So mum lives with me too. Sometimes for a while and it’s a mixture of fun and something else.
Imagine her shock when after my excitement at collecting the parcel containing my new set of ‘s…’ lingerie, mum looks up and says, “akisa lo ra yi” meaning you’ve just spent money buying rags. Humour does not begin to describe that somewhat embarrassing situation. How do you explain to a woman in her 80’s that those type of knickers are actually fashionable. Thank God for Brazilian knickers I say, at least they cover more decently than the ‘th**gs’.
I wonder what she would say if she saw me wearing suspenders? I know daughter was like “mum???”
I am yet to come across a Law that says don’t wear these. In fact it’s one of our favourite topics of conversation, among the girls.
Onto cooking. I could never get the soups, sauces quite as right for mum and the in-law. Exhausted with trying to get it right, I bought ingredients for our popular Nigerian red stew and said mum you’re cooking. Of course she wanted to know why and I suggested that she show me how to season / marinade the meat; choose the pepper, onion and tomato combination so as to avoid blame if things went wrong. So as if it was a summons mum would
I don’t think I grew shorter as the years advanced but anyhow I seem to have developed a knack for finding shorter dresses in the shops. Don’t ask me why. Maybe they complement and call out to me more.
Any way one day I was wearing a dress and before the tights had had a chance to complement my apparel, mum turned to me with a worried look on her face. “Please don’t even think of bending over today,” she continued with hands on her head that would indicate disaster. “Yeh” she continued.
Mum don’t worry I assured her I’ll be wearing tights with them.
Then I have to share my itinerary and almost get told off for not coming back home on time. You see we have this house rule that if anyone was going to be out late, they needed to let us know at home, by a certain time. Or get stay safe where they were. So if it was a party, I’d have to temporarily befriend the parent of celebrant and ask my child could stay over or drive over there to pick them up. So there was a cut off time. But it seemed when mum was around I left I was a law unto myself, and did not ring to tell her I was going to be late so causing her unnecessary worry. Naughty me!
I remember a conversation when things were just not going well at all and mum decided to take a bold step to find me a better career and course to study. She made the trip into the metropolis to speak to the educational institution. I’m getting there she enquired about courses and routes of entry to study so that she was armed with information, phone numbers and contact names. I was touched by her exemplary care and concern as she entertained the idea that I might have missed my calling in life? Anyhow I think the admission team marvelled at her determination to help me that they asked for my name, age and a few other details that revealed that I was more than old enough to make these decisions. Oh dear. They politely asked that I called them instead to make enquires and take the next steps. Phew! Oh mum loves me.
So apart from hiding the nuances of objects I call underwear, there are so many other good things that come of out of the relationship.
We get to talk about the grandkids, how they are faring at school, different ideas for upbringing, career choices, romantic relationships the works. I know one of my daughters likes chatting with her nana about what life was like when nana was young and how different things are now. There are the hilarious moments when nana is getting to grasp how the iPhone and gadgets of today’s world work. The ubiquitous pings, vibrations, notifications and noises from these “very useful” contraptions always ready to go. And you can see the delight when it all comes together as her face brightens up because she can get her text messages, news alerts again, especially after a critical software update. I know my daughter recalls being asked if she’s “going steady” with anyone or if “someone is looking at her” as in, admiring her at uni. If there were any gentlemen showing interest. And a good time to add “no pressure” “no hanky panky”.
Her wisdom surpasses mine in so many ways. She’s seen it all, “almost,” so when she says to go to Costco and buy in bulk to save it deserves more than a cursory nod of the head in agreement. I take her point. She’s so right about these things. After all she was able to bring up 5 then 4 kids (sadly) and hold down a job. We used to take turns to do the house shopping with her; we would go through the hot sun, walk and walk as we watched her bargain, negotiate unashamedly. I recall her saying to negotiate until the seller got annoyed and sometimes asked you to get the goods free. Once I was negotiating the purchase of plantain and in true mummy’s style, I think I asked if the seller would consider settling for half a plantain instead of charging me for getting an extra one for same price! Every time I walk past this seller we remember our negotiation, he actually asked me to take the plantains and go! He said he would be unable to sell the other half so when I suggested he let me have it for FREE, he burst out laughing.
Shock enters the room but it turns to delight when I make, even a little effort to wear lipstick, not to talk of foundation. She has a habit of asking me why I’m getting darker and my usual reply is I have been more exposed to the sun on the face. Then in amusement, she suggests that I use the powder she bought me for Christmas, and when I say, “it’s the one I’m wearing now,” she says, “it’s too dark for your skin” Then in an attempt to throw in the towel, I say something like, “maybe we can go choose the right shade together.”
I find myself reverting to a child once again when I have to introduce my friends to her. You would think it would end there but there’s always another quiz session when they are gone. “How did you meet/” “How long have you known them” “What do they do?”
It’s not that awkward to talk about intimate matters as you would think…
What is it like living with your mum?