On occasions when I remember my parents, I wonder if they will ever meet again. Don’t get me wrong: it is only wishful thinking on my part. Nevertheless, I want them to meet again in the afterlife because I felt that they got along so well during their lives here on Earth.
I was one of those children who, from a distance, read the relationship dance between my parents. From what I saw, as flawed as it might be when children try to read parental emotions and gestures, I could confidently say that my mother loved and respected my dad. For example, day after day, she made sure that his food was prepared and set on his private dining table located in a small-sized dining room wedged between his bedroom and the family living room.
She serve his dinner the way he liked it and at the time he loved to eat, with water for washing in a basin set on one corner of the table and a white towel to dry his wet hands placed nearby.
I also believe that my parents’ relationship worked so well because my father gave my mother the space to be herself and do her things, including having her own business enterprise and helping and financing whosoever she wanted to help. My mother once told me that this liberal behavior was a big deal for a Nigerian Igbo man like my father.
As husband and wife, my parents complemented one another. But as individuals, they differed in their way of life. Their individual differences influenced how they dealt, interacted, and dialogued with people. While my mother did not like to give people space and would go toe-to-toe with anyone, my father had the habit of letting people carry on and say what was on their minds before he countered them.
Sentence by sentence, my mother would stay with an interlocutor throughout a discussion until an outcome. She checked you at every turn and corner during a dialogue. “Stop there,” she would say during a conversation. “Repeat what you said again.” She likely felt that if she failed to match an interlocutor with an immediate reaction, they might weave a web of tricks that would be more challenging to undo, or they could dig a hole of misdeeds too egregious to allow any redemption.
“Wait, let me answer you,” my mother would say when an interlocutor made the first point. She would insist that you waited until she threw in her retort. Back and forth retort was her method. To her, there was no need to wait and listen for people to spew out their hatred or misinformation. Perhaps this was her way of landing a conversation safely. My mother’s way of dealing with dialogue and situations could be because of the lessons learned in raising ten children where immediate adjudication was required.
On the other hand, my father, I believe, often seemed to know where an interlocutor was going and waited for them to conclude. “My friend,” he would ask an interlocutor, “have you finished?” Then, counting with his fingers, he would pick apart a narrative, one sentence after another, “This is where I disagree with you.”
Give a guy enough room and the truth would come out clearly, and that seemed to be my father’s way of handling day-to-day human relationship situations. Interruption makes people weave around the facts. I hardly remember him interrupting a narrative when he listened to grownups. Being outsmarted was never a consideration for my father. He had a sense of where people were going with their narratives and waited for them. His speeches were measured and precise. No confusion. One always knows where he stood.
Though my parents have joined their ancestors, I still refer to their spiritual beings and individual strengths in my daily life and relationship activities.
Dr. Anselm chibuike Anyoha is the Author of:
Please contribute to a nonprofit organization that caters to seniors: https://eldershelpinghands.org/donation/