In August, 2017 my husband travelled to Nigeria. He was away for 3 weeks and that was the first time since we got married on the 19th of December, 2009 that we will be away from each other for 21 days at a stretch.
The most we have done is 10 days when my son and I travelled to Ghana and United Arab Emirates for vacations, and then shorter days of between 3-7 days when he travelled to South Africa, China and Sierra Leone at different points in our marriage. The only vacation we have taken together as a family before we came to Canada was to the United Kingdom, where we spent 30 days together.
So staying away from each other for 21 days was definitely a big deal. Well, it wasn’t so difficult but not entirely easy too, having to care for 2 children alone, doubling as mum and dad. Dropping the kids off and picking them up at school, daycare, swimming classes, karate classes, different summer events e.t.c. Considering we are in a foreign land where immediate family members are far away, if we were in Nigeria, they would be grandma, aunties, sisters, brothers, cousins e.t.c at one’s aid, helping in one way or the other. My eyes were actually teary at the airport when he was about to depart, oh yes, I can be an emotional mess sometimes 😊. Thanks to technology though especially video calls. We were in constant touch.
We missed ourselves dearly, I think he missed me and the kids more 😊. My husband isn’t the physically romantic type but the 21 days brought out extra romantic side of him. He called repeatedly during the 21 days, there was a day he asked if I wasn’t missing him because he did most of the calling and he was always vocal and expressive about how much he had missed us, and I said to him only if he knows how much I had missed him. When he returned, he could barely take his eyes off me for a second right from the airport 😀, but of course I also missed him too. I don’t keep so many close friends, so my husband is my best and closest friend, my gist plus amebo partner, we tell ourselves literally every and any thing, from serious talks to mundane ones 😊, so I really missed our close companionship because really having your spouse close to you makes a lot of difference, it isn’t the same as staying miles apart from each other. Even though when we are together, we sometimes quarrel over little things and the moment we stay part, we miss ourselves, ironical right! 😀
During these 3 weeks was my daughter’s birthday and Eid-el Kabir (Sallah), it was the first time since we got married that my husband would be away during one of us birthday and during Sallah, we have always spent such celebrations together. So you can imagine how badly we would have missed him on such occasions. I remember looking for a parking spot when we went for Eid prayers on Sallah day as a result of the large crowd who usually come to the prayer ground on such big Islamic occasion, I said to my son, ‘I miss your daddy o’, if he was him that drove us, I wouldn’t be busy going round and round looking for a spot to park, he would just drop us off at the entrance, while he goes to look for a parking space. I cannot even begin to list all the seemingly little things I missed about him, but the experience brought out the extra strength and independence in me, even though I’m generally a strong and independent woman to a large extent.
Those 21 days made us learn more, appreciate ourselves even better and it has definitely made us realize and fully understand the meaning of companionship and the support we get from one another, even though we were in constant touch, it definitely wasn’t the same thing having your spouse live under the same roof. The time difference between Nigeria and Canada wasn’t very convenient sometimes for video calls. Many times, my husband would have to stay awake late to talk to us and vice versa. Shout out to people in long distance relationships or marriages, it is definitely not easy. The Lord is your strength. I salute you all. May God make it easy for all of us.
It was 21 days of learning and loving all over again, it was 21 days of gratitude. Indeed, the absence of someone (whether temporary or permanent) makes you appreciate the person much more. That is when you begin to value the little things they do when they are around.
Beyond sharing this story with you, this post is mainly to appreciate all the single parents out there, whether as a result of spouse’s death, separation, divorce e.t.c, my heart goes all out to you. Solely taking care of children is definitely not an easy task, even two parents find it sometimes overwhelming, how much more a single parent. I pray that God continues to give you strength to carry on, I pray that you would not labour in vain.
I’m sending you plenty love.
Also to those of us who still have a spouse, let’s appreciate one another, let’s the cherish the moments spent together and make them count as they would serve as memories tomorrow. No one wishes or prays to loose a spouse (whether temporarily or permanently), but then sometimes life happens. May God grant us the best at all times and when we are faced with life trials, may we be able to surmount it and stand tall.
One of my husband memorable moments was been invited to the U.S. Mission Reception in honour of Senator Christopher Coons & Delegation at the US Consul General’s residence in Ikoyi, Lagos and meeting great business leaders who inspire him, people like Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist and entrepreneur, he is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, a foundation that runs the Tony Elemelu Foundation Entrepreneurial Program, an entrepreneurial program/award which my husband was a recipient of in 2016, he also met Aliko Dangote (CEO of Dangote group), acclaimed richest man in Nigeria, Tonye Cole, the CEO of Sahara Group and many other great personalities both in Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria.
Thank you my motherland, Nigeria for taking care of my husband, thank you to the Oluwunmi family for their love and care, shout out to our families and friends in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states for looking after him, my husband sure had a great and memorable time in Nigeria and many thanks to my friends and neighbours in Halifax, they kept checking up on me and my children and brought different gifts, it was as if my husband was going to be away for a very long time. God bless you all, we really appreciate the love.
Ultimately, we are very thankful and grateful to God for a safe trip to and fro. We are grateful for making the trip a reality and making my husband achieve some substantial successes in all he went to Nigeria for. My darling husband, I wish you greater and lofty heights In Shaa Allah. Your entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity and drive inspire and motivate me. May your dreams come true, may God surpass all your expectations and make it a reality. I love you Sweetie.
Nigeria is definitely a goldmine, waiting to be maximally tapped, even though sometimes government and some citizens make it a herculean task, government need to create the enabling environment for businessses (especially small and medium scale ones) to thrive, they need to make it easier for people in the diaspora willing to make a change in the country by bringing in innovations and projects that would greatly impact the country. There is still so much nepotism, greed, lack of patriotism, lack of enough love for the country, corruption from the leaders and even followers, the political will to change things for the better is almost zero. A lot has to be done to improve the country and it starts with you and I.
God bless Nigeria.