You’re the amazingest woman I know. I also know that if I ever do write down the name of this blog for you, you will take offense at the word amazingest. And tell me, “Uju, English!”. But you are. And unless Chike or Uche or Nkiru show you my blog, you won’t see it. I might print it out for you. I don’t know. I think I will. But I don’t know.
Granted, you and I were not close when I was 11 till I was 17. But I understood. I still understand. I forgive you and I genuinely don’t care anymore.
You taught me how to laugh at life. No, not because you laugh at it, but because you have said and done some of the most amazingly irrational things that I had no choice but to. I plan to keep remembering the time you screamed at me to put off the generator by 7:10pm so that we could use it in the night, or how you told me that we don’t fry plantain in pans and then later, that it was irresponsible to fry it in pots. It makes me smile on days when I realize that the sun is being an annoying Chike and I’m not wearing a hat. It makes me laugh sometimes, the kind of laughter that caused that girl to walk to the other side of the road in 2014.
You constantly tease me that I couldn’t be your daughter. How could your daughter not have any fashion sense? How could your daughter be comfortable being an introvert? Shior! Well, the growing number of people who tell me I look like you will disagree but have you actually realized that there’s no way I could not not be your daughter? Because it would really amuse me to watch you deal with a daughter who likes going out and who out fashionistas you. You won’t be able to deal. But then again, you’re the strongest woman I know. You can deal with anything.
I hate people shouting at me. I do. But because I grew up with you, I’m no longer scared of it. Which is amazing because my current boss has a shouting type of voice.
Remember the time you told me to accompany you to the airport? I didn’t want to say anything to your driver that day but you pulled out the emotional blackmail card and I trotted after you. You really should have gotten on the plane without feeling the need to give me anything, really. I did not ask you for anything. And I had to wonder exactly how you expected me to hand over 500 naira to Chike from you with a straight face. But really, thank you for the 250. I bought credit bringing my balance to a round 1000 naira. You know how much I like round figures.
You taught me not to complain. Ever. Amazingly, (since this lesson came at 13, the I don’t like you years) I learnt this lesson and learned it well. I do my best to improve on every situation I do not like instead of complaining about it.
Nwanyi agu, Adaeze, the way you give amazes me. I hated the salon when I was younger, remember that time you kept sending me back to the salon because I refused to wash and set my hair? But the time you followed me to make sure I did it, I noticed a side of you that I actually envied. You most likely don’t remember it. There were 2 girls, they looked like they were in the university and they were hotly arguing with the stylist about the bill. You asked her how much it was, told them not to worry, you’d take care of it. I put myself in their shoes in that instant. I’ve never been able to get myself out of it. Thank you. I remember that time a woman came visiting and you gave her your only silver shoes. I will never forget that the next day Obiamaka gave you an even prettier pair. And you kept exclaiming happily. No matter how many personal details have slipped through my memory, that one never has. I could tell a million stories of your love for giving.
You magnify the good in each of us. I remember the first time I started writing. You’d happily read every story and tell me how great a job I did. It didn’t scare me when I read one of my poems aloud in secondary school, JSS1. Because if my mommy liked it, who was everybody else? Fortunately for my overblown self confidence, every body liked it.
Every once in a while, I look at this wide family you brought me into and I mentally pick and choose who my mom should be (I’ll look into extending it and rearranging entire families soon. Don’t be scared. You’ll still be Mama Doctor na Lawyer. It’s just my vibrant imagination). All things considered, I think Aunty Obi would be my best fit. She doesn’t shout at me, she lets me eat as little as I want without asking me afterwards if that thing on my plate was food, and she very calmly unlooks when she sees me awake by 3AM or she joins me and we have nice conversations, she doesn’t mind if I don’t come out of my room all day and she buys me stuff even when I haven’t asked. But then again, she juices lettuce and cucumbers and drinks it. And she tells me to try it because it’s good for my bones. Actually I’ve tried it and I like it if I add a little fresh juice to it. But if Aunty Obi was my mother, you’d be Aunty Eliza to me. But I have a feeling I’ll miss getting up by 1AM because Obianuju, I’m hungry. And you’ll miss me oh, because Ifeanyi will not share her perfumes with you or tell you to take them the second time you sssssssssssssssssssssssssssspray them. Or her jewelry. Or her shoes.
Will Ifeanyi know to keep quiet when you start shouting? Will she actually come out of her room to bring you your phone that is in your bag right next to you? I hope she does. Really.
But most of all, I wanted you to know that I love you. May thousands come when you call, may you have fantastic friends, may your children think up inventive ways to spoil you silly. Kisses and hugs.