One of the skills I have had to master as a parent is that of paying attention without listening. Don’t judge me please. It may not be the absolute best thing but in between cooking and cleaning and completing that task which must be on the MD’s desk first thing in the morning, one has to learn to have an attentive look with ones mind far from the incessant chattering and repetitive questioning of Zaram.
But when one of them comes up to say ‘mum, we need to talk’, you just know that it’s time to listen with your eyes and ear.
So Dave had a case:
‘Mum, it’s time you let us out to see the world’
I stared at him with a blank expression. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Did he mean travel? Last time I checked he was still 12.
‘I saw my friend Obi the other day and he told me he thought I was dead’.
‘Dead? Why would he think that?’
‘Because he hasn’t seen me in a long while’.
‘That he hasn’t seen you doesn’t mean you are dead’.
‘That’s the point mum. You never let us go anywhere. You are always trying to protect us in this cocoon’.
I found myself wondering if at his age I knew what the word ‘cocoon’ meant. He did have a point though, at his age I used to school at Omole Grammar School Isheri and I remember that when it rains I’d walk all the way home to GRA. But now I couldn’t even get myself to let him go across the road on his own.
‘Mum, we are boys. We can take care of ourselves. At least let us visit our friends sometimes, please’.
I promised to give this a thought. I’m still thinking *sigh. It’s hard watching these kids grow and trying to act all independent. I wish…actually I don’t wish, yet…
I always try not to get caught by the trick questions these kids come up with. But sometimes I have absolutely no idea where they are coming from. Like when Michael came up to me in the kitchen:
‘Mum, we are all brothers and sisters right? You know, everyone in the world, we have same parents: Adam and Eve right?’
‘Yes’, I responded trying to ensure I don’t allow the plantain I was frying burn. It was at that delicate point between being all nice and brown and being burnt.
‘But you also said we can’t marry our brothers and sisters didn’t you?’
‘Of course you can’t’, I answered before I realised just where he was going.
‘So where will I find a wife, outer space?’
I need me the super power of mind reading 😦