My quick trip to the children’s room was not as fast as I had hoped. Mama T was sitting by Izzy’s bed tickling her and making her shriek with laughter.
“Grandma, you are here,” I called out to her.
Mama T looked up, “Somebody was making noise and I thought it was a rat so I came to investigate,” Izzy laughed some more. I smiled. Mama T adored her grandchildren and always made time for them. I was happy to have her around; especially when I was not around either.
“Hmm! I said it. I saw one big rat crawling around the staircase yesterday. Perhaps I should investigate too.” I said, looking at Izzy who was trying to regain her composure after laughing so hard.
“Mummy, no! Don’t tickle me. Grandma tickled me already,” Izzy said.
I smiled. My baby was growing. I remember when all she could mutter were the bahs! Mas! And Pahs! It is always exciting to watch babies grow.
I was still basking in the cheerful atmosphere of the children’s room when Mama T dropped a bomb shell on me. “My dear, I would be going back home tomorrow.”
My heart dropped down into my stomach. This was so unexpected. I guess I had taken it for granted that she was at our beck and call. My own mother was not retired yet so she was not even an option to help out with the children.
“Mummy, why so soon?”I probed, hoping that I could persuade her.
She laughed. “My dear, I have a million things I have left undone by coming here. I need to get them done. Besides, you know how much I dislike being away from church activities.”
“Grandma, I hope I have not contributed to chasing you out of our house. I know that things have been rough for the few days since I have been home but things will become normal again,” I told her with all sincerity.
“Hey…” Tony’s voice interrupts our conversation. We both look up to see him standing at the door. Apparently he might have been there for a while. “Let us take the discussion to the sitting room. Izzy has slept off,” He said.
I follow my dear husband to the sitting room and I wondered why Mama T did not follow us there. I guess she wanted us to have some privacy.
“Mummy has been hinting for a while that she needed to go back home.” Tony said.
“So, you knew? Why didn’t you tell me? I would have been looking for another alternative. Who will watch over the children for us?” I asked.
“That’s why I said we needed to talk.”
Tony and I sat and discussed all our options. I did not want Tony to cut back on the jobs that he was taking just to help out with the children. As a consultant, there would always be down seasons when fewer contracts were coming in. I know Tony was also trying to set up another stream of income but he needed time and fewer distractions to figure it all out.
“Tony, let us do it like this. I will get an assistant who can work with me from Abuja. He would be my eyes and ears on the ground while I work remotely. I have thought about this and I know that this would reduce how much I’m earning but I would also try to look for consultancies that do not require traveling,” I told him. There was no way that I would give up on my career that I just resurrected. I felt like I had unknotted myself and I could not go back to how things were. I had tasted the sweat and pumped myself with adrenaline that comes from being on the field and doing great work. I wanted that life now. I would find other ways to achieve and make myself into a brand. I knew what I wanted to be known for, I knew what I wanted my life to be 30, 40 years down the road. Everything was in God’s hands and I felt peace about this decision I had made.
“Really? You would do this again for us? I know we have been down this road and I appreciate all your sacrifices but I want you to achieve all that you have in your heart to do.” Tony held my hands.
“Pshh! Many roads lead to the market as they usually say. I am not giving up. I am just taking another road into the market. This way, we all win. The children would have their mother around more,” I told him. I would do anything for my family. They usually come first. When Tony and I married we wrote down our values and goals and obviously, family was at the top of the list.
“I was even considering asking Mama Dami to send her daughter to live in with us. This way we can have someone around for 24 hours everyday. It would take the pressure off us and we can focus on our work too.”
Tony was obviously overcome with emotion because I was willing to compromise. My big teddy bear pulled me into his arms and we stayed locked in each other’s arms a while. I thought about my $400 a month minus the per diem and other allowances I received from my job. It was not much but I was hoping that I could contribute to the vacation we had been planning for years. The cost just kept riding higher and higher with each child coming on the scene. I sighed. Oh well! I would channel some of the savings into a trust fund for the children and also send some money to the Pastor’s wife’s orphanage.
“So, what do you think of that Victoria girl?” Tony asked.
“Huh? I thought we were done with that?” I asked, exasperated. Where was this coming from?
“Calm down Babe. Do you know that Mummy is planning on taking the girl in? That is one of the reasons why she wants to go back home. She really wants Victoria to turn a new leaf. And you know Mummy, she will work that girl until she becomes Mother Theresa,” he responded. I laughed a little.
“Everyone needs a chance, truly. I am glad she is trying to help her. But not in my house. She was already unto you like a little snake and I have heard about all those little girls and how powerful they are when they have men in their webs,” I told Tony, sitting on his laps. He rubbed my arms unconsciously.
Tony laughed out loud, “Haba! Unto me how? That little girl. She’s got nothing on you, Babe. You are the real deal; the only sugar in my tea.”
“You drink your tea black, my dear. Remember your friend Mr. Thomas? That is what happened to him. His wife told me that he was messing around with a university student but she has managed to put him on a leash now. I hope everything is now aright with their marriage.”
“Abeg, let us leave this matter alone. Follow me to the bedroom, I want to show you something,” he said playfully.
“Something bi ti ba wo?” I feigned a frown and eyed him. He grabbed me and began to tickle me. In between my screams and laughter, I agreed, “okay! Okay! Let’s go please.”
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