December 26, 2010
Getting the news of Chidera’s safe delivery was the best ever! It came via a BBM message, with an accompanying picture of the proud father, Okei, cradling his son. He looked like he was about to burst with pride, holding the baby like it was the most prized possession in the world, smiling proudly at the camera, dressed in hospital scrubs. And he had good reason to be proud…as it is his first child…albeit Chidera’s fourth.
“Awww, this is so beautiful!” the three of us cooed at the picture. And it truly was. You would never tell the kind of high drama had happened for most of the pregnancy that had led to this beautiful, angelic human being.
Speaking with Chidera later that morning, she sounded overjoyed and excited, and not at all as tired as a woman who had gone through childbirth mere hours before. But then again, she’d done it thrice before…
“I never could understand why some women make a big deal about their husbands being with them in the labour room. Somto was never there for any of ours, so to me, that was the norm. But yesterday, Okei showed me why it is such a big deal!” she gushed. “He was there from the beginning to the very end. He fussed over me, made sure I was comfortable, and didn’t even mind when I became difficult. If I ever doubted my decision to be with him, I got fully convinced yesterday. He showed me that it is not age that makes a man!”
It was the most heartwarming thing to hear. Yes, in recent times, I’ve found myself more enamoured with Okei, and have realised that he is not the clueless young man I’d once thought he was, but hearing how stellar he was through the childbirth took my respect for him to a whole new level.
But still, I couldn’t help but spare a thought for his soon-to-be-ex-wife, and how she will feel hearing the news. To think that, this time last year, they had just gotten married. I’m sure nobody around them would have been able to predict what would happen over the next 12 months!
After all the rejoicing and ensuing gossip, I bade my sisters a temporary farewell and set off for Nkwerre to join my family. Upon my arrival, Legachi and I pretty much exchanged the baton, and she hopped into the same car that had brought me, and headed off to Enugu. As the car left, I found myself envying her. She was off to lounge and luxuriate, while I was about to start my own hard labour, cooking for however many people!
Okay, I exaggerate. My mother-in-law insists on doing most of the cooking, but there is still a lot expected of us the daughters-in-law. And considering that, for the first time in years, Ezioma won’t be here to keep me company, I felt even more frustrated.
But seeing my kids more than made up for it. By kids, I mean all 6 children, mine and Chidera’s. To be honest, I’d been worried when she accepted my offer for her kids to live with us, and wondered how we would all cope. But I needn’t have worried, as it has been themes organic and natural thing to have happened. My kids were only too happy to have them blend in as siblings, and now, they very well could be. Even JJ has become incredibly fond of the additions to our family. If she decides for it to be a permanent arrangement, while she and Okei sort themselves out in America, we won’t mind at all.
“Wow! 6 kids! How have you been coping?!” JJ’s mom exclaimed, as the older boys whizzed past her. She clearly was not amused by the arrangement.
“We’re used to it, Mommy!” I laughed.
“I hope you’re able to keep them under control like your sister, Legachi did!” she muttered, to my chagrin.
“You have nothing to worry about.” I managed to answer, with a forced smile.
“This Ezioma mess! I just don’t understand her and Chinedu! How can they be divorcing after so many years?! And why have you and JJ not done anything about it?!” the older woman exclaimed.
“Mommy, we both tried!” I sighed deeply, remembering what news of his brother’s impending divorce had almost done to JJ and I. “But she seems to have made up her mind!”
“You didn’t try hard enough!” she exclaimed. “Just look at us now, ehn. How can we have Christmas without her? I love all my daughters-in-law like I bore you myself, and this hurts! It really hurts!”
I hugged her. Yes, it really did hurt. And not having their kids here hurt even more.
“I’ll talk to her again, Mommy. I promise.” I said, meaning every word.
Thankfully, we were able to manage somehow. Kitchen work didn’t kill us, and we were able to come up with a delicious spread of food, as well as make it to Church in good time. The kids loved their presents, and it was an all round lovely Christmas. Today, Boxing Day has been spent hosting visitors, and just generally bonding as a family. I never would have thought it, but even without Ezioma, we were able to have a fairly decent Christmas.
Tomorrow morning, I return to Enugu, but this time, with JJ and the kids. It’s time for Part 2 of the holiday merriment!
Akwaugo and Chiemela’s wedding! Whoop whoop!