When Life Was Tender…

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

I woke up this morning feeling great and feeling life is good. And in fact, I have been feeling good for quite some time now. I don’t know what it is or what is coming up around the corner; I simply feel good. There must be something in the air, something I can’t place my fingers on. But whatever it is, happy days are here again. I feel good about the way the wind blows and about the sound of birds as they sing and whistle; and I kind of like the majesty of the trees in my neighborhood and also like the way the leaves on the trees sway, gingerly, to the left and to the right; back and forth, this way and that way.

It is good to be alive. It is good to be able to read good and inspiring books, to read fascinating research materials that are pushing the frontiers of knowledge. And every so often one gets to see movies that are simply wonderful, the kind of movie that makes one believe in the possibility of the human spirit. And then there is music that makes ones soul waltz and fly to distant land. In addition, there is something about good music that makes the human spirit happy. I mean just plain happy! How many time have you heard a great music and you just couldn’t help yourself but tap your feet, snap your fingers, sing along or simply sway, gently, to its rhythm.

Have you ever sat across from your children and just feel happy and grateful that they are yours; and you think of how beautiful they are; of how lucky you are to be a parent who is greatly appreciated and loved by those children? I don’t know about you, but there is something about sons and daughters. Damn, they are different. They are different in the way you love them and in the way they love you. The next time you are at it, watch the way your daughter calls your name, hold your hand, looks into your eyes, eat from your plate, ask for assistance, plead for forgiveness or the way she dashes for you when you come home at the end of a busy day.I am certain sages were thinking of daughters when they spoke of angels, of cherubim.

Boys are something else. They come on sure and strong as though the world revolves around them. Although they may come off as contentious and territorial and aggressive, don’t be fooled; they can also be sensitive and caring. They may act macho and pick on their sisters, but don’t be fooled; they can be really protective of their sisters. And the older they get, the more they become protective of their mothers. Boys love their parents, but not in the way daughters do. Equally, parents love their sons, but not in the way they love their daughters. Either way, a great family is an ocean of reciprocal love.

That love is not more or less, just different. Watch the way a father interacts with his son (especially if the son is past 10 years). It is almost as if the father is grooming the next head-of-household. Some how, single mothers also groom their sons to be head of household. Speaking of love, have you ever taken the time to look at your wife or lover across from the room, in the midst of other women and can tell she is the most stunning of all the women? There are times when your look at her and know, without an iota of doubt, that but for her your life would have been incomplete.

You know it; you just know that but for her, life would have been a collection of misery and pain. And every so often you look at her as she naps on the sofa or fully stretched on the bed knowing that here lays the other half of your soul. There is something about girls who grow up to be wives and lovers and mothers and companions. Now, if you don’t already know this, well then, go find one; go find yourself a woman who, if you made the right choice, will fulfill you; and you hers.

I now segue to other matters: I tend to think that boarding schools are great institutions. It shaped my life and my worldview. After all these years, I still tidy up my bed before I walk out of the room; I still take my bath before I leave home; I still think highly of authority, of teachers and mentors and seniors; I still enjoy doing things in groups; and I still enjoy being faith, loyal and supportive of friends. But more than that, I still don’t give a hoot what your ethnicity or religious affiliation is. It never mattered. And it still doesn’t matter. Although most of the student population were from Kwara State, a great many of us came from other parts of the country. At Government Secondary School, Ilorin, there were senior students and junior students and college brothers and a slogan that never made sense to me until years after I left: “Seniority is not for Ever!” Those were great times, and great years.

Tribalism and or ethnicity hit home and hit me hard only after I got to the United States. It was in this country that I was reminded, for the very first time that I was different. Was it just I or was it the case with all my childhood friends in Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin and Jos? I wonder: did they all know we were different? Did they know and just didn’t care because it didn’t matter? Next time you are in Ilorin, ask Bayo Issa, Dapo Saliu, Andrew Onoja, Folorunsho Bankole and the rest of the gang. And if you knew Jos of the 1980s, you’ll have an idea of what I mean. It was a peaceful, tolerant, and stranger-loving city. Very liberal and progressive and where I counted scores of Ndiigbo as friends and family.

Do you ever wonder as much as I wonder why most of us Africans live in self-imposed exile? Really, most of us have no business living overseas. Every so often, I’d meet a Nigerian who was this and that and that and this in Nigeria but then found it necessary to give it all up and move to the US or UK or some strange country to start life all over again. Once you’ve attained certain financial and social status you have no reason to migrate — unless of course you are being persecuted, or your condition was becoming hopeless. But hey, who am I to judge such people. I am here, too.

Summer is just around the corner. Most people I know look forward to the summer season, but not me. I hate the humidity. I hate the blazing sun. And that accounts for why Houston is my least favorite city. There was a summer when the humidity came close to sucking the energy out of me. Mid-spring is preferable. It is cool and gentle and breezy and it caresses the soul. But winter is much better, the Minnesota winter, that is. Once you get use to the five or more degrees below zero temperature, you will understand what I mean and know that Minnesota is life and all else is mere vacation.

It is a lovely state: healthy and beautiful and tolerant and nice and all that with thousands of picturesque lakes and painted-landscape. Picturesque and painted-landscape is also what you will see in Seattle, Washington State, where day after day and week after week I felt safe and blissful and oneness with the elements. It was where I woke up, every morning, feeling good and feeling the tenderness of life.

You may also like

1 comment

Anonymous May 10, 2006 - 7:14 pm

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde, in your most recently post you write:

But hey, who am I to judge such people. I am here, too.

You have been passing judgment on our culture here in states, are women, black Americans and our political agenda around the world. Personaly, I think you are full of @!#%&)!

But hey, who am I to judge?


Leave a Comment