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The grandmum bug!

– the funloving, but hardworking single parent

By Treena Kwenta
Hi Readers! I’m excited! I’m in love! This time around, I’ve fallen for a handsome and much younger gentle man with lovely dimples. He’s young enough to be my grand child, but he’s my man of the moment. His name is Bayo Junior or BJ. Yes, he’s Tayo’s grandson from her first daughter, Dupe. The moment I set my eyes on him, I was totally smitten.

Seb had joined the gals to welcome me back from Accra when she joined us; announcing that her grandson was in the garden.  We told her to get him quick.

Instead of sending nanny to go tell the boy’s nannies to bring him in, she marched out proudly like a heroine on a mission, and shortly she returned, bearing him in her arms like a trophy, trailed by the two nannies, her driver, Seb’s driver, nanny and my guard! It was like an invasion.

“Heaven help us!” cried Liz, getting up. “What’s happening? Why are all these guys streaming into the house? Is there a riot on this estate?”

“There’s no riot, Liz dear,” said Tayo as she settled herself and the baby into a large arm chair. “They want to have a look at the baby.”

“Couldn’t they do that when he was in the garden?” asked Liz. “Why come to crowd us in here as if running for safety?” It’s only Liz who could ask Tayo such questions without getting her head bitten off. The rest of us looked on curiously.

“That’s a good question,” said Tayo.  “The nannies have instructions not to allow anyone near the baby without my permission, so, these guys had to wait for me to come out. I invited them in so that they can gaze on him unhindered.”  A loony explanation, if you ask me.

But I let it pass as I looked at the infant from a distance, while the drivers, malam and nanny crowded round Tayo, admiring the baby and praying for him one after the other. They each tried to put some money in the baby’s hand! Horror! You should see how Tayo screamed at them.

“Oh no! You must never put money in a baby’s hand!” she said, visibly shaken.

“Madam, it’s the tradition,” said Seb’s driver.

“I know. I know. Thank you so much. But you see, think of where the money is coming from. I mean the sort of people and number of people that must have handled it.”

“Kodjo, she means the germs that may be on the naira note,” explained Seb. “With a baby, especially a very young one, you have to be careful.”

“Thank you, Seb dear. Junior is fond of putting his fingers into his mouth. Germs from anything could pass into his mouth and cause him some infection. His parents are not here. Imagine their dismay when I tell them that their son is being treated for one infection or the other.”

“Not to mention the reaction of the other grandmother,” I whispered in Tayo’s ear.

“Exactly!” she said.

“You can all put your money for the baby on the table,” said Seb. “Madam will put it into his bank account. Thank you so much. May God reward you all. Thank you.”

Tayo added her profuse thanks and they all left the room. I asked nanny to go serve all of them  drinks and snacks. We then turned to examine the baby. We each took him up in our arms to play with him and pray for him.

When it came to my turn, tears of joy and affection sprang to my eyes. He was such a cute happy infant; smiling at everybody curiously. I must have held him longer than everyone else because Seb came to take him gently from me to hand back to Tayo.

Long after the others have left, nanny and I sat to discuss the infant.

“Madam, I love that little boy o,” said nanny softly. “But I could see that you love him even more. He’s such a lovely baby; ever smiling. Hm! Well, we’ll soon have grand children in this house when sis Heather marries her fiance.”

“Heather is not yet engaged to the boyfriend, nanny.”

“Oh, but they’ve been together for two years or more now, and we have the photograph of both of them together in this house.”

“Yes, but that doesn’t make them man and wife, or even engaged.”

“What’s delaying their marriage?” nanny wanted to know.

I had to tell her that I hadn’t the faintest idea. When I retired upstairs for the night,  anger was building up within me.  What was wrong with me? Why can’t my daughter get married and make me a grandmother? All my age-mates and even those younger are grandmothers. I felt deprived. That was the main thing lacking in my life at the moment.  I was the only one left of the gals to become a grandmother. I hope this wouldn’t give me an inferiority complex.  It wasn’t as if my daughter wasn’t dating seriously.  It was Seb’s fault, I concluded.

Talk of coincidence! My mobile phone went and it was the guy! My anger doubled as I said ‘hello’.

“Ah, pipe down, Treena dear,” he said. “I can see you’re ready to rain invisible blows on me. What’s the matter? Are you upset because I took the infant from your arms to return to Tayo? You were hanging on to him and didn’t seem to want to let go. It was becoming embarrassing.”

“You’re the main problem in my life,” I blurted out when I could speak.

“Hey! That’s a new one! You said once many years ago, that I turned your world upside down, and now I’m the main problem in your life. Is that a compliment that you miss me in your life?”

“But for you and your prejudice, Seb, I would be a grandmother to, at least, one child now.”

“This is a great accusation.  In what way have I stopped you from becoming a grandmother?  This is too great a sin to attribute to me.”

“You’re standing in the way of Robert and Heather becoming man and wife. You refused to cooperate. You’re too suspicious of the boy’s motives in dating your daughter. You set some tests for him and he came out in flying colours.”

“So? Is that a sin? Should I hand over my daughter out just like that to a stranger as if I’m anxious to get rid of her? Think straight, Treena dear. I’ve been doing the honourable thing.”

“You have, Seb,” I had to admit. “But you should have shown some enthusiasm so that Robert would feel that there’s some hope that you’ll allow him to marry Heather. He’s a nice young man. He’s responsible and has a future.”

“In what way have I stopped him marrying Heather? Has he proposed marriage to her?”

“I don’t know. I’m sure he has.”

“Did she tell you he has?”

“She doesn’t have to tell me. We can see it in their relationship.”

“How? I can’t see in the relationship that there has been a marriage proposal, and Heather hasn’t told me that he’s asked her to marry him. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but when I asked you to marry me, you first of all wrote down to tell your parents, and they told you not to give me an answer until they had had a look at me.”

“Yes, but that was a million years ago, Seb.  Things are different these days. You don’t play hard to get as a parent and …”

“Play hard to get as a parent? What does that mean?”

“I mean hard to please. You encourage whoever your daughter has fallen in love with, and guide the couple. You treated Robert suspiciously and that may have driven him away from Heather. Let’s face it. He’s a good-looking young man with a good future. There must be many girls after him. Even Nkem said she thought there might be a future for him and her daughter together, but he didn’t fancy her at all, and was always raving about how gorgeous Heather was.”

“So, let him rave on.  When he does the proper thing and he comes to wherever I am to ask for the hand of my daughter in marriage, I’ll know what to say to him.”

“You’re not going to turn him down, are you?”

“That’s my secret. I assure you I won’t play hard to please, but whoever wants to marry my daughter has to convince me that he’s worthy to become my son-in-law. We’re not talking of looks or wealth. We’re talking of character. How well do you know him?”

“I don’t have to know him very well since I’m not the one getting married to him. It’s Heather’s business to study him well and be convinced that he’s the right man for him. I’m sure she’s convinced of that already.”

“Did she tell you so?”

“She doesn’t have to, I can…”

“You can see it in the relationship, isn’t it?”

“Well, they don’t quarrel and he’s not stingy in any way.”

“Thank God I’m still around to bring sanity into this marriage business. Left to you, Heather would have married the first creep who came her way, just because you’re anxious to become a grandmother. “

“I haven’t said I’m anxious to become a grand mother. I said it would be nice to be one like Tayo is.  Do you know I’m the only one left of the gals that is not a grandmother?  It isn’t good for my image.”

“Oh, being a grandmother is something to give one an image now, is it? You’ll have to wait for some time yet. There’s no way I’m going to rush my daughter into getting married when she’s still only in her twenties. Even if she were older, I still wouldn’t rush her. So there! Bye.”

With that the line went silent, and my dream of having my own cuddly grandchild in my arm very soon, began to evaporate. Frantically, I rang Heather to subtly find out if her relationship with Robert was still going strong.   He took the call. You can imagine the  relief that flooded me.

Tara.


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