Since last year, I have heard, but never paid any real attention to, what I was hearing about a friend, former church member, and general sweetheart of my family. Even while I was younger, and before I got married, I have always thought she was one of those women who should have better luck with the type of men they married.
She is a woman any sane man would be glad to have as a wife, yet her husband eloped with a girl (I did not say lady oh, a girl) from work, while she was pregnant with their third child, which turned out to be a girl. That baby died, close to 15 years ago, if not more, and he never came back, neither to bury his child nor comfort his wife. He didn’t. It was neighbours, church members, friends, who rallied round this lady at that time, giving her a shoulder to cry on, taking care of her other two young girls, while she got in a place where she could take charge again.
And indeed, she took charge. She got a job, and soon moved her family from where they were squatting with friends to their own one room apartment, and then to a bigger apartment. She singlehandedly sent the kids to school, private education for both girls. One is studying part time and working, in order to pay her school fees, while the younger girl is still seeking for admission to University.
Meanwhile, their dad had moved on from the girl he eloped with. He moved on to another woman, and went ahead to build another family with that one. Given the length of time he spent with the other woman, it is safe to say he was more of a husband to her than he was to his first woman, who had his kids.
However, the last few years has seen this man pop into their lives more frequently, and honestly, I never gave it much thought. He was/is not one of my favourite persons in the world. I mean, I had seen the level of pain this woman went through, because he eloped and dumped his responsibility on her.
From the last quarter of last year, I started to hear strange stories about this woman trying to get pregnant again for this same man who had dumped her over 20 years ago. Let’s just say, I did not pay attention, as it was not one of the talks I like to listen to. But when my sisters, and even my mom, kept bringing it up, I had to pay attention.
And for the first time, yesterday, I saw exactly what she was doing to herself. This was a chubby woman, yet she had lost weight and was looking sickly. She had suffered a miscarriage! The fourth one in 7 months. I nearly asked her what she was looking for again. A boy perhaps? But I would have been termed rude and insensitive to her present condition. However, I vented to my mom, who is expected to talk some sense into her, as she shares my feelings.
When I looked at her, I couldn’t summon enough pity inside of me for her. I felt more pity for her girls, who had to live with this. Who might in some way think that it was normal to let a man do what he would with their lives, even if that man was their dad.
Mind you, she is no spring chicken. She is firmly situated in middle age, a 45-47ish year old lady, with grown children, whom she should be caring for and guiding, so they don’t make same mistake as she did, yet, there she was ‘leading by example,’ if you get my drift. Somehow, it hurts more that she has girls.
As it were, her ex comes to her house, spends months on end, and they play house, and then he disappears for a few weeks, I guess to go and play house with another woman. The most painful part of this story for me is the fact that she is TTC, when she really has no business doing so. None at all.
While my family friend and sweet heart is recovering from her miscarriage, Cynthia is yet to decide what to do with the case of her ex, who is slowly trying to make his way back into her life, and his family of six, which he abandoned several years ago, when the kids were 8,6, 3 and 1 year(s) old respectively.
Cynthia is in her mid 50s, and has been a single mom for the past 18 years, going through all the tumult of parenting children, who turned into teenagers, having the sex talk with boys as well as with her girl, filling JAMB forms, driving the kids for their examinations, dealing with both the europhia and stress of having a child in the University, then two, and four.
She spent sleepless nights worrying about her son’s NYSC posting, all this while ensuring the family’s finances were in good shape and she was able to support each and everyone’s dream. While, at the same time, answer the most important question of all, “When is dad coming back?”. She did not know the answer then, and she is yet to know the answer even now.
However, Cynthia’s marriage did not just pack up. There had been good times, in fact plenty of good times, until he just disappeared. Cynthia recalled how she had married the love of her life. He was her first serious boyfriend, and she had fallen hard for him, and he for her. They were quite young when they had married, but they were deliriously happy to be together.
And the kids came. They just kept coming, and that put a lot of strain on the young marriage. But still, they managed, even though the bulk of the parenting job fell on her shoulders. They were fine.
There was even a time, her husband took the older kids, who were all boys, out for a trip to their village for two weeks, and Cynthia suspected that, if not that she was still breastfeeding her youngest, he would have taken her too. He told her he wanted her to rest.
When he got back, he was a changed man. He confessed to her that he had come to realise he had been dropping the ball, when it came to parenting and even being a good husband to her, and wanted to change that. Cynthia was pleasantly surprised. True to his words, he changed. He became better at being a father and a supportive husband.
They rode a better wave for close to a year, before it just disappeared, and in its place was a moody, taciturn man, who equally disappeared, first from her life, and then from the kids’ lives. Where he used to pick them up regularly, he stopped, and soon, Cynthia realised she was begging him to be a part of his kids’ lives.
In the end, he stopped visiting, calling, or even having them over at his place. It was like he dropped off the surface of the earth. Only for him to resurface in recent months, and he is going for the heart of the youngest child, the girl. While it is pretty much obvious to all that she was being wooed, she just wants her daddy back in her life. A fact she has made known to the rest of the family.
While Cynthia does not want to cut off the budding relationship between father and daughter, she knows it may still end in pain, as she is not sure of his intentions in this second coming.
If I were Cynthia too, I would be weary of a man who has gone for close to 18 years, without looking back, only for him to slitter in, through my girl. I would be very suspicious.
To all the men who do this, know that there is a reward, and for women who did not drop the ball…kudos and more strength!
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