FIRST CHILD [A Short Story dedicated to every first child]
This story is a combination of four different stories with bits of comedy and solemnity.
Today, the house of Mr and Mrs Adigun was bubbling. The family woke up very early in the morning to assume their respective chores. The previous night, Mrs Adigun had already designated duties to each member of the family, and the male inclusive. In the house of the Adiguns, house chores is not gender based. Both gender does it, not even with their Margret Thatcher mother would any child be lethargic. So after the first cock crow that morning, each person mounted his/her duty and before 8:00am, the house was sparkling with touch of glitters everywhere.
After the children were done with the cleaning and decorations, mrs Adigun walked out of her room majestically to inspect the work done. She nodded her head satisfactorily while moving from one section of the house to the other. She also walked into the kitchen to inspect the meal. Two of her sons were holding a pestle and pounding some yams inside the mortar. One of her daughters was removing the yams from the pot and putting them inside the mortar for the boys to pound. Another daughter was preparing the efo-riro to go with the pounded yam. In the house of the Adiguns, house chores was always a division of labour with no child feeling burdened or cheated. Their high number made the chores simpler and less hectic. The children were ten in number and they were all from a womb, because their mom was the only wife.
The house kept bubbling with activities and the aroma of the delicious meal being prepared could be perceived from miles away. The family was celebrating an auspicious occasion. Eniola, the first child of the family was bringing in her suitor to be introduced to the family. The preparation continued till the guests arrived.
A tall handsome man walked in with two other men. The family welcomed them and showed them to a seat. Mr Adigun sent for Eniola who was still in her room. She later walked into the sitting room in the company of two of her friends. She sat down beside her mom. Her nine siblings trooped out from every corner of the house and also took their seats. Those who could not find a chair to sit leaned against the wall and the introduction began. Mr Adigun was the first to speak.
“You’re welcome Akinola my son. Akinola Olanrewaju, isn’t it?” Mr Adigun asked with a smile.
“Yes sir, I am Akinola Olanrewaju sir.” Akinola replied with a smile while adjusting himself on the seat.
“You’re welcome once again. Please feel at home. We are glad to have you in our midst. Eniola must have told you that ours is a big family. Beside me here is my lovely wife and equally Eniola’s mom. As you know very well, Eniola, your bride to be is the first child of this family. And sitting next to her is Segun, Eniola’s immediate younger brother. He just graduated from the University of Lagos where he studied electrical engineering and he’s through with his NYSC already. I heard your brother owns a steel manufacturing company!” Mr Adigun asked Akinola.
“Yes sir.” Akinola replied while nodding his head.
“That’s good. Please help me talk to him. Segun needs a job, and I can assure you that he’s a good boy. I raised all my children uprightly. I’ll be glad if you can assist my son uhn.” Mr Adigun requested politely.
“I’ll do that sir.” Akinola replied.
“Oh thank you my son. May God bless you in manifolds. And that is Niyi my third child. He also finished from the University of Lagos. He’s awaiting his NYSC call up later. I want him to be posted to Abuja. You know, opportunities are many over there. I heard your uncle works at NYSC secretariat in Abuja. You’ll assist your brother in law, won’t you?” Mr Adigun asked Akinola Again.
“I’ll gladly do sir.” Akinola replied.
“Thank you so much my son. May God honor you immensely. And over there is my fourth child, Nike. Nike is in her final year studying nursing…………..Ehn ehn, that reminds me, Eniola told me that your mom was a retired chief matron in LUTH, is that correct?” Mr Adigun asked and by this time Eniola was already signaling to him to stop but Mr Adigun ignored her ‘talking eyes.
“That’s correct sir. My mom was a retired chief matron in LUTH.” Akinola replied with a nod of his head while Mr Adigun shouted.
“Great! Great!! Great!!! That means my daughter has no problem searching for a job when she graduates or won’t you assist your sis in law by talking to your mom to help her?” Mr Adigun asked.
“I’ll gladly do sir.” Akinola replied with a dried throat.
“That’s very good of you. You’re a good man. My daughter is very lucky indeed. And over there is my fifth child Bimbo. She’s a student of Agric- science. In fact, Bimbo’s dream is to work in Obasanjo farm someday. That reminds me, I heard one of your sister is married to Obasanjo’s son, is that true?”
“That’s very true sir.” Akinola replied while Mr Adigun turned to Bimbo.
“Bimbo, your dream of working in Obasanjo farm has already become a reality. I am so happy to have Akinola as my son in law. We are all so lucky to have him in our lives. Akinola shebi you’ll gladly talk to your sister to help Bimbo secure a job in her father in law’s farm, won’t you?”
“I……I ……..I’ll do that sir.” Akinola stuttered a reply.”
“He’ll definitely help you. So Bimbo, be rest assured that you have a job after graduation. Akinola is God sent to this family.” Mr Adigun replied with a grin while his wife concurred.
“He’s definitely a God sent. Thank you Akinola my son. You’re amazing.” Mrs Adigun appreciated while Akinola nodded his head and Mr Adigun continued with the introduction.
“Over there is my sixth child, Dayo. Dayo is in 3 hundred level studying mass communication. He has only a year to go and I do not want him to sit idle after graduation. Yes!” Mr Adigun snapped his fingers in delight before he continued. “I heard you’re related to Deji Olanrewaju of NTA. Is that true?”
“That’s true sir. Deji Olanrewaju is my uncle sir.” Akinola replied while Mr Adigun jumped up and started dancing. His wife joined him too and they danced together.
Eniola was already feeling ashamed and no matter how she tried to signal to both parents to stop embarrassing her, they wouldn’t listen. After Mr Adigun and his wife had danced to their fill, they sat down and Mr Adigun turned to Dayo and continued.
“Dayo please start preparing because you are going to work in NTA okay. Abi Akinola won’t you help your brother in law?”
“I………..I………..I………….. I will sir.” Akinola stuttered a reply yet again.
“That’s very good of you. Only God can reward what you have done to me. Look at my seventh and eight children over there. They’re twins and we call them OreOluwa [a gift from God] and OreOluwa [The goodness of God]
[I’m sorry I don’t know ami and that’s why I gave the English meaning to tell the names apart]
“Ore and Ore both sat for the last UTME and they chose UNILORIN as their first and second choice. Please my son, I want them to get admission without any hurdles and I heard that the vice chancellor of UNILORIN, Professor Sulyman AbdulKareem Age is your father’s friend, am I correct.”
“You’re correct sir. Professor AbdulKareem Age and my dad are childhood friends.” Akinola replied.
“Oh, what a good development!! Should I consider my twins, Ore and Ore to be students of UNILORIN already?” Mr Adigun expressed.
“I’ll try my best sir.” Akinola replied.
“Thank you my son. Come here, Ore and Ore, come and show gratitude to your brother in law.” Mr Adigun said while the twins came forward to appreciate Akinola while Mr Adigun continued.
“And over there are Bola and Bimpe, my ninth and tenth children respectively. Bola is in SS1 while Bimpe is in JSS3. Please my son, I’ll like you to assist me concerning both of them. I heard your aunt has a secondary school. I need your assistance, you know what I mean?”
“I do not understand you sir.”
“Don’t try to feign ignorance. Please assist a helpless father.” Mr Adigun pleaded.
“Do you want me to talk to my aunt to enroll Bimpe and Bola for free?” Akinola asked.
“You’re very intelligent. You’re wise and brilliant. May your wisdom never dwindle. Exactly what I want please help me my son.” Mr Adigun pleaded and by this time Eniola was already sobbing quietly.
Her mother turned to her to inquire the reason for her tears but her father quickly responded.
“It is tears of joy. Isn’t it Eniola?” Mr Adigun asked her daughter but instead of replying Eniola casted him a nasty look but Mr Adigun developed a thick skin and pretended not to see her daughter’s displeasure.
“Those are the members of my family Akinola. You’re welcome once again. Please serve his meal and put plenty meats. He’s a good man, a very very good one.” Mr Adigun praised.
The guests were served with plenty meats as instructed by the head of the family. After the meal, the guests had some good time with the family after which they announced their intention to leave.
The family saw them off to where their car was parked. They waved them goodbye and the guests departed after Akinola promised to call Eniola before going to bed that night.
The family went back into their house and Eniola confronted her father to register her displeasure.
“What is bad in what I have done? I’m about to gift him my daughter and so he should be able to pay me back in return.” Mr Adigun defended himself.
“When did I become a commodity for sale? When did I become goods for trade by batter exhibition. Daddy you embarrassed me. You didn’t hide your greediness at all. The impression you gave Akinola and his friends about this family is not good at all. I just hope you don’t make me lose a good man.” Eniola said angrily while his mother cuts in.
“I don’t see what’s wrong in what your father has done. The man has a huge connection and we’re only trying to attach ourselves to him. we didn’t ask for money did we?” Mrs Adigun puts in while Segun, their first son responded.
“Mom! Dad was wrong. He shouldn’t have said all that at a first visit. I am also a man, if I witness such scenario in my prospective in law’s house then I’ll be put off. A girl I haven’t been married to and his family are already on my neck for one request or the other. Dad and mom you haven’t done well at all.” Segun expressed by shaking his head.
Their parents were sober now and they instructed Eniola to call Akinola to inquire about his journey home. He picked but the network was bad. Mr and Mrs Akinola heaved a sigh of relief.
“Can you now see that Akinola wasn’t put off. If he was, he wouldn’t have picked Eniola’s call at all. So you children should relax and allow adults handle things.” Mr Adigun said while both Eniola and Segun shrugged and left for their rooms.
After a while, Eniola tried Akinola’s number again but his line was switched off. She tried his second line and it was equally switched off. She placed the phone beside her till she fell asleep. The following morning, she tried his numbers again to no avail. Throughout that day, his lines were switched off and she sensed trouble. After a week, she couldn’t reach him still and her apprehension grew.
Akinola does not reside in the same city as her so to visit him wouldn’t be that easy. She decided to call his friends but they weren’t picking. She called his siblings and the story was the same. It appeared he blocked her from all social network too because she couldn’t reach him. She cried non stop and her apprehension grew each passing day. After two weeks, she decided to pay him a visit to know what was going on instead of wallowing in depression. She journeyed for nine hours from Lagos to Port Harcourt just to see him. Fortunately for her, she met him outside his house so he couldn’t avoid her.
“I have been trying your lines for the past two weeks. What happened?”
“I blocked you.” He blurted without looking at her.
“You blocked me? But why?”
“Because it’s over between me and you.”
“You ain’t serious are you?”
“I am very serious. I want a wife and not a family burden. I haven’t married you and your father has already loaded responsibility on my head. I haven’t married you and I am already burdened with the responsibility of catering for your younger siblings. It appears your father does not want to enslave and enchant only me but also the rest of my family. “Your brother owns a steel manufacturing company, your uncle works in NYSC secretariat. Your mother is a retired chief matron, your sister is married to Obasanjo’s son. Your brother works with NTA. Your father is a friend to Professor Sulyman AbdulKareem Age of UNILORIN. Your aunt owns a secondary school………Habaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Only me! On this my small head? Do you guys want to send me to an early grave? If I decide to help and my families who are in each position are not ready to help, then what happens? Please Eniola, I do not dislike you but I’m sorry I can’t carry your load.” He said with a final note, ran inside and locked the gate.
My battery is running low but this is the end of this particular one. I’ll continue another version tomorrow in shaa Allah.
This may seem like an exaggeration it’s the reality of the enormous responsibilities that first children carries. It may be a fiction but it’s a vivid analogy of the loads on the head of every first child. The responsibility that a first child shoulders is unquantifiable. Talk of financial, emotional, intellectual and a host of other responsibility. If you’re lucky to come from a wealthy family or your younger siblings are made too then the financial responsibility is lighter on you but trust me, you’ll still be emotionally and intellectually burdened. But if you’re from a poor or average background then you can’t eat with all your fingers. Your salary is not yours alone. Your house is not yours alone. Your clothes are not yours alone. Your bags and shoes are not yours alone. In fact, nothing you ever own belongs to you alone because you’re the deputy parent.
Though Islamically, the burden of catering for your younger siblings doesn’t fall on you but that of your parents but what do you do when your parents are incapacitated, you have to assist, right? Even when your parents are capable, I tell you, the empathy, sympathy and generosity of a first child is innate. Except that first child is naturally irresponsible. And in a situation where the parents are no more, the first child assumes the responsibility of parenthood.
Naturally, the first child looks out for all her siblings hence she’s always emotionally disturbed. Even intellectually, your advice is always sought after. And you’re also burdened with the responsibility of being a role model. Your siblings looks up to you. They follow your footsteps and directions. You can’t misbehave because your younger ones are looking up to you. My people would say….esin iwaju ni teyin n wo sare. As a first daughter, you can’t carry a shameful pregnancy, you have left a wrong foot print. As a first son, you have the responsibility of living an upright life because your siblings are watching you closely. A first child must not err, hence her siblings errs.
By default, a first child is saddled with loads of responsibilities.
Shout out to every first child. Shout out to every man married to first child/daughters. Shout out to every woman married to first child/first sons. It takes lots of patience and sacrifice to marry a first child. You guys are the best.
My prayer for all first child is that the head God has made you will not turn to tail. May Allah grant you the financial, emotional and intellectual capacities to be able to paddle the canoe you’re saddled with.
Tag the first child of your parents and say a word of prayer for them. TO EVERY FIRST CHILD, YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING AND AWESOME. THE LOAD YOU CARRY IS HMMMMMMM.
To be continued…………………
LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH