I come from a family of just three children. Though not the only child, I was the only son. Being the only son in a typical Igbo family has its advantages and disadvantages per say. One of the advantages is the round-the-clock care; my food was ready on time, no one interrupted my TV time etc. The major disadvantage among others was the over- protectiveness of my parents
I remember about seven (7) years ago, I intended to attend a Youth Praise Vigil. The venue of the Vigil was about 1 hour and 30 minutes from the house. I told my parents earlier about the vigil, they agreed. My sisters also hinted that they wanted to join; in fact it wasn’t just a random vigil, almost all the youths in the whole Church were going because it was a Diocesan Youth Praise Night.
Then at about 9:00 pm on the scheduled day, when we were about to go, she bluntly told me that I should not go. I thought she was joking, because I had already looked forward to this vigil. I already picked out a very free pants and polo (was trying to look funky and different from a typical pastor’s child). I dressed that way so I could be hardly identified in the congregation because I wanted to dance hard. I was greatly distraught. I nearly slapped some sense into my mother. My father just sat there quiet like he has nothing to say. I kept looking at him to bail me but not even a letter came from his mouth. I started ranting and saying all sorts, my eyes were red and I was boiling deep within me.
After all the drama, like a typical African mother, she just looked at me, sized me with her eyes and told me to go in and sleep. I thought my parents hated me. And I hated them also at that moment. I was so pissed at the rate of their over-protectiveness in fact I vowed never to do anything to make them happy. I thought to myself, why will a mother let her two daughters go for an all-Night program and not their son? Is it not the girls that are overprotected?
The next morning, during prayer, I didn’t say amen, not even once. They knew I was pissed and unlike other times, not even their care or food could change the rage in my heart. My father always has a way to appeal to my conscience. So he called me aside and told me that I would never understand until I have my own ‘only son’. He said my mother just didn’t want all three of her children to be out on the same night especially her only son. I never completely understood this until I became a God-father. The deep love you have for your child could sometimes look like hate.
I was later able to get total freedom by disobeying and arguing with them at certain points (don’t judge). But they got to see that I could handle myself in the worst situations. I really learnt how to keep my movements to myself and my sisters. Gradually, they were less concerned about my whereabouts and focused on my junior sister, great right?
The African Parental Love can sometimes be confusing. But before you jump to conclusions, try to listen to the reason behind every action with an open heart knowing that you’ll become a parent some day. Think about how you can make the typical African Parental Love better in your time as a parent.
Did this appeal to anyone? I learnt from this story. Thank you so much Chibugo for sharing this story with us. I believe quite a number of us can reckon with this.
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I Love You.