While growing up, me and some of my friends shared stories of our families.
Some, the stories are so heavenly, I wanted to get married immediately…
Some, we’d all end up crying after it all.
For mine, my late dad was an example of a good man and my mother, the true example of humility, respect, tolerance, openness, love, peace and motherliness. Never heard them go beyond minor arguments and then my mother goes quiet and my father’s anger is neutralized.
One of my very good childhood friends, now late, Balogun is from one of those broken homes.
“It didn’t start out as a troubled home until my folks moved from Lagos to Zaria where my dad picked up a new job. We had few friends. But my mom, a pleasant woman began to make friends my father didn’t approve of”, he said to me and 2 other friends.
“One day, they argued over the time my mother spent with her friends than what she spends attending to us (myself and 2 of my sisters). This was after my sister got hit by a motor cycle.
Neighbors begged and left when the storm calmed. But there was something my mother said that pissed my father off, something like ‘if you were rich enough, we would have a house help to be with the kids. So because I have kids, I should not have a life?’ It pissed my dad and they fought.”
“I recall my father’s friends, my mother’s friends, family members, my grand mothers (from both sides) intervened. It settled a bit but got worse.
One day, I heard them arguing. And my father said, ‘that woman will get you in trouble one day, you’ll see.’ My mother replied, ‘you’re jealous I have a friend who care about me and do things for me’.
From then on, my mother treated him like he was nothing.
They’ll fight, elders will settle them. It’ll get worse.
I recall my maternal grand ma saying to my mother, ‘any woman who’ll not allow her husband lead his home, who makes his home hell, who listens only when there’s chaos and to advice of those who use your life as an experiment, who themselves have destroyed their own homes, a wife who’s without her own mind, who cleaves to only bad advice will chase her husband into the arms of another woman. Iya Balogun, be careful so you don’t regret’.
My mom got worse. One day, she left the house, leaving me and my sisters in the care of a neighbor and with a note for my father who works out of town.
Soon afterwards, my dad took to late nights, drinking, and eventually married another woman while I was sent to live with my uncle and my sisters shared to my aunts.”
We all listened with rapt attention, wiping tears of our faces, encouraging him.
“My uncle treats me like one of his own. But can he and his wife compare to my own parent?” As he shed more tears.
“I’m sad. I’m always envious of you guys whose folks are still together no matter what. My dad passed, my mother is remarried and divorced again. She comes to see me sometimes, asking my uncle to let her take me. I didn’t want to. What she did still hurts and I couldn’t get to love her for destroying our home”.
Ayo asks, “so, how’s her friend who made her leave your dad?”
Balogun laughed, “I ran into her in 1989. She’s still with her husband and they look happy. When I asked my mom if they are still friends, she said after destroying her marriage, after making her abandon her home to live with her briefly, she and her fought and it was so bad, she spent weeks in a cell. And they never saw again.”
We all sighed.
He continued, “guys, whatever happens to us, we must strive to keep our wives happy and our family together. Instruct where ever necessary, reprimand where necessary. But never allow your home be influenced by a stranger”.
I ran into Balogun’s sister 2 days ago and saw an old woman in her car. We spoke at length. The old woman is her mother.
I took time to introduce myself. Having been privileged to see her pictures and met with Balogun’s sister while seeking admission in A.B.U Zaria. She wept as his name came up…
She’s now blind.
No matter what you’re going through, have it at the back of your mind, ” no man or woman is born bad. We only choose to be bad with, sometimes the company we keep and other times, with what we’ve been through”.
Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on others. Don’t give up on God.
Again, if you don’t define your life yourself, someone will do so for you.
Let go of hurt, malice, bitterness, strife & anger in your past. Don’t let let them define your present and future. Don’t let them hold back your joy and peace.
God comfort all those who are in pain, amen.
Rest On Balogun, The Big Youth.
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