The first few months in Nigeria were quite difficult and unpleasant – not because I lacked adequate care but being without my daughter depressed me further. It was so difficult to pull out of the miry clay of despondency. I resented Tade deeply. I resented his passivity. He knew the cause of my health challenge, he knew what could be done to make the condition better but didn’t move a muscle in that direction. When I announced I was leaving, I secretly wished he’d be jolted from his passive state and do the needful but that never happened. When his mum threatened heaven and earth to stop me from taking my daughter, I thought he’d intervene and kick against his mum’s attempt at separating mother and daughter but not my husband, he’d rather do his mum’s bidding. I resented him for all that and more.
In those months, Tade tried reaching out me but I wasn’t interested in communicating with him. He’d call my mum to speak to me and I’d decline. He got my direct line from my mum but anytime he called and she was around, I’d pass the phone to her and she’d speak with him, getting updates about my daughter, Oyinade. If he called and she wasn’t around, na OYO (on your own) for him. After a while, he started bringing Oyinade to the phone and my mum would engage her in baby conversations – mostly gibberish?.
“Arinola,” mum called my attention one of those days, “now that Tade brings Oyinade to the phone, I think you should start spending time with your daughter. Abi ki lo feel?”
“Is that a tactic to make me speak to him?” I asked.
“Emi o mo nipa iyen o. I don’t know about that. What I know is that interacting with your daughter on the phone will be good for you both.”
“I’m talking to you. Se o n gbo mi?”
“Mo gbo ma,” I answered grudgingly.
“Iwo lo mo. If you like, talk with your nose. You can’t quarrel with your daughter sha…even if you’re quarreling with the father…abi? You will act on my suggestion. Bi mo se so yen la se ma se.”
I did as mum suggested and started interacting with my daughter on the phone, cooing and blabbering with her. Of course, I couldn’t bypass Tade in the process but I only offered him monosyllabic greetings. I made it clear with my tone that I was not interested in fraternising with him. Afterwards, he began sending me Oyinade’s pictures via e-mails, intimating me about her per second developmental milestones. I’d respond to his messages and we’d go back and forth exchanging messages. Then, he graduated to Skype video calls, with Oyinade as intermediary. As my mum rightly opined, interacting with my daughter did me a world of good. I had something to look forward to because even across several seas and oceans, we bonded so perfectly. I willed myself out of despondency and the weight of depression lifted.
The awkwardness between Tade and I gradually dissipated and we were able to chat freely but marriage discussions were off-limits. It was clear as day that his mother didn’t want me and to top that, he was also a chronic mummy’s boy. Either way, I stood no chance and I already accepted reality. There would never be a romantic Tade and I, that is, if I intended keeping my sanity. So, I completed my treatment, kicked depression in the butts and shoved it into the gutters. I picked up my life, landed a lucrative job, and did very well for myself while Tade and I remained long distance friends and co-parents.
“Mummy,” Oyinade’s voice brought me back to the present, “don’t you want to come inside?”
I must have walked the perimeter of the house while going down memory lane because I no longer stood in front of the house but somewhere near the back exit.
“Come mummy, come and see your room, I decorated it for you,” she dragged me towards the entrance.
“Yes my sweetie,” I responded with fresh gusto, “let’s go and see mummy’s room.”
I got into the room and ‘dropped’ myself on the bed. I was clearly exhausted and ready to doze off but Oyinade would have none of that. She wanted to say and show me everything at once.
Tade appeared at the door. “Sheila, stop! Mummy needs to rest,” he said gently but firmly.
I observed that he was firm with her and she in turn, was agreeable, something that warmed my heart. Tade obviously did a good job with her. My heart prayed for him. He might be a mummy’s boy, but a good man and father nonetheless.
“I know you want to play with mummy,” he stepped into the room and tousled her hair lightly, “but mummy is probably feeling exhausted at the moment. She needs to eat and take a nap. You have plenty of time to catch up, I promise. Okay?”
“That’s my sugar girl!”
Father and daughter hit hands the hi-five way.
“Come princess,” Tade held out his hand to our daughter, “let’s go and set the table for mummy.”
He turned at the door. “Take your time dear,” he said with a wink and was gone in a jiffy.
After dining and cleaning up (the three of us together), I crashed into bed and had a long nap. I was just rousing from sleep when I heard Oyinade’s voice. “Grandma is back, grandma is back from Paris, and mummy is back from Nigeria,” she shrieked excitedly.
What did I just hear? Grandma is back? What grandma?
Then I heard the all-too-familiar voice, “my baby Sheila…give grandma a hug.”
In that split second, I died and resurrected a million times…
To be cont’d…
© 2017 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!