I am blessed with three children and two grandchildren (for now). They are all inside the living room watching Kunle Afolayan’s Phone Swap. Since I am someone who loves to read, I would rather prefer to sit outside, pick up a book written by Wole Soyinka or Chinua Achebe and plunge myself into the literary world rather than sit in front of the 48 inches television watching some random film. Nature seems to be in agreement with my decision today; the air is humid, the sun is shying away – gradually retreating for the day, the branches of the almond trees in the compound are gently swaying to an unheard music and sending a lovely scent my way. I catch a whiff from time to time; inhale and exhale deeply, and then I smile. Life is good- although things were really tough at some point.
There is so much noise coming from inside, my husband walked out of the front door to join me on the porch.
“Here you go my darling wife” he said as he handed a cup of fruit juice to me.
I looked up and smiled.
“Thank you very much, that is why I love you, you are so thoughtful” I winked at him and started to sip the juice.
“That phrase is some sort of bribery” he said
“What phrase?” I asked feigning ignorance
“You know what I am saying” he said
“But you know it’s true, I love you for many reasons” I said smiling to him
“Can you mention twenty of them” he said with a mischievous grin
“Oh no, not today” I said
“Anyways, let me not bother your reading” He attempted to walk away.
“No, you can stay. You know I always enjoy your company”
After reading for another thirty minutes. Uchenna and I started reminiscing on the past.
“Sweetheart, can you recall all the drama we went through in training our three children”
“Of course, I can never forget. Especially Emeka who looks like me but took all your characters, stubborn as hell”
“Whatever, if I was not stubborn, you would not have been married to me”
“You are right though. Can you recall when we gave birth to him in the states and all the nurses were all over you because you had post-partum depression”
“I can barely remember much of what happened then but I am grateful it was discovered early and I was helped. Maybe, I might have killed the poor child”
“Hmmm, yes true. I was so scared but thank God for my mother who was already experienced with babies and helped nurse the baby till you were well”
“It was a trying moment. By the time, I got back to work, I was so fat from doing nothing for months other than breastfeed the baby and eat”
“It took a long time to get you back to normal weight range” He said staring into space.
“Yes, and by the time I was adjusting to normal, someone could not get his hands off me and I became pregnant again. Well, I gave birth to my very beautiful Adanna who has given me two grandchildren.”
“Hahaha, can you blame me? When you have a very pretty wife who is great at everything, what can you do?”
“You can face your work of making money for the family” I replied
“Well, part of my work was to lay hands on you” he said with a wink
“Look at you! well I made up my mind that after one more child I was going to permanently remove the womb”
“Yes, that was a very brave decision to make especially at a time when the Nigerians were just warming up to the idea of family planning”
“You know I have always been very forward thinking. Moreover, I wanted to go back to college so having too many children like my father was out of question”
“About your father, I am still trying to reconcile his demeanour the first time I met him at your graduation, his reaction when we went home to tell him our marriage intention and how he suddenly became a very doting grandfather to our children. It’s amazing how he could switch between all personalities”
“Oh well, someone who could marry three wives successfully and keep a fairly calm home is a legend”
“You are right, I am forever grateful to your oldest step-mum of blessed memory who prevailed on your father to hear me out. The man might have chased me out with a machete”
“Yes true. He was very upset then and I was not bulging as well”
One of my grandchildren ran towards us.
“Grandpa and grannie, you two should come join us. We came to spend time with you and you are here out alone. When you leave you can continue your honeymoon!” Chizoba said dragging us both by the hand. We looked at each other surprised at what a five-year-old could say.
“Oh well” I shrugged
Today is my birthday. I am so happy. My children all made one excuse or another to not be available. I was not so happy with them but I let them be because it reminded me of the fact that your spouse should be your best friend because at some point in life, your children will move on with their lives.
After breakfast, my husband convinced me to let us go to the beach. It was a long time since we we went to the beach last and I heard there were many improvements. We got dressed, packed a few snacks and drinks and headed to one of the popular beaches in Lagos. We had horse rides, took pictures and sat on a mat enjoying the sun and the water. At some point in the early evening, it looked like it was about to rain so we decided it was time to go home. By the time we got home, it had started raining. We ran into the house and opened the door. I turned on the switch of the living and heard “Surprise!”
I froze for some seconds and then screamed. I turned back to look at my husband and saw that he smiling from ear to ear.
“What? You are in on this?”
“Me? I don’t know what you are talking about!”
“Happy birthday mummy, happy birthday grannie” everyone came to greet me. I was overwhelmed with emotions.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you very much”
The whole house was decorated, food and drinks were on the table, music was playing at the background and everywhere was cozy. I was almost in tears and then I suddenly saw someone coming from the kitchen.
My heart stopped! Valerie!
The last time I saw her was when I had my first child. She was pregnant when I was getting married and so could not attend my wedding thus she insisted on visiting when I had my baby. To see her now made me speechless.
She came over to give me a warm wide hug.
“In flesh and blood?”
“Awww! I am flattered! Thank you so much. How are you? your children, your husband, your work? I want the full download of everything…”
“My dear, let us eat and be merry first, your friend is around for a few days so you have all the time in the world” Uchenna said to me.
“Sweetie, you pulled this too?
“Oh well, what can’t I do?” he responded.
I had fun during my 60th birthday like I have never had before. Valerie’s presence was the highlight of everything. By the next day, my children returned to their homes and work while Valerie stayed for four more days. We went to various tourist attractions and she tried various local delicacies. When it was time to leave, my husband and I drove her to the airport and bade her farewell.
This is June, 2015. It had been raining every day. After my surprise birthday party, my colleagues at work organised a surprise retirement party for me as well. To say I am overwhelmed with all the love is to understate how I feel as I am writing this story. I am sure if you ask my husband, he would have an exciting side to this story as well. Till then…cheers
I would want to THANK all our regular followers of this love story. I enjoyed writing it as much as you enjoyed reading it. Kindly share to all your friends and let us get just 1000 people to read the story.
P.S: Merry Christmas and a Happy new year in advance. Stay tuned for our feature post next. It’s a male this time. CHEERS.