Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
I like Chimamanda a lot. I named my daughter after the ‘Baby’ in her book, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. Yes. On her birth certificate. Her middle name is ‘Theresa’ after the Mother Theresa. We – that is, my husband and I – couldn’t decide which of our mothers to name her after, so we decided to be neutral. We offended everybody. I mean, I have been warned to forget about naming the next child.
Normally, she would bounce into the kitchen. Today, she just trudged in. I keep asking her to help me with this or that. She does so without making a sound. It feels like I am the only person in the kitchen. This is very abnormal. Normally, she keeps me laughing with stories of her best friend, and the headboy, and Tomiwa, and Blessing, and Irina the Nigerian-Indian, or Torres, the American Igbo boy.
‘How was school?’
‘Fine.’ She keeps avoiding my eyes. I ask if she is feeling okay. She says she is fine.
‘Have you seen your period? We talked about it right? You know what to do?’
She shakes her head. I smile at her. ‘It’s okay, Baby. Mood swings are not cool but you will get the hang of it.’ She looks away from me.
‘Alright. Go and set the table. Dinner will be served in a bit. ‘
‘Err. Mommy? I am not hungry.’
I pretend like I didn’t hear her, and shoo her out of the kitchen.
I call to my husband to join us at the table. Baby and I look at him expectantly. He raises an eyebrow. I sigh.
‘Bless the food.’ I reach out to hold his hand. He folds his arms across his chest. He spits out his words. ‘Do it.’
I recoil in shock. I look at Baby. She shakes her head. I bow my head, and keep it simple. It seems like everybody had a bad day today.
Baby is barely eating. When she sees me watching her, she shoves the food into her mouth. I notice she doesn’t swallow. My husband too is struggling to eat. When did my cooking become so bad? I am not exactly a great cook, but I dare say I do better than tasteless. My husband’s look clearly invites no questions. And my daughter is bent on avoiding any eye contact with me. I dig into my food. Today wasn’t exactly awesome, but I am famished.