A difficult choice

Yesterday I recalled a conversation that my dad and I had last week. Although our relationship was strained during my adolescent years, I’m happy that we were able to grow closer as I moved into adulthood. As I recollected my relationship with my dad, I couldn’t help but think about how things were with my mom.

My relationship with my mother was a lot better than what I had with my father. I’m sure if someone was on the outside looking in they would think that I was a momma’s boy (my brother’s included) but that was hardly the case. I believe that I’m my parent’s favorite child though. As I got older (college mostly) my relationship with my mother began to become strained. This was mostly due to the man she was dating after my parents got divorced (they eventually got married and divorced). Although I was only 20 I felt I was in a position to offer my mother my advice about what was best for her life. That didn’t work out to well and culminated with us falling out and not speaking for close to nine months.

So I have had periods of time in my life where I’ve fallen out with both of my parents. In spite of this I’m glad I was reared in a two-parent household. My childhood left a lot to be desired but my parents did the best they could and provided a life for me that was better than a lot. For some reason I was thinking what if I did grow up in a one-parent home. If I had to go back in time and pick one of my parents which one would i choose.

My dad taught me how to change a tire, wash a car, the meaning of responsibility and respect and he had little intricacies that only a man has when it involves teaching a boy how to be a man. Although I wished for a long time that my dad was more into sports (as most Nigerians he only cared about soccer) because I would have gotten into sports sooner. I didn’t start getting into organized sports until my freshman year of high school. My dad was also a philanderer which is something that I was conscious of growing up.

My mom also taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice. She dropped out or college to raise my brothers and I. She never returned. In Nigeria she was a nurse making a good living but she saw better opportunities here for her future children. My mom taught me how to clean, do my own laundry and cook at a young age so that I would never “have to depend on a woman to take care of me.” I think it was my mother more than my dad who taught who taught me how to be a gentleman. As nice and gentle as my mother is she is also very stubborn and vindictive. This sometimes came across in relations to her children as evidenced by the rift her and my sister had which consummated in them not speaking a single word to each other for four years. Now they’re the best of friends. I think I get my ability to easily cut people off from her.

Both of my parents instilled great qualities in me but they both at times were terrible role models. They’re not perfect but they are my parents and they did the very best job they could. Looking back if my parents reared me separately I might not be the complete person I am today. Not to say that I’m perfect in any stretch of the imagination but I may be lacking in certain personality quirks that make me who I am today.

So in retrospect I don’t know if I could decide between either one of my parents. They made me who I am today, the good and the bad.


9 thoughts on “A difficult choice

  1. miette

    This is really insightful! I see many parallels between your teenage-young adult life and mine, with the exception that I didn’t have a falling-out with my mother at all since she’s my best friend really. I’m not close to my father at all, and sometimes it feels like I don’t exist to him as nepotism is rampant in my family to the point where my siblings and I slightly dislike each other. I just feel that no matter what I do I’ll not be very good enough for any-one, but oh well. -_-

    I’m still learning much about myself and know what I want and how to get it and all, but mostly that sacrifice and observing humility is very important if one wishes to be their most best. I’ve decided not to head out to do academia even though I’ve been accepted to MA/PhD programmes already. I prefer to help people and working seems more practical at this stage in my life at the moment. Within time I’ll be settling into a permanent life with someone special, so I’ve got to focus on that and my career.
    You’re so very inspirational.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      thanks tolu.

      sometimes you have to do what you think is best for you. if you don’t want to go into academia don’t do it. don’t do it because you think it will make your parents happy. you have you live with the decisions you make, not them.

      i worried my brothers and i would end up not liking me because they tended to put me on a pedestal compared to them because i excelled academically. it turns out that it made us closer. i never judged them or looked down upon them because of that.

      1. miette

        Thanks, and I will do what is best for me. I don’t have a superiority complex, but my parents try to make me the exemplar, which seemed stressful before, but not so much anymore. I have to live for no-one but myself.

  2. Lioness Rising

    your mother sounds like my mother, she hasn’t talked to some of her siblings for 15 years. She has no problem cutting people off.

    I grew up in a single parent home although my dad was in my life. My parents are both highly educated but my mother was the one who seemed more concerned with my education and with raising me period. I stopped talking to him for 6 years starting in 8th grade, although now I live with him. I just needed to protect myself from some of the negative things going on in his life. I can honestly say I don’t think my Dad has taught me much of anything at all except to swim, ride a bike, and never make any of the mistakes he made.

  3. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

    This describes one of my boy’s lives to a tee.

    After recently finding out that my mama is dying I’ve reflected on a lot of things about my like as a kid and how I was raised. Your last two post about your parents have made me do a lot of thinking about whether or not I’ve been a good son or have done right by them or my siblings. Parents aren’t perfect but you have love the ones who do their best although it seems crazy when they are doing it.

    Good post.

  4. gemmieboo

    i love both of my parents to death – but i have very different relationships with each of them and they each of contributed to the “whole” me equally. while my dad isnt affectionate or expressive of his emotions/feelings/thoughts (the ones that arent critical anyway lol), he has been an amazing father to me and has provided for all of my needs and really been a role model for intellectual pursuit – if for nothing more than the sake of pursuing it and being knowledgeable (“dont be a dummy” as he would say). my mother is very affectionate and loving and motherly lol but she will burn a bridge with a quickness and hold grudges until eternity. both of my parents are generous with their time and resources – not just to their children, but to their communities. and i love that about them.

    neither of my parents are perfect. there have been numerous times over the years where i’ve looked at them and said “i dont wanna be like that” (referring to some undesirable trait). but the older i get i realize my children will one day feel the same way about me – and dislike or resent some negative quality about me. but i hope the can see past my flaws and love the great things about me. and know that everything i do is for them – even if im wrong.


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