta to Lagos every month to visit his three children every month. So a weekend is dedicated to each sibling. And he comes bearing gifts (mostly farm produce) every time.
Initially, it felt like it was too much because the visits were awkward. We hardly talked — He was either watching the TV, reading a newspaper or making small talk and he’d be ready to leave.
These days, I don’t even stress about buying things like palm oil, garri or elubo because I know daddy is coming at the end of the month. This has gone on for about three years now, and I think it has made me appreciate him more. He’s 78 years old, and sometimes, I worry about the stress he deals with driving from Abeokuta to Lagos every weekend, but I think it’s a discomfort he takes delight in.
*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.
You’ll have your fill of grilled, peppered or fried meat and many more at Zikoko’s meat festival on November 11. Have you bought your Burning Ram ticket? You can do that real quick here.