I had this plan.
I was going to write this book that would be steeped in drama, shot through with romance and peppered with the odd raunchy scene. It was going to be written in that fluid, captivating manner that draws one in and keeps them stuck between the pages, rapt. It was going to have the masses bolting from their houses to their nearest Waterstones or Borders or Books Etc, clamouring to buy the last copy on the shelf. Amazon was going to give me lifetime credit because of the pre-order sales alone.
I was going to have these enormous royalty cheques dropping onto my doormat every single morning.
And then I was going to look after Them.
And by Them, I mean my parents.
El Daddio and Mamita B.
Mum and Dad.
In Nigerian culture, there’s none of this “we love you, you raised us and made us the people we are today so now that we’re grown up and successful…we’re going to put you in a home.” That just ain’t how we roll. Family is at the heart of Nigerian and indeed, African culture as a whole. And part of that is the offspring seizing the proverbial reigns and making sure that their matriarchs and patriarchs are well taken care of. Without. Question. Houses are bought/built (because every Nigerian mother and father that was born in Nigeria will eventually return there and there is nary a thing you can do about it. Crying? Laughed off. Threats of never being visited or seeing future grandchildren? Fall on the deafest of ears), if required, doctors and nurses are secured, money is pumped into bank accounts every month, letters are written, visits are paid; the path to a comfortable stretch of twilight years is laid with the very best of intentions.
I might have grown up in the UK but my desire to give my parents every single thing they deserve and more grows daily; as fervent and unbridled as a forest fire. My parents have given me everything. They have taught me everything. They are to me, the sweetest gift I could ever ask for. Their capacity to love is something that overwhelms me on a daily basis.
They pick up the phone at three in the morning when I call them writhing in pain because it feels like my stomach is twisting in half; they sit with me on the phone and talk me about of the panic attacks I have when I feel nauseous (I have a phobia of throwing up – don’t ask). They send me three cards every birthday. They scream with joy at the slightest of my achievements. They pray for me every single day. They call me insistently, even when I’m so angry at them that I deliberately hit the “end” button over and over again. They embrace my friends, my passions and Mister.
They taught me to laugh and to love. They demonstrated and continue to demonstrate on a daily basis that love and marriage isn’t as laughable and unfeasible as today’s society would have us think. They encouraged me to pursue my calling with unfettered fervour. They cloak me in their support.
I could write a thousand accolades (and probably will) but my words alone could never even rent an apartment in the same neighbourhood as what I actually feel for them.
So I wanted to write this book or win the lottery and just deposit the GDP of a small country in their bank account. Then I just wanted to call them up and be all “OH HAY, MOM, GUESS WHAT? YOU’RE RICH NOW!”
I realise though, after years of hearing “a card would be perfect, darling,” or “you can make a donation to a charity in my name,” in response to the question “what would you like for your birthday/Christmas/Fathers/Mothers Day?” that all my parents want is for me and my siblings to be happy. So that, mummy and daddy, is what I am working towards.
I have been scouring the Interwebz for the past week trying to find the perfect vacation to send them on. I seem to have found it. Malta. A 5* deal to a place my mother isn’t afraid to visit and whose temperature does not exceed 20 degrees Celsius in November. I wish I was going. But the knowledge that they will be is enough for me.
Although, I still plan on slicing you a giant slice of the pie of cashola that comes my way at some point in life.
You deserve it all and more.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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