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Archive for the tag “mother-in-law”

The unwelcome guest Part two

Click here to read part one.

“Tari. Tari, wake up!” I jerked awake as Ade shook me vigorously.

“What’s the matter?” I scrunched my eyes, lifting my hand to shield them from the brightness of the lights which Ade had turned on.

“Didn’t you hear the banging? It sounds like someone is about to break down our front door.” He asked as he threw on some clothes, peering out the window to see who it might be.

“I didn’t hear anything, I was fast asleep.” It was a wonder I’d managed to hear my babies cry for their middle-of-the-night feeds as I am such a deep sleeper.

The thumping on the door was persistent and whoever it was wasn’t planning on leaving any time soon.

“Come on, don’t just lie there. Let’s go and see who it is before they wake the children.” Ade said as he headed out of the bedroom.

I looked at my phone and it was 4.30am. I shrugged into my dressing gown and followed him.

Ade opened the door and there were a couple of police officers and some other individuals, two of whom produced ID cards and stated they were from the UK Visa and Immigration service.

“Does a Mrs Adi…ronki Ibi…topi Oso…Ososanya live at this address?” One of the V&I officials asked Ade as he struggled to pronounce the name.

“Mrs Aderonke Ibitope Oshosanya is my mother who’s visiting us, yes.” Ade replied looking puzzled.

“Is she home? May we see her?” asked the second official.

“Might I ask what you want with her? She’s my mother.” I could see Ade was getting a bit defensive.

“We have a few questions to ask her, that’s all.”

Ade was about to argue so I put my hand on his arm and smiled at the officials. “Would you like to come inside, we’re letting a draft in. Ade, please show them in, I’ll get Mama.”

I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face as I walked up the stairs but I rearranged my features into a slightly troubled look as I knocked on the guest room door and called out to Mama, keeping my voice low so as not to wake the children.

“Ehen!  What’s the matter?” Mama said from inside the room.

I opened the door, poked my head in and said, “Mama, there are some people downstairs waiting to see you.”

“Which people is that? At this time of the morning?” Mama was not usually one for subject-verb agreement especially not when she’d just been woken up by her least favourite person.

“Mama, I don’t know but they are adamant they must see you. Ade is with them at the moment.” I replied, feigning ignorance.

I waited on the landing for a few minutes till Mama finally made an appearance with a chewing stick in her mouth. I let her go down the stairs first.

As we entered the living room, everyone was standing.  The silence was deafening. I broke it.

“Gentlemen, this is Mrs Aderonke Ibitope Oshosanya. Please state your business with her.”

“Mrs Oshosanya, you are under arrest for breaching the terms of your visit visa and are liable to detention and administrative removal under section 10 of the 1999 act.”

“Ehn! What are you saying? Ah! Iro leshu pa! The devil is a liar oh!” The chewing stick fell out of her mouth. Mama pulled the scarf off her head and threw her hands up in the air as if in supplication.

As one of the police officers moved towards Mama with a pair of handcuffs, Ade stepped in front of Mama.

“Wait a minute, officer, there’s been a mix-up. This is a misunderstanding.” He had to raise his voice over Mama’s as she’d started to wail.

“Sir, please move or I’ll have to arrest you for obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting a criminal.

“Me? A criminal? Ye pa! Mo gbe o! Oh, I’m dead! I’m finished!” Mama sobbed as she held on to Ade.

“Don’t worry, Mama. We’ll have this all straightened out soon. Please stop crying.” Ade tried to console her as the police officer cuffed and led her away.

I had to run upstairs to pick up the baby who was now crying having been woken up by the commotion downstairs so I missed seeing Mama being taken away.

I came downstairs with the baby to find Ade on the phone to a lawyer friend of his. From his side of the conversation, I could make out that his friend asked him if he knew where Mama was being taken and if the officials had said exactly what they intended to do to her. Ade replied in the negative. He got off the phone after a few minutes.

“What did he say? What do we need to do?” I asked.

“He says that if she has overstayed her visa but is willing to leave the country on her own, she could avoid detention. Please book a ticket back for tomorrow; I’ve got to go to the police station.”

“Are you sure we shouldn’t wait till you speak to the immigration officers first? They might be willing to extend her visa and let her stay on.” I said, trying to calm my agitated husband.

“ “Let her stay on”? Didn’t you hear what they said? She’ll be lucky if they let her leave on her own rather than deport her! And worse still, she won’t be allowed back into the country for at least five years. Look, just book that ticket! I’m going to get dressed.”

As Ade left, I smiled into my baby’s shoulder and did a little jig around the room. I inhaled the sweet air of victory. Ha! Revenge is a dish best served cold, I thought. That’ll teach Mama never to mess with me again!

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The unwelcome guest

Here’s the first part of what started out as a short story but may go on just a bit longer.

“This is a waste of time,” my husband’s mother said, as my unimpressed 7 month-old daughter spat out the butternut squash and potato puree I spooned into her mouth.

Jo, give her some amala and ewedu instead of this concoction.”

I almost retched at the thought of feeding my child the thick brown paste made from blended yam skins and the accompanying thick slimy green sauce. I silently counted to ten while trying to steady my breath.

“She usually likes this combination; she must be having an off day,” I replied evenly, wiping my baby’s chin with a wet dishcloth.

“’Off day’ ko, ‘off day’ ni,” she cackled, kissing her teeth in disapproval. “The child does not like this oyinbo, western food. I fed all my six children amala from 3 months and I never had a problem feeding them.”

“I’ll just give her some fromage frais for now, we’ll try again later, won’t we now, Munchkin?” I replied, tickling my little girl’s feet and delighting in her giggles.

“Fromage -kini? What is that one again? Another concoction she will spit out? No wonder she is all skin and bones, when you won’t feed her something she can eat.”

I stood in front of the fridge holding the door ajar a few seconds longer than needed to grab a pot of yogurt, gritting my teething while letting the cold air soothe my frayed nerves.

My mother-in-law is consistent. She seems to take perverse pleasure in putting down everything I did but never in Ade’s presence.  She would only drop subtle hints when he was there. Ade never picked up on the hints.

I was tired of her constant put-downs. I couldn’t do anything right, she criticised pretty much everything I did. Even when I did exactly as she insinuated, she would still have something nasty to say about it. If it wasn’t what I was feeding the children, then it was the way I kept home or the fact that I was a stay-at-home mum.

“I was back on the plantation two weeks after having each of my six children. I used to carry them on my back with rappa, wrapper.  What is with it you young women nowadays? You don’t want to work and help your husband with the upkeep of the home. You are so lazy!”

Why didn’t she take it up with her son? She wouldn’t dare challenge his opinion instead she took it out on me as soon as he went to work and then would be all sweetness and light whenever he was home.

On the other hand, her son was a saint. He could do no wrong. I tried my best to make sure we didn’t argue in her presence because if we ever disagreed, she would blindly take his side.

“It’s a pity you have little or no influence with your husband.” She’d said to me time and time again, gloating over the fact that I couldn’t sway Ade to my way of seeing things while she could. It was like we were in competition for his affection and attention and she seemed to be winning.

I couldn’t live like this much longer. She was driving a wedge between us unfortunately Ade couldn’t see it. He would jump to her defence if I so much as alluded to her being wrong saying she wasn’t the person I accused her of being after all he’d known her to be loving and caring all his life. I guess that was a side of her personality reserved for her precious son only.

He would say “Sweetheart, be patient with her. You married her only son and she is just having a hard time adjusting to not being the only woman in my life but she means well.”

‘Hard time’, I’d think, ‘I’m the one having a hard time but you’re too blinded by your loyalties to her to see.’

I tried! Oh God knows I tried to be patient but the woman would try the patience of Saint Peter himself!

Why did I bother trying to be kind to her? At best, she would ignore me, at worst, she would rain down insults on me and my ancestors, cursing the day her son married me. The woman paid lip-service to any form of civility with me and that was only when her son was about.

What had started out as a 2-month visit had now extended to an indefinite stay and with no plans to leave anytime soon, she’d been here for 9 months!

Ade would never ask her to leave. He was enjoying having her around. Whenever I broached the subject of her departure, he would tell me she was lonely and missing his dad who died a few years ago. It was up to me to get her out and fast too. So I’ve been thinking long and hard and I think I’ve come up with a really cunning plan, even if I do say so myself. We’ll just have to see how this pans out.

To be continued.

Thanks for stopping by and tara for now

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