I just hung up the phone on my mother tonight! This is the second time I hung up the phone on her since I married my Nigerian husband on January 4, 2007. She insulted me more highly than I thought was possible. As I am writing this, I am still wondering, “What in the world is wrong with my mother!” “Does she not know how much she has insulted me!”?
The closer it gets to the time when my Nigerian husband and stepson will join me in the states (prayerfully in June), the more my mother reveals what is in her heart.
In marrying my Nigerian husband, I find that I, an African American woman, have taken on the entire country’s fight as well. I mean I am called on, through thoughtless remarks or questions, to defend my choice. And tonight, my mother actually told me that she does not want my Nigerian husband or Nigerian stepson to come to her house and meet her when they arrive in the states, for she is afraid they carry a deadly disease. Now my mother is 73 years old and has multiple illnesses in which she has been fighting and dealing with for years. But all of her illnesses are under control with her daily dose of numerous medications.
You see I live in South Carolina, and my mother (with the exception of one brother) live in New Jersey. When my husband comes to the states, we had planned for him to fly into JFK airport in New York (straight flight from Lagos, Nigeria), so we could go to mom’s house in New Jersey from the airport. That way, my husband could meet my mother, one brother, three sisters, and other relatives. However, mom, had been asking me if my Nigerian husband had gotten the “all health clear” of not having AIDS, asked me again. She finally just came right out and said, “Instead of coming here to my house when he and his son gets in, we will just come down to your place and visit you this summer”. It really didn’t dawn on me what she was really saying until later tonight. When I thought about it, I realized that my mother, whom I see only about twice a year due to my job schedule, would never in the past reject a visit from me (except now!) I, therefore, called her back and asked her why she would rather that we not stop in and see her at her apartment, but rather, she would prefer to travel over 700 miles to come to us when we get home. She said, “Did your sisters or brothers tell you what I said?” I told her no they hadn’t, but I knew in that moment she did not want my Nigerian husband and Nigerian stepson in her apartment. So, I said to her. “You know I never did ask if it was alright for my husband and stepson to stay with you for a week, but I automatically assumed it would be alright, for they are my husband and stepson!” That is when she said that the doctor told her sometime ago that she should not be around people with “deadly diseases”, and therefore, she did not want them in her house. I asked her why she felt they had a deadly disease (and I was fuming with anger on the inside and trying not to show it in my voice over the phone), and she said they were from Nigeria. I asked her if she realized that she had insulted me to the highest level, for they are my husband and stepson, and we come together as a package. I let her know that if she rejects them, then she is rejecting me! I asked her how does she know one of her own children (my sisters and brother) do not have AIDS when they visit her and sit on her couch. She strongly informed me that, “Her children do not have AIDS!” Well, in the end I hung up on her, for she was insistent that my husband and stepson are full of a deadly disease simply because they are from Nigeria. Now mind you, my mother and I are (or I thought we were) extremely close. I call her daily . . .. I send her funds when possible . . . I support her constantly . . . and I love her deeply. But tell me—how can I go back and visit her now? I mean how can I just say to my Nigerian husband and stepson when they come, “Honey, I am going to visit mom now, and I will see you in a week. Sorry, honey, but you cannot come, for mom does not want you in her house!”
I am shocked at her rejection. I reminded my mother that both of my brothers, the one that lives in New Jersey and the other brother that lives in Florida BOTH have wives that are not African American. One brother is married to an Italian girl, and the other brother is married to a Jamaican girl. I asked her, “Why did you not reject their spouses, but you, an African American woman, are rejecting an African man and an African child, which are closer to your ancestors heritage than my brother’s spouses?” This is totally ridiculous!
I can scream at this point. Imagine, my own mother, whom I love deeply and call daily to inquire about her health, well being, and financial security is rejecting me because she does not like who I married—namely a Nigerian man. Every chance mom gets, she always mentions something about a Nigerian (frauds, schemes, poverty, AIDS, lack of education, etc.).
My husband just buried his father this week, and the family is still grieving over their loss. I have decided not to tell him this turn of events, for it would really hurt him. When I came to Lagos, Nigeria, his entire family welcomed me with open arms. I was treated like royalty, and here my mother, a good Christian woman will not even allow my Nigerian husband and stepson to enter her house. Lord have mercy! He was so looking forwarding to meeting her. At one point, he wanted to know if it was appropriate to bow to her, for he wanted to show her the utmost respect. I let him know that we do not bow to one another at all (males or females), but to hug her is good enough. Now, he will not be able to do that, for she probably does not want him or my stepson to touch her.
You know what, I am sick and tired of how bad people react when they hear the word Nigeria or I am married to a Nigerian. I know Nigeria has many issues, and the recent election did not make it look any better, but what in God’s name is wrong with people. Why cannot people understand that all of Nigeria is not bad, but there are actually some wonderful, intelligent, kind, sincere, and HONEST Nigerians?
I am just angry with my mother tonight! This situation is just ridiculous . . . ! My heart goes out to mixed couples, for this treatment, especially coming from Christians is just horrid!