– the funloving, but hardworking single parent
By Treena Kwenta
Hi Readers! Seb and I have been having some heated talks about plans for Heather and Robert’s wedding. Seb wants the traditional wedding done as soon as possible; maybe before Christmas. I disagree. I feel it’s too soon.
“I think there should be a decent length of time between our accepting to have Robert as a son-in-law, and this event. Wouldn’t the young man and his people think that we consider him such a good catch for Heather that we don’t want to lose him, but quickly marry her off to him?
We should be seen to be reluctant to let our daughter go. That would make them respect the family, and be eager to have Heather join their family as soon as possible. Let’s not make things too easy for them. I think I’m right, Seb.”
“Your thinking is archaic, Treena dear,” argued Seb. “I’m sorry to say that, because I know how eager you are to show that you are sophisticated and ‘with it’. In outfits, style, running the home and demeanour, yes, one can defer to you in those. But in the real hard issues of living, you’re two hundred years behind this present generation. The days for pretence in romantic relationships are fast receding.
Girls are bold enough to propose to any boy they fancy these days, and parents no longer feel obliged to give the impression that they are not in a haste to give out their daughters. Once you are convinced that a man is good for your daughter, go ahead and have the string of weddings take place. If you drag your feet, the young man may get impatient and go look for a wife elsewhere.”
“Has it come to that with regards to our daughter? God forbid! She’s worth a thousand Roberts! I’m fond of him and would want him for a son-in-law, but I don’t think Heather is finished if he leaves her.”
“I’m not talking about one leaving the other. I’m convinced they love each other enough to make a success of their marriage. You can’t be more difficult and choosey than I am in this matter, Treena dear. Once we’re convinced that Robert is okay for Heather, there should be no delay about the wedding; especially when the couple themselves are eager to tie the knot now. My suggestion is that the traditional wedding should take place before Christmas this year.”
“That’s on our doorstep already. Why the haste? Let’s wait until Easter time. That would give both families ample time to prepare for it.”
“No elaborate preparations are necessary. You can prepare for a traditional wedding within a week. It involves mainly arranging to buy things, and getting a caterer. We don’t need an event planner. Is the problem having enough time for the gals to go choose outfits? That shouldn’t take a life-time. Let’s play the civilized parents and let our daughter go to her own home without any stress to her would- be husband and his family. If we make shakara for them, they could maltreat Heather to get their own back.”
“If Robert really loves her, he shouldn’t allow that; leaving his wife at the mercy of his people. What loving husband does that?”
“You can’t say, Treena dear. Let’s have the traditional wedding the Saturday before Christmas. That’s a good time.”
I had to come down from my high horse and allow Seb have his way. Later, when I replayed our conversation, my argument sounded very weak. Who would I be trying to impress by dragging my feet about the ceremony? No-one. I don’t owe anyone an explanation about the length of time between our accepting Robert, and the time the couple gets married. Could it be that I was subconsciously trying to hold on to my daughter a little longer? For what purpose?
Seb was relieved that I had agreed to a date. Another problem then cropped after Robert told his parents. They want the traditional wedding held in Barbados in the West Indies, their home country where they’ve retired to. This is because they would want all members of their extended families to witness the event.
I smiled when Seb told me because I know how astonished he must have been at the ‘abomination’.
“So what was your response, Seb dear?” I asked him sweetly.
“Oh, I wanted to blow my top, but I had to calm down when I remembered that though they’re of our race, they’re not Africans. I explained to Robert that in Africa, the traditional wedding is the most important of all the wedding ceremonies, and it must take place in the bride’s family house in her hometown. I told him that though we live in Lagos, my hometown which is also my children’s home town, is Jos in Plateau State in the northern part of Nigeria. Milwan brought out a map of Nigeria and we pointed it out to him; explaining that my parents had migrated there from the neighbouring state, Benue.”
“Another decision you made, Seb dear, without asking the mother of the would-be bride. Don’t I matter?”
“Treena, please don’t let us quarrel over the obvious. I’m the bride’s father, for goodness’ sake. You’re aware of the tradition. Don’t try to wear the trousers here, my dear. You should know your place, madam. Ha! Ha!”
“Alright, Mr. Bully! So, we shall all be heading for Jos from all directions?”
“Of course. My only daughter cannot marry elsewhere. I mean, the traditional wedding has to take place there so that my parents can attend, and play their traditional role. The extended family for my children is more concentrated there.”
“True. But what about papa and mama who are in Accra? They were hoping that we would hold it there so that they can be present. Dad’s becoming frail now, so, I don’t think he can manage the journey to Jos from Accra, even if they come by air. The procedures at the airports wear them out fast and they get tired. Mum and Aunt Adeline may be able to cope a bit, but certainly not my dad. How do we resolve that?”
“I’ve had a conversation with mama and papa about that. They agreed that it has to hold in Jos, and in accordance with my people’s customs. Mama then suggested that the white wedding could hold in Accra, in their local church there, so that all the family members in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and of course Nigeria can be present.”
“I hope you agreed to that.”
“Well, I had to, even though my parents had already arranged for the white wedding to take place in their own local Catholic Church, in Jos. When I told them what mama suggested, they were willing to concede that to your family.”
“That’s great. So, what date for the white wedding?”
“Okay, after the traditional wedding, the registry wedding will take place wherever the couple decides. The date is left to them. As for the white wedding in Accra, it will be Easter Monday. I think that wraps up everything. For me, the most important one is the traditional one in Jos. It’s the couple’s choice to have a registry wedding. Left to me, they become man and wife at the traditional wedding and they can start living together.”
“What?” I screamed at Seb. “You forget that Heather is born-again. It would be a sin for her to live with Robert when she hasn’t taken her vows before her God. I hope you haven’t told Robert that they can start living together after the ceremony in Jos?”
“I haven’t. That’s left to them. I don’t think it is necessary for them to wait until the white wedding before they start to live as man and wife. They can do that after the registry wedding. After all, as Christians, they will take their vows there on the Bible., and before God. As Catholics we can always have the white wedding much later; sometimes after the kids are grown. The important thing is to remain in the faith, and bring up the children in it. “
“Hm. We shouldn’t let our suggestion make the couple compromise their beliefs. Let’s encourage them to wait until the white wedding before they start living together. That’s not so far off. “
“I know, but no-one knows when God will start releasing children to them, so the earlier they come together, the better.”
“Heavens, Seb dear! Are you in a haste to become a grandfather or what?”
“What’s wrong with that? Most of my age-mates are grandfathers. Don’t you want to become a grandmother? You’re the last of the gals to become one.”
“Touche! I thought you’ve always said we shouldn’t compare ourselves or our children to other people.”
“I know, but since our daughter is getting married soon, our desire should be to pray that she starts a family at once. Belinda already has six grandchildren from her first four children, and now she’s gone to Essex to see the baby her son Simon’s girlfriend has just had. “The couple live together and are not married, but Belinda didn’t mind when they said they were starting a family. “
“Oh really? Congratulations! But I would have thought that as she’s your fiancée, you would share her grand children with her, and play the role of a grandfather, to satisfy that urge to become a grandfather.”
“Don’t drivel. Belinda’s grandchildren can’t really satisfy me as much as the children my own children have, even though I may treat them as my family members. They are all aware who their real grandfathers are.”
“I’m sure they are. Kids are so smart these days. So, how’s the honeymoon going?” I asked suddenly.
“”You and Belinda’s.”
“ You listen to idle gossip. Do people have honeymoon without a wedding?”
“Well, it can take place before the wedding, in your own case.”
“I see. Treena dear, you’ll be the first to know when I want to re-marry. I owe you that; just like I expect to be the first to know when you decide to re-marry. Meanwhile let’s be watching each other.”
The guy can be frustrating, isn’t it?