As I write this, I am in solitary confinement; Bed rest!!!
I am very dramatic. I don’t know why I am not in Nollywood. I arrive Nigeria in style courtesy of my friends at Virgin Atlantic and then I land in hospital. I get discharged eventually, but not acquitted. “Let me out, I need to go back to work,” I begged. But my plea falls on deaf ears. “Without work, I am dead,” I plead. “Without rest, you’re dead,” I am reminded. Sigh! They are right. Bodi no bi wood.
I have spent the last hour trying to bribe Segun, our Head of Creative to bbm me the April photos of Genny; “Let me just take a peek,” and he stubbornly refuses, reminding me that I am on leave. Am I not supposed to be the ‘oga at the top?’ Obviously not!
Defeated, I take the rest. See you on the other side of rest…Whenever!!!
For now, I am a feather in the wind. I go where He directs. It’s a good time to reflect…
After my daughter’s graduation a couple of years ago, I thought the natural sequence of events would start with her relocation home, joining us at Genevieve and unleashing all her inner craft and brilliance on the brand. I had anticipated that moment so much that I could see it in full technicolour. I was desperate to have a succession plan commence. Everyone always said I was too hands on and needed to take a chill pill, so I thought that was my opportunity to do just that; it was perfect! Having her on board, as editor was the inevitable next step, RIGHT? Well, I may have jumped the gun a bit there.
“Mum, you can’t pin this on me!” She said firmly, but politely.
“Excuse me!” I went through different stages of emotions that began with shock and ended in RAGE!
I finally managed to say something like: “I thought the plan was to return home and…” (was there really such plan? Really?)I felt let down. How can she stay back in the UK when Genevieve was waiting for her back home?
“Mum…,” she said helplessly, “we never discussed my plans post graduation. You just assumed…,” she said miserably. “Mum, I am young and I want to explore all my options and the opportunities I have in front of me. I have not decided what I want to do, career-wise. I love you mum and I think you have done a great job with Genevieve and there’s more creativity where all this is coming from; Genevieve is your baby and I would like to be a part of it but not just yet. I want to work, build my skills; I don’t want to just be handed this without earning it.”
I could see and feel her anxiety but I didn’t care; instead I tried to deploy emotional blackmail to get my way. I wanted to remind her about all the sacrifices I had made on her account as a mother but changed my mind. (I almost reminded her how I waited six years for her birth. I was desperate enough to have tried that line!).
I was sad, sad and miserable; my plan that she would graduate and join me to run Genevieve just went up in smoke. I had it all planned (I thought) but my cute dream of succession was crashing before my eyes like a pack of cards and I could do absolutely nothing about it. If she were younger I would have ordered her back home but at 21, she was no longer that child that believed that everything that came out mum’s mouth was gold. She was her own woman with every right to her own decision and life. I needed to respect that. It was wrong of me to make an assumption of such epic proportions. Genevieve was my dream, not hers, she had a point but I sulked. Oh I sulked!
You can’t pin Genevieve on me mum? That girl has the nerve, I complained to my husband on the phone after I’d literally accused him of being in the know about her staying back in the UK. “How could she do that to me?” I fumed.
I survived the blow and learnt to live and let live. It was best to let her be, I rationalised. Then a year went by, and I felt her slowly easing into a role in Genevieve, often giving constructive criticism on our stories, covers, and very occasionally, writing articles. And on impulse I sent her a bbm asking; “How would you like to come on board Genevieve as Assistant Editor-UK Correspondent?”
I held my breath, closed my eyes and waited. God, please! It was a prayer. I couldn’t take another rejection.
“YYYYAAAAAAYYYY… Yes mum, of course!” It read.
YESSSS! I echoed slicing my elbow into thin air in that jubilant way that winners do.
And here we are. I learnt the hard way that as a parent, there will come a time when you must let your child fly, make their own mistakes, discover their own calling. You hope that at some point, it leads them back to you and hope that their dreams, in some way, are your dreams for them. In this case, I am happy to say, it did.
Mother doesn’t always know best.
It takes Grace.