Real Life Yarns: “My Dad Only Wanted a Male Child”
The subject of this week’s Real Life Yarns is a 25-year-old young woman who talks about how her father’s desire for a son estranged him from his family, and how her mother raised her and her sisters all by herself while enduring physical and verbal abuse.
This is her story, as narrated to Kasiobi
Like many Igbo men, my dad always wanted a son as a first child. At one point, he didn’t even care about the position. He just wanted a son for Christ’s sake. But, unfortunately, my mother had 6 daughters. No son, not even a miscarriage of a son.
So, from an early age, my father never cared about us; birthdays, school fees, clothes, feeding, general welfare… Because, whenever he saw us, we reminded him of his biggest failure in life. My mom had to take care of all six of us solely on her earnings because none of my father’s dime was meant to be spent on unwanted children.
Thanks to Karma, my father lost his job and only source of livelihood while we were children. But sometimes, karma can also be a double-edged sword because, now, my mother had to feed seven children. And my father, whom I later came to understand was an ultimate manipulator, became quite comfortable being my mother’s child. He didn’t try to look for another job any more because he grew quite fond of being cared for, and being catered to. Many times, I felt that he intentionally sabotaged his job. To punish my mother. A woman that failed in her “wifely” duties.
Igbo people always believe that Ugwu nwanyi bu di ya. That a woman’s pride is her husband. So my mother didn’t want to lose her pride. She endured, started a little curtain business in the heart of Ogbete, and expanded to eight shops. But she didn’t drop the deadweight that manipulated and verbally and physically abused her. She became successful. A role model. But I bet she kept wondering, “What would people say about a woman with six children but no husband?” What will people say ke? I told her to tell them that he was dead. But my mother was more interested in listening to people than all 6 of her own children. Daughters for that matter.
So my mother dragged the deadweight along while she toiled and trained us through school until university. She has two nurses now, an engineer, a doctor, an accountant, and a successful young businesswoman. But all these do not sum up the pride that she really needed. So, in 2020, she adopted a son. He was the cutest, most perfect baby I’ve ever seen. He still is. But I had a reservation. She did it for a man who didn’t deserve it. And overnight, my nonchalant cold cold father became a doting dad to a son. Don’t get me wrong, we love our brother. We are just afraid of what having a toxic father would do to him. But we will protect him at all costs. As for my father… He is complete now. A proud “owner” of a son. Now he wants to be reconciled with us, the rejected children. But you already know what the big question is. Should we forgive him?
Rosemary Kasiobi Nwadike
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