Mommie Dearest

mommie dearest

Her eyes opened. Six o’ clock. Panic clouded her brain. She should have already started her round on Ajeleke Street where the drone of generators and echo of the muezzin’s call, did not compete with her megaphone. Into that serene place, Mommie’s voice had boomed nearly every morning for the past two years. She was not careful as she bounded from bed.

In the sitting room, Ejiro, Ufuoma, and Yoma sat with arms crossed over their chests. Their stare reminded Mommie that her head-tie sat on her head at a lop-sided angle threatening to fall. In the corner, Lucky stood like a wallflower not daring to meet her eyes. She smelt sabotage. No one offered her a chair to ease her discomfort. She steadied her head-tie with both hands.

Miguo Daddy,” she addressed Ejiro, her husband.

 

Miguo Mommie,” they all chorused.

 

“This has got to stop. It must stop today!” Ejiro spoke first.

 

“Mommie, we are tired of you embarrassing us with your microphone!” Ufuoma spoke second. She did not observe protocol; Yoma was older than she was.

 

“We are not saying you cannot preach,” Yoma relaxed his hands as he spoke, “but surely there must be a better way.”

 

“Hmmm, I see.” She folded her arms over her chest, spreading her legs.

 

The men knew when to retreat, but Ufuoma continued.

 

“Mommie, you are the wife of the honorable chief judge. We live in Effurun GRA. You drive a V-boot. You are supposed to be a society lady. Carrying a loudspeaker and preaching on the streets makes you a common, common—”

 

“Common what? Say it, I am waiting.”

 

Yoma looked at his mum who was now standing at akimbo and then at Ufuoma whose chest was rising and falling rapidly, “What she means is—”

 

“I know what she means! My ungrateful family! Ejiroghene when you wanted a promotion, you asked me to pray to the God that you are now ashamed of. Now that you have arrived, my serving God is an embarrassment enh?”

 

Ejiro pushed his glasses higher up on his nose. He regretted allowing the children persuade him to confront their mother.

 

Turning to face her only son, she spat out her venom. “Ogheneyoma who prayed and got you out of trouble time and time again? Who prayed until you finally got that Shell job?”

 

“You did.” Yoma sighed and stretched, he’d never liked waking early. He wished he had not come home for the holidays.

 

“Mommie, stop it. Stop it!” Ufuoma had had enough. “This isn’t about us!”

 

“Ufuoma, you, you? You of all people. Where do I even begin? Should I start with that useless boy Richard your—”

 

“Look, look, this is all getting out of hand. Mommie what we want to say is that we admire your fine Christian character, you are truly a virtuous woman; none would dare disagree. Your aggressive proselytizing with that thing,” Daddy gestured at the megaphone lying at Lucky’s feet, “only serves as a noise pollutant at a time when people are stealing the last vestiges of sleep. This militant evangelistic style coupled with your emotion-laden sales pitch is rather old. We are just saying that it’s time for new tactics.”

 

He stood and placed his hand on her shoulder, “Mommie, bikó.” Taking her right hand in his, he softened his voice, “You cannot browbeat people into accepting our faith since it is a work of grace, and grace is never more clearly demonstrated than in our actions. As Francis of Assisi said, ‘Preach the gospel all the time, and if necessary, use words.’”

 

“Ssssss! I thought you were going to say something constructive!” Mommie pulled her hand away and glared at him, “Ejiro, I don’t know which Bible you read that it has become our faith. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent taketh it by force. The day that Muslims stop calling for prayer, Hare Krishnas stop dancing on the street, Jehovah’s Witnesses stop knocking on doors, and Cele start wearing shoes to church, that is the day I will stop preaching!”

 

She marched over to Lucky.

Miguo Mommie,” he curtsied.

Vre-ndo Lucky. Doh my pickin. Is everything set?”

“Yes Mommie.”

Let’s go!”

 

Lucky handed her the megaphone and followed behind.

 

“Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!” Mommie’s voice rang out startling Lucky as he turned the lock and lifted the latch to open the gate. She looked at him with a half-smile, “Charity must always begin at home.”

 

Once outside the gate, Mommie began to lecture Lucky. “We must forgive our critics. The Bible says that a man’s enemies will come from his own household . . .”

 

Lucky turned and followed her eyes. Surprise registered in his. Richard was escorting a girl to the junction that led to the bus stop.

 

“Ufuoma! Ufu-oma o! Come see your boyfriend dey carry gonorrhea!” Aiming her megaphone in Richard’s direction, Mommie cried even louder, “Repent! If you die today, will you make heaven? Turn from your wicked ways!”

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

p.s. Happy Mother’s Day to you. After many false starts, I wrote this caricature, which isn’t about us, because the places I had to go to write the post I wanted seemed too far; the emotions, too raw, bleeding as they did only yesterday.

***

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Image credit: curtain vector: zcool.com.cn

font: Christopher Hand by El Stinger: http://www.dafont.com/christopherhand.font

font: Acid Label by Billy Argel: http://www.dafont.com/acid-label.font

 

design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2014

Advertisements

50 thoughts on “Mommie Dearest

  1. “Ufuoma! Ufu-oma o! Come see your boyfriend dey carry gonorrhea!” Aiming her megaphone in Richard’s direction, Mommie cried even louder, “Repent! If you die today, will you make heaven? Turn from your wicked ways!”

    You need to add a disclaimer to this post, it should definitely not be read in a lecture hall. I find it funny when people quote scripture to justify their actions. Also find it funny when people think their radical evangelism is what gets people saved. #LiveWhatYouPreach…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha!! Religion is a curious thing sometimes, isn’t it? The constant battle between Grace and ‘taking it by force’. Sometimes, people with good teachings have a distorted and hypercritical approach in delivering their message. It is well oo. I like that Ejiro and his wife address themselves as ‘Mommie & Daddy’; it is true to the Nigerian marriage-not that it is necessarily a bad thing. Mommie definitely seized the opportunity to finish Ufuoma at the end- that was hilarious. “Cele start wearing shoes to church, that is the day I will stop preaching!”- this killed me, haha. I loved, loved this Timi.

    Like

  3. Brilliant story telling! I could picture the scene in my minds eye as I read the narrative. I appreciate your writing skills, and your willingness to explore the controversial issues surrounding faith, as you tell your story to a listening world!

    Like

  4. Mum! I am trying to figure out any ‘mombarrassment’ but I can’t presently but my grandma is a typical example of mommie dearest…meanwhile, i was a rebel in my teens against my mum and her ways…I grew fond of her big heart for me in my 20s and would do anything for her today.

    Like

    1. We grow up to accept and appreciate them in some cases don’t we? As I pieced together Mommie’s character, I felt certain that people who grew up in our neck of the woods would see their mums, aunts, grandmas, in her. Thank you for confirming this Charles.

      Like

  5. Reminiscent of how, back in the day, we would make countless attempts to temper Mother’s (over)drive in pursuit of a cause that we thought required a less aggressive approach.
    Despite a convincing attempt that proves successful, that the selfsame over-passion springs up in another scenario makes one want to believe some traits are inherently unfixable. ‘Just love her’ became an adopted admonition.

    Nice one with dem stories, Livelytwist.

    Like

  6. Ahhhh! this totally hit home….Lucky part about my personal “mombarassment” moments, is that right now, before she begins any of her “stunts”, I can foretell what she’s planning, how she’s going to execute the plan, and how its going to finally conclude…. so am usually prepared and also prepare my guests (Just in case I come home with any)…. One of my favourite write-ups once more…(For obvious reasons)
    P.S Am forwarding this to my Mum, in order to confirm if I still have the ability to predict her actions, as I can already tell how she’ll react…lol

    Like

    1. Ha ha, the part about preparing your guests in advance resonates 🙂 We eventually learn how to ‘dodge’ their ‘bullets’
      @forwarding to your mum, hmmm . . . I hope I don’t get into trouble o!

      Like

  7. Hmmmm..reminds me of all the morning callers I have known…and the church that I shared a fence with in Port Harcourt. I may not have known all their faces but I knew all their songs and sometimes from my house, I would join them to sing the welcome song for visitors 🙂 I knew the choristers that could sing and those that could not. I got so familiar with their voices and mannerisms…infact by default I was a member of the church….

    Like

  8. Lol. Mothers. I love mine too. Happy belated Mother’s Day, Timi…and all the females on here 😉

    I think it’s Mother’s Day too frickin’ often. I never remember any more when it is. Smh.

    Like

      1. Well, I have to say I am still in shock from something my Dad did this week. This is a man who does not own a computer and never has. No cable TV. He does not own an electric razor. I’m pretty sure he washes his clothes by filling a tub with soapy water and kneading them. He types all his correspondence on a manual typewriter from the 1940s.

        Friday, I got a letter in the mail from him that said: I bought a cell phone and here’s the number.

        You have no idea how strange this is. Up until now, my dad refused to touch a cordless phone much less a cell phone. I’m still experiencing cognitive dissonance 4 days later.

        Like

  9. Whoever joined our Timi must write more fiction prayer group must have some Elijah level anointing… ameean, two stories in a row. Thank you for answering your fans. So what should we pray for now? The book?

    This story is remarkable because of they way it depicts the experience of almost every Nigerian home I know. Substitute Mommie dearest’s relentless proselytizing for your mother’s extreme habits and viola, you’ve got this story. I’m still trying to understand why the behaviour of mothers become less appealing to us as we grow up.

    Like

    1. Lol, everyone knows Mommie dearest or someone like her 🙂

      I grew up in a fairly liberal household. We were allowed to ‘discuss’ what mum was doing. I remember that she would floor our ‘educated’ recommendations and have her way by hook or by crook! As I live longer than my teenage years, I am more accepting of her ways and I understand that her heart is a safe place for my dreams.

      @book, JAMOT (just a matter of time), I will write that book. There, I’ve said it . . . now, I have to do it 🙂

      Thanks, Ife.

      Like

  10. Haha. Very funny story.

    Sometimes children don’t understand the lengths to which our mothers go to show their love.

    Count it all joy that we have them with us, now.

    Happy Mothers Day!

    I like this quote; “Preach the gospel all the time, and if necessary, use words.”

    Like

    1. It can be hard to see virtue when your face is flushed with embarrassment, but in retrospect, these things are easier to appreciate. I think that in general mums could also try to be a little ‘cool’ too 🙂 Thank you, Tony.

      That quote, food for thought . . .

      Like

  11. The ‘Mummy’ in this story reminds me of my grandma. Sigh, I miss her, even with her way of smothering me with her hugs and calling my sisters and I weird nicknames.
    Even as quiet as my mother is, she still finds ways to embarass us at inconvenient times. The plus side is, she’s very co-operative with gist and answers any, and I mean any question you ask her. Sigh.
    Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

    Like

    1. Aw, sweet. I’m glad this post triggered fond memories of mum and grandma. I miss my grandma too. She couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak her language, so we bantered in a version of Pidgin that was difficult for me. She must have remembered the Nigerian civil war vividly, because she always used to worry what language I would speak to identify myself if war broke out.

      It seems mums are made with the ‘mombarrassment’ gene. Mombarrassment: lovingly embarrassing your kids into submission! 🙂

      Thank you!

      Like

  12. Hahahaha..I won’t die with laughter o!

    This is very ordinary, and by that I mean it is special in the way it vividly captures an unmissable character of Nigerians: dramatically passing our point across to someone else; whether it’s in the sphere of religion, sports, politics or some other matter…hehehe.

    I enjoyed this well well–but wait o. How many Mothers Day’s do we have in a year? I am sure I have wished my mother Happy Mother’s Day twice already.

    Like

    1. Never a dull moment with Nigerians, drama kings and queens we are 🙂 Chaii!

      What irks me is the way we trade ‘useless’ maybe ‘dramatic’ insults on social media when we disagree on issues. I read comment threads and I shudder. We leave the topic at hand as if our intellect has come to a fullstop and degenerate to personal insults. But then, this isn’t just a Naija thing . . .

      Well there are as many Mother’s Days as there are countries. Just wish her happy mother’s day, for the third time 🙂

      Like

      1. You know, I was just thinking about that today and telling myself that I can never trade insults on social media. I never understand the purpose. I thought I was the only one thinking that way! Lol 🙂

        Like

        1. No you’re not. Well we’re still negotiating Facebookland, Twitterverse, hashtag advocacy, and what have you. I think that we have not learned how to agree to disagree agreeably, not even where it counts most, in our private lives.

          Like

  13. Lol, my mum can suprisgingly be very co-operative with gist. As an only daughter, I guess she counts on my gist so she abides by my rules Lol…….that said, my mum is not an exception to mombarrasment oh, you know when some school long time friend passing by steps into ur compound wearing a hot pants, pregnant or some boy with dreads, My mum won’t spare you. She makes it obvious that u can’t come looking for my child….. With her eyes and constant interruption ….

    ” Busola! when is your friend leaving I want to send u on an errand oh, isn’t it getting late it’s 4pm we need to start cooking dinner.”

    And when the friend gets the message and wants to leave

    “don’t see her off too far oh, u must do something for me”

    Nice rights up Timi, it reminds me of a friend’s mother who is a Jehovah witness she preaches and also hawks her little trade……..all in the neighborhood.

    Like

    1. Lol, mums are protective and the way they show it 😀 😀 😀
      We treasure them trusting that their ’embarrassing’ actions come from a good heart.

      I recall that when I was in my teens, a friend (boy) came over. We sat side by side on a bean bag in front of the cassette player in the living room (a very public space) and listened to music, changed cassettes, etc.

      Suddenly, from behind us, a voice rang, “Sit apart!” My friend took off to the farthest chair, while I sat alone on the bean bag, wishing the ground would open and swallow me!

      Happy Mother’s Day Busola!

      Like

  14. Ah, the “mombarrassment” I know all too well. Lol 😀

    My mother has never been a good whisperer. She’s always on about how much she loves us and would want ME to confide in her— because she’s my best friend. Of course I believe her.

    One day I came home from school and tried to test this belief by telling her some top secret information parents aren’t privy to. Note, a disclaimer went out in the beginning that the info was “classified.” And we were in the bedroom.

    “Ahh! You mean Tola is pregnant at age 17?!” she said in a booming voice. By now those in the living room and on the porch can hear us.
    “Momm!! I told you to be discreet about this!” I whined.
    “But you didn’t tell me your dad, pastor, and brother Dele’s wife couldn’t hear it” she countered.
    “But that’s what top secret means!” I whined again, almost crying.
    “Ah, pele. Mabinu oko mi. Next time tell me to whisper into your ears.

    Yup, that’s my mom. Can’t hide her excitement, her disappointment, or her surprises, but extremely patient, never one to lash out angrily at others for not living up to moral expectations.

    Happy Mothers’ Day, Timi! Coffee’s on me today. 🙂

    Like

    1. I love your mum already, never a dull moment with her around, I guess 🙂
      The mothers around me while growing up, could be drama queens, so I drew from their characters and made up Mommie dearest. But the thing with people like this is that they have a big heart, and their care is often (mis)spoken aloud!

      Thanks for reposting your comment. I take my coffee with cream and sugar, thanks again!

      Like

  15. Great to read something from you again in about a month. Been quite busy with my exams. Abeg, make dem free mummy O. Everyone with their own style. But mummy shouldn’t shout too when using megaphone now. She com dey even expose Ufuoma’s runs….lol

    Like

The conversation never stops, please join . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s