I am glad you are here. I am as surprised as you are at this. As I am sure some wicked people have already told you, I wasn’t expecting you. Actually? I didn’t even want you. But don’t hold this against me okay? Listen, you know how you did not want to go to school that first day and cried and cried, but look how much you have come to love school and have made so many friends and your teachers adore you? Sometimes, you get what you don’t want but you come to realise it is the best thing ever. So yeah, mummy didn’t want you. But mummy can be wrong. And mummy says sorry, and she loves you now, and wants you now. And look how we are having the time of our lives.
I will not lie to you. I hated you that first day. Okay, “hated” is strong—resented then. That first week. That first month. Hell, that first year. First, you stayed in me and wouldn’t come out and I was in such discomfort. Then you came and I realised that there had been a great conspiracy to deceive all the women who have never had children, and your mother, silly her, was fooled. All my friends, all the women I ever asked told me it hurt a little and after you popped out, the pain disappeared. They lied. It hurt and hurt and hurt and my insides felt like they were being ripped out. Then you came. But the pain did not disappear. It felt like when someone who has haemorrhoids shits. True, the weight pressing down has passed but the pain is still there. I had a tear and I limped for days. I had to sit on hot water, wash with hot water, drink hot water. I hate hot water.
Then the breast milk wouldn’t come at first and you screamed and screamed and screamed and my head banged and I wanted to smother you. And you, you looked like a little pink monkey. You were ugly and don’t let anybody tell you different. Your face all scrunched up and your head an odd shape and you wouldn’t stop staring at me like you knew I had brought you somewhere bad. Indeed I had, as some research labelled Nigeria the worst place on earth to be born in 2013. Oh well, here you are.
Finally, the breast milk comes but you no longer wanted to eat. Have you seen a cow that the farmer forgot to, or was unable to milk? My breasts were engorged and I thought the skin would burst like the lady in “One Thousand Ways to Die”. Please suck I begged and you wouldn’t. I ignored you and cried. When you decided you were hungry, it was another kind of torture. My nipples caught fire and as you sucked, I cried and slapped my thigh. I suppose this was a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Then you got sick. I cried every time the nurses had to poke needles through your near-transparent skin to take your blood. This particular nurse was incompetent, she poked and poked and in the end, I grabbed you and cursed her and went back to the room. I was ready for you to die than watch you go through that.
I am not sure the exact moment when the resentment began to slip away, replaced by tenderness slowly seeping in through my pores, capillaries, veins, arteries to my very core. Or perhaps it flowed outwards from the heart—these things confuse your mama. If I were quartered and drawn, I could not say the moment when I forgave you the pain, the weight gain—hey, you know your mummy is vain, don’t look surprised. I am not sure when I forgave you the screaming and shrieking and sleepless nights. I am not sure when the ice started to thaw, and heat slowly in a cauldron—the cauldron your trusting gaze as you looked at me through lashes wet with tears; the cauldron as you sucked at my breast and I felt an answering tug in my heart; the cauldron as I read the papers and vowed to shield you from the violence without; the cauldron, your lips, as they formed the word “mummy” that first time and every time after.
Anyway, we managed you and me and like I said, here we are.
Now, I want you to know something. I love you. I carry you in my heart and in my spirit and everything I do, I have your best interests at heart. You will need to remember this because there are tough days ahead. When I say jump, you will jump. When I say go to your room and stay there, I mean it. When I say you cannot watch TV, mummy knows best. When I say that boy or girl is not good for you, by god you will stop seeing his/her ass. When I say no loud makeup and crazy-weird piercings, you are not a building or stud farm, you will listen.
And mummy is a writer. She will lock herself in her room for hours and even days and you will chant like a mantra “mummy loves me”. She will take off at a moment’s notice. She will live inside herself and assume strange mannerisms and voices, you will understand that she is being her characters.
Now, because mummy loves you and is trying to get you a daddy, as your own daddy was a scum of the earth bastard (nod vigorously), you will always say in front of mummy’s gentlemen friends that mummy is a terrific cook, a wonderful mum and a fantastic human being. You won’t be lying. She is, isn’t she? (Nod vigorously).
Now about boys, or maybe it is girls—it’s all the same to me— there’s so much to say on this but mummy has the final say. You bring him or her over, I give you a thumbs up or thumbs down, you hear me? And do not abuse your body, you are special, and do not let anyone tell you what to do, except mummy of course (nod vigorously). If you want to fuck him or her, let it be for only one reason, because you want to. Not because he or she made you feel bad, or promised you security, or asked you to prove your love to them thereby, or because you are afraid of losing them—that shit don’t fly and I will slap your face. Do it because you own you. I own you too of course. You alone are responsible for your happiness. You and me.
You will train in all the martial arts I can think up, you will be a weapon, you must be able to defend yourself in every situation. Mummy will get her gentleman friend on the police force to get you Tasers and pepper spray. You will be just fine.