My life changed in April 2011. I don’t remember the date or the week but I remember the month because it was the period I was going through the roughest patch of my life. I was completely broke, searching tirelessly for my NYSC place of primary assignment here in Abuja; I was also emotionally and spiritually conflicted. Every day was literally a struggle; I remember how eating two good meals was a huge accomplishment for us. My wardrobe needed changing, my shoes were worn out, and everything was held together by a tiny weary, breaking thread.
Imagine my shock when your mother told me she had important news for me. She was pregnant with you; it took me two hours to realize you were coming and one hour more to start fretting about how we were going to provide for you when things were not going well for us financially. Everything changed one month later, my life balanced out, I found Jesus again, money was back! And people were giving your mother cash from every corner, life was good my little man; I remember the first day I felt you kicking in your mother’s womb, it was magical. You were kicking so hard my heart leapt, you felt so real to me in that moment and I fell in love with you right there sitting with your mum smiling at ourselves because a miracle was coming into our lives.
My life changed; where there was a constant dull ache, gray areas with white and black, everything gradually became colourful! My life became so interesting because there was so much stuff happening with your mother I felt like I was stuck in some teen reality show. I was so excited to see you because I loved you even when I hadn’t touched you. My mantra became Pop! Baby! Pop! You made your grand entrance to this world exactly one year ago. The first time I held you in my arms is the single most unforgettable moment of my life.
I was filled with awe at how beautiful you were, my little precious cargo come to stay. All the worries I had in the past about the type of life we would be able to give you seemed trivial in that moment, the struggles to come unimportant. You were here, right in my arms and that was all that mattered.
I have watched you grow, watched you live;
I watched your eyes open to recognize shapes and figures at three months, watched you sit up at four months.
watched you become a playful chit-chat at five months.
watched you go from sleeping three hours at night to five hours, watched you eat your first morsel of semo from your uncle Okechukwu when you were six months, watched you when you started sucking your fingers at seven months,
watched you while you slept, watched you while you savour food, watch you when you laugh because I am willing to play rough with you and watched you when you cried because you woke up from a bad dream.
I love how you feel in my arms after your morning bath, I don’t mind changing your diapers because I feel like those are the moments I connect with you. I love to be there waking up at 2 am in the night because a bad dream is keeping you up, soothing you, reminding you that your mama and I are right there is the best feeling ever. I love when you are messy after a meal and laugh in child-like innocence because your stomach is full and your feet are bursting with energy to go play, I love you when you won’t let me take a nap in the afternoon because you are in the mood to be mischievous and I love that you never listen to me every time I shout at you; because even if I am so pissed at you, your cuteness won't let me stay mad at you for long.
You are growing up so fast my little man, sometimes I wish you could be our baby forever; but I am realistic enough to know that the laws of nature demand that you develop. So I take pictures to treasure the memories of you without clothes at five months, screaming like a banshee at three months, sucking your finger at seven months, sleeping at 11 months.
As you get older; I promise to always be there no matter how distant our paths be. I’ll be close to you, it doesn’t matter if I have six kids and an over bearing husband, you will always be my first love. I’ll be there for you; the first day you wear a school uniform and make your first real memorable friends
I’ll buy you all the collections of ‘Barney and Friends’ that I can lay my hands on since you’re always mumbling “I love you” in your sleep.
I’ll be there for you; to help you make sense of why ‘A’ is shaped like a triangle and ‘C’ like a half circle.
I’ll read ‘My Book of Bible Stories’ with you and laugh at some of the funny depictions of the great prophets of old.
I’ll be there when you start to learn the difference between right and wrong.
I’ll be there when any girl you have crushed on in primary 5 tells you she is not interested.
I’ll play Superman with you and let you take piggy rides on my back.
I’ll support you in whatever part you choose to take.
I’ll love you however life shapes you.
I’ll hold you when you need me because life gets hard.
I’ll whoop your ass when you go out of line.
I’ll make sure you love Manchester United, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.
We will have so much fun together; you, me, your mama, all those old ladies crushing on you
and your big uncle Okey who dotes on you like ice-cream and hot dog.
And I promise to always remind you just how much you are loved by all of us my little man.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.