Driving from the market, she tried to focus. The sun that afternoon was scorching, one could barely even engage in a conversation due to the intensity of the weather. She simply waved at the people she knew and kept driving, adjusting her center mirror, she sped off.
As soon as she got home she emptied the trunk of her car. It was exactly 1: 30pm; she hurried as she moved the items she had just bought to the house. The children’s school often closed at 2: 30pm, she never liked to pick up her children late. She despised parents who left their children long after closing hours, negligence she called it. After packing the items into the house, she zoomed off to pick up the kids.
“Mrs. Smith, this is highly unacceptable,” yelled the principal.
“I’m sorry sir. I’m also surprised by this act.” She said. Surprised by how the words could flow freely because it was already sounding like a broken record. This was not the first time she had been in the principal’s office, always on account of her son’s misconduct— Tunde. It was either he fought or missed classes but today’s misdeed was bizarre – he was caught in the girl’s toilet peeping at a girl. God! She almost screamed but still managed to keep calm.
“Mrs. Smith I must say, if this continues we might have to withdraw your son from the system. Imagine what will happen if he corrupts other students. Ma, please watch your son closely.” He snapped back. She was taken aback by his response. Was he trying to question how she brought up her son? How dare he? Her blood boiled. That’s an indirect insult.
“Of course” she mumbled under her breath, shut the door loudly — hoping to show her rage. The principal didn’t care less or maybe she was just being petty.
The drive back home was a quiet one, only for the chattering from her 10-year old daughter – Funmi. Mrs. Smith needed a pain killer to suppress or maybe kill the pain she felt inside. Her throat was patched, her body felt numb, her mind was blank. As she packed in the garage, “I’m sorry, mum.” He said, looking so innocent. She laughed. Maybe he thinks I’m going to flog him, hell no! I’m tired of shouting, flogging and punishing.
“For what?” She asked coolly. She even thought maybe he was accused wrongly.
Her response gave him a glimmer of hope. Maybe the principal didn’t speak to her. He thought triumphantly.
Lunch was served and eaten. The children were in their rooms sleeping after homework was done. A perfect time to think. Her mind trailed off. Where am I lacking as a mother? What did I do wrong? But mmy Funmi hardly gives me trouble. She is a sweet, amazing, pretty child; so why is Tunde different? After all I am the one who gave birth to both of them. Growing up, she had always prayed to have a boy as her first child but now she didn’t even know what she wanted anymore. Her husband had little or no time for her and the kids, all he thought of was WORK! She tried to refrain from nagging, didn’t want a home where her children would watch their mum and dad quarrel. She had the perfect home. So why couldn’t Tunde be perfect just like his sister or like the children she had always dreamt of?
They lived in an upmarket part of Lagos in Lekki Phase I, in a three-bedroom serviced apartment that overlooked the water. Her children went to one of the best schools in the area not to say she and her husband were doing well. She had a shop in Lekki where she sold Ankara, clothing accessories and English wears. Her husband worked as a manager in an oil firm, so money wasn’t a problem. Every Sunday, they went to church in fact it was a weekly ritual, they never missed Sunday service. Plus if God wasn’t happy with them, they wouldn’t be prosperous. He definitely was the problem or the proverbial “problem child”.
” Mummy” she heard her daughter say.
“Yes, my darling.” She answered.
“Mummy, are you crying?” Funmi asked
It was then it dawned on her that she had tears gathered around her eyes. She immediately cleaned her eyes. “No dear. Something entered mummy’s eyes” She lied. “Do you talk to your brother on his behavior?” She asked.
“Mummy he hardly talks to me anymore. Anytime I go to his room, he chases me out. It’s because we don’t worship God that is why.” Funmi replied sharply. She almost jumped on hearing her daughter’s reply but managed to compose herself. “How do you mean?” She asked. “We go to church, don’t we?” She asked, searching her daughter’s eyes for answers but she couldn’t find any.
“We go but we don’t worship Him in truth and in spirit.” Then she explained how her CRS teacher told them that true worship was only when you worship God in truth and in spirit. She had met her teacher to explain more and the woman had told her that worshipping God is beyond going to church every Sunday alone but rather it is the act of seeking his face in all that you do, making him your life line, inviting him to dwell in your home and affairs. This she said could be achieved through prayer which was the ultimate key. It is a means of talking to the Almighty. “Mummy, I always pray for you because I know you try your best.” She said and left.
She sat stunned. “How couldn’t she have known?” She had failed even when she thought she was somewhat perfect!
Slowly, she got on her knees to pray but they were too weak for such operation. Tunde isn’t the problem, I am. The Bible on the table stared back at her, it was hardly used except on Sundays. She shut her eyes, quietly searching for inner peace. “Dear God, I don’t know how else to talk to you. The words are failing me. I’m messed up. I should have seek You earnestly but I was leaning on my own understanding. I don’t know what to do next or how to go from here but I ask that you order my steps. Teach me how to love and respect you. Guide and bless my children and restore my household. Satan you have no place in my home, pack your bags and leave, your reign is over. Thank you for opening my eyes to where I lacked. Forgive us our sins.” Surprised at how the words came freely, she picked up the Bible and wrapped her arms tightly against it.
She was now determined to be that woman on bended knees that would bring her family together through the words spoken from her mouth. She was prepared to understand the wonders of prayers. She was determined to cover all loop holes. She was determined never to lack.
Kayode Oluwakemi Osinimu
About the Author
Kayode Oluwakemi Osinimu hails from kogi state. An undergraduate student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where studies Accounting. She writes short stories and articles and she is an avid reader and lover of books.