The Mrs Club
Sunday, June 15, 2008 On Father's day...A love letter

I believe children are a gift.

My daughter is a gift. It’s like God saw inside my soul and sent me exactly what I needed to heal it. What am I saying? Of course He did. She is the best possible permutation of me and my husband at that particular moment, and when we have more children, should we be so blessed then they will be just as perfect…for…us.

How can I explain how my heart fills up, when she tells me “Mummy I love you” or pulls my hands saying, “come, dance like me”. This child filled with passion and who throws herself at life whether it be the pure joy of watching the white flakes of powder fall around the room as she shakes the container wildly or the simple pleasure of running in the grass in our backyard as she chases down a butterfly.

This child of mine

I could never have known that at two, she would mother me. Dry my tears, pick out my shoes and kiss my cheeks. She teaches me how to live, I summon up the courage to follow her. To demand simply and plaintively what I want and need. “Carry me like a baby please, I want to go to sleep”, “I need juice now…pleezeeee!”
To have and celebrate the ability to love without reservation or fear; I learn from her.

She doesn’t care that my blouse is streaked with stew, but she will often proffer fashion advice. Wear this one mummy, it’s Amarillo! Her favorite color, yellow, though she prefers the way it sounds in Spanish. Must be the way it feels in her mouth as she says it. Filling up every possible space and pushing out into the world.

This child of mine

This bridge between people; She reminds us of the best in ourselves. She has my husband’s laugh and my smile. I recognize the sparkle in her eye and though the way she frames it with a coy flutter of her lashes is hers alone, it’s familiar. I fell in love with her father when he looked at me that way. The way she reaches for me, unafraid of rejection. The way she walks into a room. Bold, sure, confident. The girl get liver. The way she can sense people’s needs and without hesitation meets them. “Aunty, hug me” then just as simply “you feeling better?” She has made me cry while laughing, she is so beautiful.

I long to see the world through her filter. Everything is brand new. Every question has an answer. A schoolbus is more special than a Mercedes. Filet Mignon ain’t got nothing on Mac and cheese and Okro soup is the truth. Singing is the new golfing and shaking your bombom beats shopping. Every morning brings unending possibilities “Come on, Mummy get up. Let’s go out!”

All children are a gift.
Let’s all find the grace to unwrap them.

Posted by Naija Babe :: 11:11 PM :: 14 comments

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008 This is for me. now. then. and for you incase you were wondering....

I wrote this in 2004...
I needed to read this today...
I am prone to this, seeking affirmation from others. Recently I have been in a position to receive wonderful words from people about my book, but juxtaposed against that is the fact that some things in my life just haven't been going as I would like. There are some voices I haven't heard positive things from and I won't lie ...sometimes its hard for me when that happens...hey I am a sensitive soul. This is very true...but I pulled this out from my archives to remind myself that I am a strong soul...and I recognize that not everyone who reads this may subscribe to my faith...but the principles are true for everyone.In any event I share this with you and as with everything I write...It is from my heart to yours.

The need for Affirmation

Recently I have begun to think about our need for affirmation; Affirmation
being defined as a positive declaration of truth, encouragement, terms of
endearment. Psychological experts tell us that whatever is wrong with us
today is as a result of something that was lacking or present in our
childhood. We were not hugged enough, or kissed enough or told I love you
enough. Surely there is some truth to the fact of a promiscuous daughter
being the result of an emotionally unavailable father, but I have to wonder
if that putting entirely too much focus on fellow human beings as affirmers
of our beings.

It is very important that a good parent affirm their child, using words of
encouragement and love. It builds up the child and bolsters the parent to
child relationship. It is also incredibly important that spouses affirm one
another, by doing this we can build loving and stable relationships. We are
here to help one another, love one another and affirmation is an outward
expression of love.

A lack of affirmation leads to wounded people walking around looking for
affirmation in the wrong places. Eating a whole tub of ice cream to feel better, turning to indiscriminate sex, consider Halle berry’s character in Monster’s ball when she implored, “Make me feel good”. When you don’t feel affirmed, you can
find yourself in some strange places, maybe sitting in the Oprah audience
just praying for her benign smile to fall on you, somehow feeling like that
will impact your life positively. I myself used to have fantasies of sitting
next to her on stage while she asked me how I became so fabulous. Then one
day, I started thinking, or should I say God started me thinking, whose
affirmation is more important? Is it that of my mom or dad, who while being
wonderful people are simply humans like me, prone to imperfection and
frailty as we, all are? Or my husband, who I adore but again is also human
and could fall prey to some common human tactlessness, or is it even Oprah,
who is wealthier than I can fathom, successful in the general term of the
word, seemingly generous and benevolent, with a Midas touch, and seemingly
spiritual, so therefore safe but whose heart and spiritual beliefs I truly
know nothing about.
The question remains, just whom should I be looking to for affirmation?

I once saw a book in the bookstore with a title that caught my eye, and it
was “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten”, well I never read
the book, but as I thought about this issue of affirmation, I realized that
everything I need to know I learned in Sunday school.

Who I am and who should affirm me is very simple. I may be a wife, a
daughter, a writer, a friend, I may even find success in many arenas of
life, but who I am is very simple. I am a child of the Most High God.
Nothing I am can compare to that. I am a daughter of THE KING.

Furthermore while I love it when my husband reaches out to me and says I
love you, you are beautiful and you make a slamming goat meat stew! While I
love hearing his words of affirmation, it may not always be enough. My
mother may touch my heart when she affirms me, and my father may bring tears
to my ears with a card that tells me I am good daughter but if I don’t get
that, or if it doesn’t feel like enough, I need not go from pillar to post
seeking affirmation.
I am already affirmed.

I learnt that in Sunday school, somehow I had forgotten this, but what we
must know, that is no matter who forsakes us, if your mother turns around
and hates you tomorrow, or your husband leaves you, or your friends turn against you or some other situation that I pray does not befall you or I by the grace of God, no matter what and no matter who doesn’t encourage us or even maligns us, we must remember, we are affirmed by God and that is simply amazing. Do not be fooled by the claims of the world that there is no God, or those claims that you alone can affirm you. It’s not enough for you to look in the mirror and say I am somebody.
Self-esteem is important but the ultimate self-esteem comes from knowing who
you are and who affirms you. If have difficulty remembering just how God has
affirmed you, just think about that song you sang as a kid in Sunday school.
“ Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…

My darlings, do not seek out affirmation in the world. It cannot affirm you.
Recognize affirmation from your loved ones as what it is, outward
expressions of their love and it is sweet and wonderful, but a lack of it
cannot break you. It is sweet, to know you are loved by fellow human beings,
but how much sweeter is it to know that you are loved by Christ Jesus. Who
loved you so much He died for your sins. What greater love is there than
this? How He adores us. He may not comment on my jollof rice, but His love
for me is unconditional, I feel it when I pray and I know it as surely as a
six year old knows that song! You are loved and affirmed by the One who
created the heavens and the earth.
God bless you.


Posted by Naija Babe :: 2:47 AM :: 6 comments

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Saturday, June 7, 2008 I'm in love...with a girl named Bassey...

I first heard of Bassey Ikpi about 8 years ago and I fell in love from the first moment I saw her hands move to the rhythm of her words. She spoke the words that my soul longed to say, but my heart was too unsure.
She stood on that stage, a petite amazon. Starting fires of passion, slicing through clouds to create clarity; Her armor gleamed. I wanted to fight on her side. I knew they would win.

Here is one of her pieces that I just love...I dedicate it to all of you. I've had a trying day and these words made me she said...There is no shame in tears...But I felt better and stronger afterwards...So Miss Bassey...It does help!

When you think it will help

Posted by Naija Babe :: 9:27 PM :: 4 comments

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Thursday, June 5, 2008 Testify

A little over 3 years ago, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, looked down at my hand and promised myself and God that I would testify.

Since then, I have…several times and each time it touches someone, tonight for some reason, I feel called upon to share this story, one more time.

When my husband and I knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, the only thing we wanted as much as being together was the gift of a child.

When I got pregnant, shortly after we were married, we were happy, well he was happy, I was ecstatic. I immediately called the doctor. I was a little exasperated when the receptionist told me very matter-of-factly that it would be six weeks before she could fit me in. I stared at the phone, perhaps she had not heard me right. I was with child. Surely I was more important than all those pap smears and whatever else. Nonetheless I was to wait six weeks.

The day of my appointment, my husband was very busy with a project. “I can stop and come with you” he offered but I could see he was at a fever pitch. “No need, I said, they said it’s just a routine confirmation, you can come when I go to see the heartbeat” I knew what to expect thanks to Google. Satisfied, he turned back to his computer.

At the office, it was all routine. Pee here, arm here, feet in these stirrups. The doctor hemmed and hawed, her bedside manner left much to be desired. Finally she asked me to get dressed and come into her office.

She had some concerns. My Hcg level wasn’t where it should have been. She wanted me to do an ultrasound right away. I called my husband while I waited. As I waited. I felt something. They called me for the ultrasound; more hemming and hawing. My husband decided to come anyway. While I waited, I started to bleed. The doctor said the baby was gone. Just like that. By the time my husband arrived I was a mess, literally and emotionally. He took me home.

I blamed the doctor. “She must have done something wrong I said, but deep down inside I blamed myself.

I conceived again less than a year later. I looked at the test blankly. My husband looked at it, it had two lines. “You are pregnant” he said. I said nothing. He took me in his arms. What if it happens again. He held me tight. It won’t.
I insisted on seeing the doctor immediately. A new doctor. Drove an hour out of my way. They said she was the best.
“Well, Congratulations” she said, smiling. I wasn’t. “Aren’t you happy?” She asked. “Cautiously optimistic” I replied. “Don’t worry” she patted my hand. Women miscarry all the time and go on to have perfectly healthy babies. I knew that already. I read it on Google. Everything looks good.
A month passed, then two weeks more. 7 weeks. “Don’t tell anyone” I told my husband. He did anyway. “It’ll be fine, don’t worry”.
4 more weeks. Almost 3 months. Another scheduled ultrasound. My husband missed the first, he was out of town I think. This time, he got ready and we drove together, he stroked my hand as he maneuvered in and out of traffic.

I put my feet up, this time I had done my nails. It would be like the movies. I was excited to show him the heartbeat. I had seen it the first time. The tech was very chatty.
She came in again, smiled and joked. “Now, this will be a little cold” she said. Pish, posh, I thought, bring it on!

Then she turned the screen away and got very silent. “Can we see” I asked. She said it wasn’t hospital policy. She would get a doctor for us. She left the room. My heart fluttered, I wished I could hold it still. My husband held my hand but his face was a mask. “Something is wrong” I said. “Don’t worry” He responded.

She still didn’t come.

“Something is wrong” I said again, my stomach had started lurching to join my heart.
“Don’t worry” He said. “Stop it. You always worry.” He was a little sharp.
“I am not worrying, I know”.

My doctor called us to her office.

“I’m sorry” She said. I didn’t hear anything else.
These things happen. There isn’t a heartbeat anymore. I can schedule a D&C when you’re ready.
I thought I was being very stoic. I only realized I was weeping when my husband wiped my tears. He held me close for a while. The doctor left the room, “Stay as long as you need” she said. We walked out through the waiting room. A woman smiled at me uncomfortably as she shifted in her chair to accommodate her very obvious pregnancy. I put on my sunglasses.

The whole ride home. I cried. Then I decided not to do a D&C. Maybe the doctor was wrong I thought. I prayed. She was not, I had to leave work early the day it happened. I could barely drive home because of the pain.

I thought I couldn’t go through it again. In fact I didn’t want to go through it again, but after a while the pain dulled and I became ready to try again. Nothing happened. For a year. Nothing. Finally I made an appointment with yet another doctor.
She was a sistah doctor…She made me feel at ease with her girlfriend! manner. I told her nothing was happening. She looked at my chart and then she looked at me. Are you having sex? She asked. Uh yeah, which is why I would have expectations, I responded. She laughed, “believe me it is not a strange question”. I laughed. “Look, it will happen and it’s too soon to worry anyway, let’s give it another six months ok” I nodded. Girlfriend! I trusted her.
My period was due two days later. It never came. Two weeks later, I still hadn’t checked. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to get my hopes up. I bought a test. It showed up immediately. I was pregnant.
The fears and doubts came flooding in. I held up my hand. No! not this time.
I walked to my bed and I knelt down and I told God, that this time I would testify, I would tell people how He had given me a gift. I would pray this baby through if I had to. I spent the next hour praising God and thanking Him. I would testify, I determined. Then I called my husband.
I gave birth to Sina in 2005. She is a perfect child and I testify as often as I have an audience.

I write this not to expose myself but to tell you to hold on. Hold on to your faith, hold on to your hope. Hold on. Even in the midst of what seems like the end, hold on. Know that what seems impossible can be possible. Know that there is a God. You may or may not believe this. Maybe you think religion is the opium of the masses, well be that as it may. I know that I have been blessed and that the well has not run dry. He who blessed me can bless you.

I don’t know what you are weeping for. I don’t know what you are longing for. I just know this, keep holding on…and when it comes. Testify.

Posted by Naija Babe :: 12:45 AM :: 12 comments

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008 Of course...The SATC post

Ok so I was desperate to watch Sex and the City and by and large it didn’t disappoint.
There were some things I took issue with but the stellar moments made up for them.

Never underestimate the power of connection. Yes, the critics have had a field day discussing how shallow the characters are and how unbelievable their world is juxtaposed against rising gas prices and the mortgage crisis. Nonetheless women all over the US turned out for sex and the city and cheered when the theme music came on. Why? No, it’s not because women are fundamentally shallow, but because for all the in your face fashion and over the top love stories, SATC is a story about girlfriends and how your connection to other human beings keeps you sane.
Women connect to SATC for a myriad of reasons. I connect to it because they are so human, it is even a little annoying. Carrie with her drawn out, almost high schoolish relationship with the resident bad boy, Big. In truth, he will probably hurt her in big and little ways throughout the course of their relationship and she has decided to take it, not just because she believes he loves her, but because she knows she loves him and is prepared to take him as he is, the good with the bad.
If I may digress her for just a minute. I just read an interesting post on facebook that of course essentially begged the question, why do women stay when their man strayed? It was a hot topic. Many women responded, well I would kick him to the curb, others well…you know the children…and still others gave economic reasons etc. I think part of the truth is that some women simply stay because they love him and they hope for and maybe work towards a change. Somehow when a woman says I love him, it is perceived as weak and sniveling somehow, when like it or not, she is exercising her right to make a choice. So when I watched SATC, the shows as well as the movie, I found myself smiling and giving Carrie props for at least owning her choice. No need to justify it, no need to apologize for it. I love the big old selfish man just as he is.
Miranda irritates me with her difficult self and I used to think Charlotte was too marshmallowy to be real, all fluff and no substance but I think the movie gives her slightly more dimension and watching her I finally had insight to a woman I know in real life, who I used to think was very marshmallowy as well.
Samantha, what can I say, well Samantha’s story arc was the only one I wasn’t really feeling…because it didn’t ring true to me. Very few women feel fabulous a hundred and one percent of the time and at that, she clocked 50 and looked old on screen so I felt even momentary angst about eye sag or the odd wrinkle would have been more real, instead the producers botoxed up her emotions, leaving very little evidence of a real 50 year old’s emotions.

All in all. I love SATC. Always have, always will, have the box set, won’t mind getting another one. Maybe one day, we can have a Mrs Club movie and it will be just as visually appealing if slightly more in depth!

Posted by Naija Babe :: 12:27 PM :: 2 comments

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