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TITLE: There must be more!
By Ndidi Ngwuluka

“Junior, will you stop that! What can of a child are you? You are such a pain” screamed Nkechi.

Titi looked at her friend dazed by such utterance. “Ah ah! Nkechi, what is wrong with you? Why are you taking it out on the child?” Snapping at Junior appeared to have become a habit for Nkechi and it was affecting him.

“I am not taking anything out on the child. Can you not see that he is misbehaving?”

“He is simply acting his age. In case you have forgotten, he is only four years old”

“He and his father are stressing my life day in day out. I don’t have space at all. From morning till night, when it is not Junior, it is Ugo and they do not appreciate the sacrifices. Goodness! I did not know marriage was like this.”

Titi’s thought flashed back to their days in the University and she had to accept that her friend, Nkechi had changed since she got married. She was no longer her jovial, sweet self.

Nkechi was such an agile, pleasant girl who had challenging dreams although her first priority was to get married after school. She sang it like a song, worked at it and immediately after graduation, she got married to Ugo. Titi remembered Nkechi’s wedding day; she glowed so much that one would have thought that she would live happily ever after without a hitch. Here was Nkechi, very irritant and what ordinarily was not an issue had become a big deal. She loved kids but here she was always snapping at her child.

“You know what? Let Junior spend the weekend with me while you catch your breath,” suggested Titi. “Then afterwards we find time and talk.”

Nkechi did not believe what hit her. She had yearned for this break for a long time but did not know how to go about it. At times like this she wished her mother was alive to assist her. There was no relation of hers or Ugo’s in the same town with them. She never liked Freetown but all attempts to dissuade Ugo from accepting the job was abortive.

Junior spent the weekend at Titi’s while Nkechi left Ugo on his own and checked into a hotel for the weekend. It was indeed a weekend of revelation and transformation.

As Nkechi stepped into Titi’s house, it was obvious something had happened to her.

“Junior, come give mummy a hug. Did you miss me?” She grabbed him, held him tight to junior’s discomfort. It was a strange; his mother exhibiting such emotions. Junior freed himself from his mother’s arms and moved away. Nkechi understood and at that moment, did not press further.

She turned to Titi who sat and was watching the telly initially, “Most times, a number of us get involved in things because the society expects it of us or we want to prove a point or to attain some status and we do not know the implications. I desired marriage without understanding the responsibilities involved in it. Yes, marriage is good if you go in with the right person and you are prepared. I was so eager to run away from the challenges of being single as if marriage does not have its challenges as well”

“Titi, are we humans not funny? We are never satisfied with where we are or what we have. We always want to be where someone else is or have what someone else has”

“Hmm, Nkechi, did an angel appear to you this weekend?’ asked Titi.

“You may say so. Thanks Titi for taking Junior off me. I was able to sort some things out.”

“I got married, only to be overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a wife to a traditionalist like Ugo. Before I could adjust, I became a mother. The once upon a time Nkechi who could be so organized could no longer find her bearing. I was frustrated, unhappy with Ugo’s insensitivity and my attitude towards him made matters worse. My marriage became a nightmare; my prince charming had changed into a frog; I found myself in a tall tower with no way of escape. So I let it out on the two important people in my life”

“Can you imagine, if I did not have a child, I would complain. God gave me one and I have done nothing but make the child feel unloved.”

“I spent the weekend thinking of the last five years of my life and I realized that I needed to change my attitude towards circumstances. I must not allow the circumstances to control me but rather I should be in control of them.

My son is just acting his age. I should know that there are times to scold or beat him and there are times to overlook some things.

I have come to understand that my marriage is for a purpose and so I must avail myself to God so that it can be fulfilled. I was busy worrying about my dreams being in the cooler but God wants me to seek Him first and then in the process, I will find Him and myself.”

Titi sat there, amazed and thrilled. It was delightful to hear Nkechi talk in this manner.

Nkechi continued, “I have also come to realize that every marriage have its trying phases. Raising a child is a phase which I should accept with joy knowing that I will not labour in vain.

One of my biggest challenges is being able to balance all activities/chores both in the house and outside. But God has given me strategies on how to go about them. The first step would be to set my priorities right. Once I set my priorities right, I would be relieved of some stress.”

“Exactment! I was actually going to suggest that to you,” Titi interrupted. By this time she was standing up; for a moment, it was as if she was not sure how to react; she just could not contain herself.

“This is great! Oh Lord, this is great!” Titi screamed

“Titi, I and my husband were at loggerheads because I demanded from him what I should ask from God. Can you imagine that! The strain on my marriage will minimize greatly if I learn to trust God for everything. I decided I will not worry about the years that have gone by but will maximize the years left. I will make a deliberate effort to work on my marriage and parenting. I have already bought two books; one on marriage and the other on parenting to help me”

“Well I have some. So when you are through with the ones you bought, I will give them to you,” offered Titi.

“Thanks. I have also decided that I would have to get someone to help with the house chores even if it means paying. By so doing, I will have time for my husband and Junior and stop complaining of being too busy and stressed out.”

“Titi, before I merely existed, wondering if that was all there was in life. Each time I thought of it I got more frustrated, felt that there must be more but I was trapped. Now I know there is indeed more but I must lean on God for wisdom and direction on daily basis”

“Wow, this is a miracle!”
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