PATIENCE, THE MOTHER OF ALL VIRTUES


Photo Credit: Angelo Brown

'Marry or leave my house, you're disgracing me, no matter what a woman has or will ever achieve, she needs a man to crown it up, he's the ultimate gift', my mother retorted. I bitterly wish that she'll understand me. 'I don't need a man to be successful, I am sufficient and marriage is never anyone's achievement. Mama na (my mother), a lot of people are suffering in their marriages, remember the woman who almost lost her life in a fight with her husband? It takes time and conviction Mama, I....'

 'You don't have time Aisha, you're too old to be here, besides, a woman is supposed to endure and be patient, that woman wasn't', Mama impatiently cut in. She would have none of those excuses, I wouldn't blame her anyway, she's also under so much pressure. I was even under much pressure and almost everyone didn't understand that, they think I'm enjoying this state. Mama was the tenth child out of the twelve children that my maternal grandmother, Kaka, gave birth to. She grew up in a typical village in the ancient city of Kano in Nigeria. It was not uncommon to see child marriage or betrothal. She became my father's wife at age eighteen and she had barely known my father who was sixteen years older, and also married to a wife already, she learnt to love and respect him. My father, Alhaji Musa, was a successful and well known business man in Sabon-Gari market, Kano. He was into importation and sales of gold and other ornaments. He was from a rich home while my mother, Hajia Binta, was a tailor whose shop was just at the front of the house. She had come from a humble background, she didn't have the opportunity to go to school, and she was taught to be reserved. She was told to keep her home at all cost because a woman was naked and has no dignity without it. That is why she never objects even when Baba na (my father) misbehaves, you'll only notice eye bags under her eyes whenever she leaves the room. Mama expected the same thing from me. I know she was sad because Baba was blaming her for my present condition, I once heard him saying she pampered me too much and was always supporting me, that's why I've become a spoilt brat. I and Baba were very close until I got into school and I converted. The war began when I announced my decision to all. He threatened to disown me and Mama would cry day and night, begging me to renounce my decision, but I knew what I wanted and I was very convinced before I even considered converting. A lot of people came in batches to beg Baba before he changed his mind.

Some months later, Baba brought a rich, young man who wanted to marry me but, I objected respectfully. Aliu was born with a silver spoon, he was lazy and not ambitious. He was good looking and his father gave him everything but he had no goals or real values, he was just like any other guy. I had wanted a real, loving, hard working man that I'll be proud of, one that will help be grow and become better, but I saw none of those qualities in him. After so much fight, I won but lost more of my parent's affection. The pressure increased, some people in the neighbourhood knew about the arrangement and were already calling me 'Amaria' (new bride) even while we were having issues about it at home and for some months after. I got a lot of advices about marrying early and how honourable it is. I couldn't go put without hearing hushed whispers around. 

My friends started getting married one after the other, of course, I was happy for them but it led me to hearing more lectures from them and others. Eventually, I became more lonely and kept more to myself.

The following year after that occurrence, my childhood friend, Hauwa, who was more like a sister came with my other friends to a birthday party I organised for Mama and during the event, her childhood sweetheart proposed to her. You can imagine what I faced after the programme, you would think I was a witch that was caught in the act. I was very happy for her but people interpreted it as thoughtlessness. I got fresh lectures, indirect proverbs and disapproving glares when they finally got married. 'You're not getting younger, your mates already have three to four children, no one wants a leftover or an old lady', became the new song. The pressure was just too much all around and I was quietly slipping into depression. Everything became uninteresting, even life lost its meaning, my love tank was totally empty and my strength was gone. Papa always attributed everything to my new religion. He would often ask: 'Aisha, is that what you're being taught at that your center? You call it church and besides it's not as if things are going well for you since you joined and yet you're holding on', he would add. Sometimes, I would cry my eyes out in my room because, even my job that was suppose to be a consolation was not going well. My married boss wanted to have an affair with me but, my disagreement with that led to unfavourable treatments from him. I prayed and studied the Bible more like my life depended on it and gradually, hope returned. 

My boss was transferred, I got promoted and when I least expected I met the man who later became my husband. He was our biggest client and I personally handled his project, with time he showed interest in me but, I wasn't ready for another heartbreak because I had a couple of heartbreaks before then, and I wasn't ready for that again. He was extremely patient and became my best friend. I learnt he was a Sunday school teacher in his church but who he really was made me love him. He proposed two years later and we got married. Mama and Baba testified that he is God sent, because Sani, my husband takes good care of them. They no longer regret my waiting and conversion. In fact, they always refer to me when correcting other children. We are blessed with four children today who are doing well in various walks of life. It really pays to be patient. Never let the pressure around you push you into something you'll regret, I once did, and it didn't turn out well. Be yourself and do your best wherever you find yourself. Hold onto God as well, He's sufficient.


2 Comments

  1. Patience, the big brown umbrella for success.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes you're very right. Thank you for that wise input.

    ReplyDelete

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