DEAR AUNTIE ABENA,
Sometimes we shouldn’t blame these ungrateful sons and daughters. The pressure the family of the parent who didn’t take care of the child, can give them eh. I’m a victim.
I grew up as my mother’s only daughter though I have 3 other younger half brothers. According to her, she met my dad when she was young. She doesn’t know her birthday but I think she was 17, 18 then. He told her he was married but it was an arranged marriage and because of the pressure, they decided to get married and divorce after 2 years. Mum wasn’t interested but he convinced her and she gave in.
It was around the time she got pregnant with me that his wife found out about them. The man told mum to abort me but when she said no, he then refused responsibility because he told his wife that he was only talking to her to concentrate on schooling instead of chasing after different men. Anytime my mum tried to defend herself during a confrontation in front of his wife, he’ll ask her didn’t he tell her he’s married?
Because of the man’s influence, people shunned my mum in church and her fellow school mates called her ashawo because she was the type guys wanted to date. Just because she used to say no to them, they started talking ill about her.
She became depressed after my grandparents refused to take care of her so she went to stay with her aunt in the village when I was 8 months old. She said she left her aunt’s contact with her closest friend in case my dad came to look for her but he never called. He never went to ask of her from my grandparents too.
The village was where we stayed until when I got to class 4. I was in a school set up by an NGO and my teacher liked me so much. She told my mum that I was too brilliant to stay there. Mum spoke to my grandparents who told her to let me finish class 4. When we moved, the school she took me to repeated me because my grades weren’t good enough.
Mum left me with my grandparents to go and work and will come on my birthday to spend some days before going. This continued till JSS 2 when she came for me after my grandad died. Not that grandmother couldn’t take care of me but mum wanted me with her.
She travelled again and left me with my grandmother when I was in SS2. She came back the following year and I moved to stay with her. It was tough finishing school because then she didn’t have enough. She struggled to pay my fees and I’ll be owing and will be caned for it. I finished school and she couldn’t help me continue. My mates were in school and I had to look for a job. She met my step-dad around that time and I have very young half siblings now.
Then came my dad. At first he was trying to get back together with mum after all these years which made her very angry that when he asked to see me, she said she won’t agree. She was feeling bitter that he ignored her all these years and was in for free sex. He asked to talk to me and mum allowed us to meet.
The picture he painted to me was different. He said that he knows he made a mistake sleeping with her but mum told her friends about dating him which was why the info leaked to his wife. He’d wanted to settle things on a low-key but she was telling everyone about him. He said with the pregnancy, it wasn’t that he didn’t want a kid but felt she was too young to have a child. That’s why he told her to abort me and concentrate on her schooling.
I was still angry with him though and didn’t want to have that father-daughter relationship. My step-dad was the one I wanted to stand in as my father should I get married. The family and pastor of my biological father came in to beg me on his behalf. They told me about a father’s blessings and that I should forgive him bla blah otherwise I won’t receive some blessings.
Mum was getting angry with me and he told me to keep our meetings secret. When she’s angry with me, he’ll be smiling and talking bad about her to convince me to go to him more. What annoyed me more was that no matter how my mum behaved towards him, she was the one who took care of me. The one who refused to abort me. The one who starved to feed me. Where was he all those times? He wanted me to do away with my mum completely. Didn’t want to hear me mention her name when she’s there. Always speaking ill against her and so much pressure from his family.
One day I told him that he owes my mother an apology for all the years he abandoned us and that I can never have a good relationship with him unless my mother agrees to it. Oh then more talking ill about her. That’s when I pulled away completely from him.
When I was about getting married, my husband tried to prove difficult that if I don’t forgive my father then it means when he also hurts me, I’ll also find it difficult to forgive him. I finally agreed to inform my dad one month to the ceremony and he started creating confusion. That his family has to investigate my husband’s family so we should push the wedding back to about 3 months. He even told us where my mother should sit because he doesn’t want to sit by her. So many things that made me tell my fiance that if my father not coming to the ceremony means no wedding then fine.
It became a serious issue which almost cost my marriage but I didn’t want anyone to make my mother think she wasn’t important. If she hadn’t taken care of me, would my husband have met me? Why then will he tell me my father is the head so what he says about my mum is final?
When he finally realized how foolish he was fighting my father’s battle for him, he apologized and we finally got married. I’ve also warned my father to never speak ill of my mother to me again. If he meets her too her must be respectful. Slowly he’s started doing that and has realized the need to respect my mother because of me.
When our parents abandon us and they come back, they come giving us conditions and expectations at the expense of the one who raised us. My mother has a restaurant. Anytime my dad comes there to eat, I make him pay. When he gives me orders I charge him and take extra. I won’t allow him to take advantage of her. My husband didn’t understand that at first but now he respects my decision towards my dad. His father was very responsible so if mine wasn’t, I can’t give him that same chance.
NB: I’m an adult capable of taking my own decisions and though I’ve forgiven my father with all my heart, the one I’m still close to is my step-dad. He’s still the one I call daddy.