It is not often you come across a guy who has a whole lot of great things to say about his mother in law, but I beg to differ as I am one of the few.
Many years ago when I was courting my wife I visited her house on Lagos Island in the Popo Aguda Quarters, (Brazilian Quarters) she wasn’t home but her mother asked me to wait that she will soon be back.
In retrospect, I still wonder what she saw in me at that time, that I was always welcomed to sit with her and just have great conversations on the front porch of their Brazilian style house while her husband was just in the living room behind us paying us no mind.
On this particular day after getting off the bus and taking the walk under the hot Lagos sun from City hall bus stop to #37 Oil Mill street, I met Mrs. as she is so fondly called, sitting on her front porch and after the usual pleasantries she asks one of the kids to get me a chair and some chilled water.
As we picked our topic for the day she also said she was just about to make some of her famous Delta state native soups that require very hard to find spices and vegetables and she was still trying to decide what would accompany the soup, yam flour or pounded yam? hmmm…
I said “whichever is fastest and most convenient” she decides on pounded yam and proceeds to start the preparation, all the while checking to see if her daughter was back and if I were okay seating on the porch. A little while later I could perceive the wonderful aroma of different spices, stock and smoked fish all sizzling and mingling together and sending my bowels through a tsunami of growls anticipating the taste in real time.
I could also hear the thunderous sound of the pestle bashing the yams in the mortar and being an Ekiti man I was already rejoicing in my mind just imagining the mussels of pounded yam and sumptuous pieces of assorted meat and fish that will be paired in this meal fit for a king.
Alas, the time came and I was called in by one the kids to come into the dining area, as I walked by the living room I could see Mr. Gansy (Her husband/Yinka’s Dad) as we secretly called him dissecting a mound on his plate paying me no mind whatsoever.
I took my seat at the table and proceeded to deal with the meal, just as I was about to send the first soup covered mussel into my watering mouth, Mrs. walks in from the kitchen with a calm but direct demeanor and said in Yoruba; and I recal verbatim “I rarely pound yam for visitors, but you carry a heavy weight on my hands”.
For what seemed like an eternity I didn’t know if to proceed or drop the fork in my hand. When I came to I replied “I will not forget this day”, because I already knew what I wanted and why I was waiting this long and getting offered pounded yam anyway.
I enjoyed that meal and many more after that day and had even many more conversations with Mrs. Virginia Egogo Gansallo. She never mince words with me and corrected me with tough love whenever I erred and with time I came to realize that she treated everyone young or old the same way.
Years after Yinka and I were married and we had our little issues here and there, she never took sides but made sure to let us understand that as long as we let peace prevail by being on the same page, making decisions together by always communicating mutually and most importantly putting God first then we can withstand any storm.
She is always the first to call to wish everyone well on birthdays complete with her very own rendition of the Happy Birthday song and also every other week just to check on you.
There were times where I messed up, rather than chastise me she sat me down and talked some sense into me like any loving mother should and there were times she even took my side over Yinka.
We would sit and talk about anything from current affairs to life in general, we also talked about deep spiritual issues and her insights were always very much enlightening. She talked about spiritual boldness, being prayerful and always standing in the gap for your family.
Mrs. always talks about creating memories and building a legacy by always being prepared in life and death.
I pray that the Almighty will grant her years of great health that she may enjoy the fruits of her labor and always have the cause to celebrate and be celebrated.
To all mothers out there and mothers in waiting we celebrate you today and always.
Happy Mother’s Day.