Every week since I have been back, my good friend E has called me thanks to her understanding that I have only 200 free minutes and she has like a gazillion. We usually spend about two hours catching up on the week’s events, and spend about 30 minutes of those talking about our respective smothers. Although they believe to be perfect in every way, they missed the boat on taking the time out to actually understand your child, but rather prefer to have mini me’s who if not in line with their values (going to church every Sunday, passing judgement on everyone etc..), they prefer to use the guilt trip. My friend made a poignant point that, unlike our caucasion counterparts, because our parents moved to this country when they were very young and didn’t have their mother’s to tell them what not to do, they obviously did everything right, therefore, we as their offspring must follow their same formula. My smother, well she bought a house, put all her children through university, worked in a very respectable profession before running a business for 20 years and even her step child is doing well. Therefore, why shouldn’t be Mary Poppins, perfect in every way.
Anyway, I digress slightly, what I wanted to do with you guys is play a game of “have your parents ever”. I am going to pose a few questions, I am sure that your parents have said/done same, but I will go on to give you my examples and you can decide whether my smother is better/worse than yours.
I will start with a few easy ones. Firstly, has your parents ever pee’d you off knowing that what they are about to say or do is going to get your goat.
The answer is almost invariably yes. What smother usually does is start off with “don’t get angry but…”, that means that she is going to say something which is going to get me annoyed, usually repeating something that she said before or something that is probably quite obvious, but of course she feels that coming from her is going to change my circumstances. In the event that she forgot to start her sentence with “don’t get angry…” she will then end her spiel with “I only tell you this because I care, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t say anything”. These will be simple things like “have you had a bath today” or “all jobs now are advertised on the internet”, I could go on but I have to take to into consideration my word count.
These are petty little things but after almost 38 years of it, it gets tiresome. My father, he also has his moments. Although I can contain my emotions somewhat with him, I do have to bite my tongue. For example, my father is the unofficial food monitor in my house. I remember, I have to admit, there was a time when I just ate. I was 5ft 4 and almost 70 kilos because I would eat a lot of street food and then top up with whatever had been cooked at home. My father always used to comment on my eating habits, and one day I changed them which resulted in a 13 kilo deficit. Now however, he feels that he has to remind me to eat. He can call me literally three times a day, each time he will ask “have you eaten” as if, if he doesn’t call I may well forget. Like seriously.
Have your parents used you to get back at the other.
Now I don’t mean, parents are divorced and going through a bitter custody battle or trying to use their time with you as a bargaining tool. I mean, parents live in the same house, sleep in the same bed but smother wants attention, and used you to get that. I remember one time, dad wasn’t giving her attention so she decided she will go out randomly, usually just to the local town centre. Then one day she tells me, “if your father asks, imply that I am having an affair”. I really wish I was joking but that’s exactly what she said to me. All I could do at that point was stare, unfortunately for her, my dad never asked and the weather was cold so it was a colossal waste of time and she gave up. For someone who is so great at communicating with her children, I don’t know why she can’t use that same energy for her husband (actually on second thoughts, he stopped listening to her years ago).
Have your parents ever bragged about what they do for you
I used to go out on a Saturday, not very far, the same town centre where smother was having her imaginary affair, well for some reason they thought that I wasn’t studying and asked my godfather to talk to me. He sat me down and relayed what they had said, I was confused, but was hit with double confusion when he told me that he doesn’t give his children pocket money, they have to do chores first so I should save mine, buckle down and I would have all the time in the world to have fun when I had finished my exams. Now first of all, I did my chores for free, I had money for a burger on a Saturday because I would spend my lunchtimes in the library, so what were these people talking about. But, what could I say, if that’s how they saw it, then it must have been the truth.
Have your parents ever set you up on a blind date.
My dad, God bless him, is not the parent that gives pressure over marriage. When people ask why we are not married yet, he will say “when it is God’s time”. As much as I love him though, he is rather passive aggressive and I believe that he has a seat reserved right next to the Father so has deemed himself fit to do his will here on earth. He seems to think that I have imaginary friends so is trying to push some random guy onto me, it is either that or after the last guy feels that he is better qualified to finding me a suitor. A friend, who he told me, is a good Christian guy, is studying Oil and Gas at university and is an all-round good guy. However, according to law, this young man should by rights be on his way back to Ghana once he has finished studying, also, my dad spent a few years trying to set this guy up with my younger sister. I am not sure how much he wants us to get married as opposed to having this guy in the family but from the other side of the world, he has passed this guy’s number onto me. Awkward.
I have a feeling that the longer I stay, the more stories I will have to tell, I may even turn this into a series. Parents, well they believe they know what’s best and as they say, they do it because they care. So I sit here quietly and take whatever else they have to hit me with it, and try not to get screwed up more than I am already.