They say every human being has 5 minutes of madness.
Whoever made this statement simply does not know my mother or he wouldn’t have made this generalized statement.
You know what they say, Nigerian mothers are crazy. My mom is actually extra crazy – crazy alone does not do justice to her. I used to wonder if she was bipolar or simply lunatic when I was younger but even now that I am older I can’t choose one of these conditions – it seems she’s a combination of both.
I’m sure 90% of you expect me to launch into an elongated explanation of how wicked and heartless my mom is but that is not the case. Her crazy is on a different level. I will recall an instance and hope you will understand.
I and my siblings are typical Nigerian children and sibling rivalry is surely present. It’s like Tom and Jerry really drilled themselves into our subconscious. We like to argue and fight a lot over the most insignificant of things – it’s almost like we use detectors to find trouble causing ‘faults’. That day we had been seriously arguing and my brother – the last born – the usual receiving end of family banter was weeping. His grievance was that we had been picking on and intimidating him when in reality we had only been catching fun.
Our mother had through the years cried out and shouted at us to stop picking on one another and as usual, her words fell on deaf ears. So that day she decided to do something different.
Suddenly we heard a scream and all rushed naturally in the direction. We arrived at our mothers’ room and found her rolling and crying and screaming on the floor.
“Mommy, what is it?” Nenzak the last born who had been crying
Mother rolled some more and only cried louder.
“Mommy, Menene?” *1 Nenbam the oldest among us asked with all the urgency and maturity his 24-year-old voice could muster
Mother rolled some few times and released a few shirks
“My Children” she finally said “Right now I can feel my time nearing. I’m in deep pain but in this pain, I have peace because I know it will soon be over and I will be in a better place”
Panic set in. The room suddenly felt much bigger and hotter. At this point, my own voice came out,
“Mommy please what are you trying to say,” I said my voice breaking
“My children,” she said with deep difficulty, “I am saying I feel like I’m taking my last breaths and having my last conversations”
“Ah let me call Daddy to come home,” Nenbam said
“No don’t call him. I want to spend my last moments with you guys” she said with more difficulty
By now even Nenbam had begun to weep. The room was cold and sorrowful.
“My Children” Mother said “I want you to do one thing for me. I want you people to stop fighting”
She paused for dramatic effect and rolled some more.
“If I go now, there will be nobody to separate you people and you can’t be living like this. Please stop fighting eh”
There was an almost 2-minute silence where no words were uttered and the only thing that punctuated the silence was sobs from all of us 5 children and mother who was still crying.
“Mommy, we’ll stop fighting I promise” Nenrit the second born said weeping
“Yes mommy we’ll stop,” I said trying hard to control my tears
“We’ll stop” Nenrot and Nenzak chorused
Brother Nenbam cleared his voice
“Mommy. I promise no more fights. I will ensure peace when you are gone but please mommy don’t go. It’s too soon” he said his voice broken.
Nanbam moved towards her, steadied her in a sitting position and hugged her. Nenrit followed suit and soon all 5 of us were clinging to her. We must have stayed like that for 5 minutes straight.
Suddenly, our mother broke into hysterical laughter. Appalled we all jumped back as if fearing she had been possessed by a demon or perhaps she wanted to laugh into heaven. She laughed and laughed and rolled leaving us staring like fools.
“My children,” she said when she could finally gather herself together “I’ve fooled all of you”
She laughed again before speaking
“I was tired of preaching this message of peace to you people so when I heard Nenzak crying, I decided to be innovative and try something different”
Slowly understanding dawn on us one by one as we all joined in the laughter at our stupidity. Nenbam refused to laugh at the fact he had just been stupefied and was so angry he stormed off – that only fueled our own laughter. Crazy right but I tell you after that day, the longest period of peace ensued and it was barely 6 days!
This instance is only part of my mother’s craziness. Everything she does – talk, drive, eat are all done in a different comical fashion.
I stand to oppose the agreement that every human has only 5 minutes of madness a day and propose that humans my mother especially have only 5 minutes of sanity a day.