SO LONG A LETTER

Nnenna,

Your father says you’re upset I missed your 18th. You see, these things you do make me laugh, but maybe someday you’ll understand why I work as hard as I do and why I have to go to Africa most of the time.

My father did not attend any of my birthdays and that’s putting it nicely, because I didn’t have any birthdays at all, growing up. Now, you kids grow up with birthdays at the park or house parties with friends – I even heard your father let you do this one at the club. Wawu! My child, you have certainly outdone your mother.

Back where I come from, they say a good child belongs to the father and the bad, the mother’s. Are you wondering now, if we lived in huts and chased our elephants under the sweltering sun in nothing but raffia skirts? No, honey. Africa is not really as backward as the mainstream media portrays.

Even if I’m far from you, I will give you the same set of advise I gave to your brother when he became an adult. Yours would be of course, more lengthy because the world has never been tipped in our Favor and as a fine lady in the center of wolves, you would be needing all the wisdom only a mother can give.

You will be going to college this spring, even as you keep singing to us how you would not go. You are going, and that’s final! You see, all the nice things you have now are only because mom and Dad went to school, landed nice jobs and saved their asses off.

You’ll probably make do without a college degree, a lot of people do. On the flip side, what if you don’t ? I mean, not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg now, can they? I had a masters degree when I met your father. I wouldn’t have been the Rep. of Seattle Grace if I didn’t have an education. Do you get my point now?

I want you to know you can talk to me anytime, about anything. Oh, I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying to yourself how your father is easier to talk to, but he grew up in a clime where children were let to do what they want and parents were friends with their children ; I grew up with ura, akanti and Utali – the slaps and the cane. Children weren’t always let to do as they pleased, but they turned out right. Parents weren’t encouraged to show affection because they believed it spoilt the child, the only time they would show they loved you would be when they asked you to test a dress to know if it fits. At least I hope you understand that the curfews and spankings were for your own good – you graduated high school with a 4.0 anyway.

You say you want to be a dancer! If I talk now, they would say I have spoken, but do you remember the child of whom you are? You come from a long line of academics – your Father, a doctor, your mother, an advocate. At least, if you want to disgrace us, do it with a degree in the bag. Let it not be said that the evil one has prevailed.

Your beauty is an asset, it is a good thing, it will open doors for you but it won’t put food on the table. No one became rich by being beautiful and no hardwork. Your skin is as fair as the sun and for that reason, life would be easier for you especially in this country of ours where the lighter the skin…. You know the rest.

Men would come to you in droves – the good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t let them fool you with their sweet tongues and kind words, it is a bulk SMS they sent to many girls. If you need words of affirmations or to hear how beautiful you are or how your eyes glaze like a river at peace, call me, I will tell you.

I’m not saying you should be a Margaret Thatcher and drive the good ones away, all I’m saying is you should be wise as a serpent and Meek as a dove, because when all this is over and you’ve made your money, you would need someone to come home to, because beauty will not comfort you at night when the snow is biting cold. So while you’re doing your shakara as all young girls are wont to do, take your brain with you, don’t miss the one because you think you’re too good for him. I didn’t have these problems because I was not even half as beautiful as you are, all I had was an almost good brain and a deep bag of talents and even if he would never tell me, I know it is what attracted your father.

I didn’t have it easy, what with a not attractive face and a skinny body, the boys were not coming as much as they are for you, but when they did, they were not as useless as those slay kings hanging around you hoping to get some. Being a beautiful child with the body of Beyoncé, they won’t stop coming, but I hope of course, that you are saying no to them, and if you aren’t, we will talk about that when I’m back.

Your Brother says he will become a priest, I don’t even want to go there now, I still have bile in my throat but I can’t drag him with God. The onus is on you to give me grand children someday, not today biko because it looks like that is what you people do these days, but I will always remind you, do not forget the child of whom you are. You’re the light of this family, do not disgrace us.

You come from money, and while you would meet a lot of gold diggers, you will still meet some who are intimidated by a successful woman. Don’t let them tell you not to work, or take a lower paying job than them. We are not paying six figures in school fees for you to diminish yourself to soothe a bruised ego. If possible, do not go for someone of a lower social standing than you, the odds are, a man with money cannot be intimidated by a woman with money, but then you’d never know. So, marry a man like your father, if he doesn’t support your dreams or your hustle, let him go.

I heard you no longer attend mass. Don’t think you’re a big girl, you’ve not arrived in life. Don’t follow everything you see on social media. Abandoning God is not a trend, it’s not dope, it’s an abomination. Let me not hear of this again.

When you go to college, don’t be one of those children who refuse to identify as black. Forget the color of your skin and the texture of your hair , you are black because of the blood that runs in your veins. Don’t let mainstream media make you feel inferior, your life is in your hands and you will run the world someday, you best be identified as a black woman, doing it.

Ah! The Nigerian President just walked in, I have to concentrate on my meeting now. What is it you said I should bring back for you Again?

-Mom.

6 thoughts on “SO LONG A LETTER

  1. Wow, It’s really a long letter to begin with but aside that, love the piece of advice you just dropped for us especially for the ladies and would love if you also send your piece of advice as well to boys in future

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the way you passed across this strong piece of advice in a society that is getting daily influenced by social media. Very relevant information for the young ladies. Most boys ain’t shit at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

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