My mother didn’t like my boyfriend right from the start. The day I introduced him to her, she laughed with him. She shook hands with him and welcomed him into the family. The food he ate that day, it was my mother who prepared it and served him. Later in the evening when he left my mom asked me, “That boy you introduced, what work does he do?” I said, “He’s working in the government sector.” She asked, “Na ne nsa mu wɔ bi diɛ?” (Does he have money?) I said, “He tries his best but he’s young. I know one day he’ll be rich.”
She said, “I guessed right after all. I could sense from the way he was drinking the soup that he wouldn’t be rich. You’re a very beautiful woman that every man will fall for. Why settle for someone who can’t take proper care of you?” I said, “Who said he can’t take proper care of me? He’s not rich doesn’t mean he’s poor. Have you heard about middle-income earners? He’s there.” She said, “A man is either rich or not rich. There’s nothing in the middle. Didn’t you see the man Aunty Becky’s daughter brought home? You and that her daughter, who’s beautiful? My daughter, think twice.”
I didn’t mind her and I couldn’t be bothered with what she said. My mom is like that. She has always lived her life competing silently with people who didn’t know that she was competing with them. When a neighbor gets something new and everyone begins to sing their praises, my mom will do all she could to get something better and bigger than that of the neighbor. She thought nobody knew about it but as time went on, everyone stopped talking to her and instead talked about her.
Everything has advantages and disadvantages. Because of her envy, she always pushed us to do better than the kids in our community. We were always learning whiles she moved around sniffing on her neighbors, looking for a reason to compete. For instance, her own sister’s first son had a very good grade and was posted to OWASS in Kumasi. It was the first of its kind for a child in our family to go to a great school like that. She started sounding a warning to my junior brother and me. “You see where Andrews has landed. You better surpassed that.” The day my brother was admitted to Presec, nobody had peace in the community. That’s my mom. She doesn’t want anybody to win whiles she stays in the shadows of the winner and it’s the same kind of attitude she exhibited towards Johnson, my boyfriend.
I told her, “I want to be happy and he makes me happy so what else do you want me to do?” She said, “Who said a rich man can’t make you happier? Look for one and see what I’m talking about. I’m your mother. I’ve been where you are once but you haven’t been where I am.” I didn’t mind her. The heart wants what it wants and my heart always wanted Johnson. The funny thing is, anytime he comes around, my mom will be all over him, doing things for him as though she loves him that much.
The day after the knocking ceremony, my mom said to me, “Esi so you didn’t listen to me? Anyway, you have to push him to be rich so you can live a better life than I had.” I said, “That’s why I want to marry him. He has dreams and has a great future ahead of him. He’ll succeed I know.” I thought that conversation settled the whole matter but I was in for a shock.
When we started planning our wedding, my mom took me to a place she said they could sew a very beautiful wedding gown for me. The woman there asked what I wanted. My mom wouldn’t allow me to talk. She got up and pointed at a photo of a wedding dress and said, “Look at her shape, don’t you think this will fit her?” The woman said, “Yeah it will.” We asked the price and the woman mentioned something close to GHC3,000. My mom looked at me. She said, “You can pay, right?” I said, “Why don’t you allow me to talk or choose?” I told the woman, “We’ll go home and come back later when we are ready.”
On our way going back, I told her, “We intend to have a small wedding. We have a budget and cannot spend GHC3,000 on a wedding dress. It’s way beyond our budget.” She got angry. She said, “You see why I told you to settle for an already made man? How much is GHc300 that your man can’t pay?” I didn’t want to argue with her. I didn’t want to resurrect the ghost of the past conversations so I let it slide. She kept asking me about the wedding dress. I told her I will get some from another place.
Then it came to where the wedding reception would be held. I and my husband to be didn’t plan to have a reception. We only wanted a cocktail that would happen immediately after the church service. When I told my mother about it she screamed, “Herrh Esi, you won’t use your wedding to embarrass me ok? What kind of wicked wedding is that? People will be traveling from far away to your wedding and all you want to give them is sobolo and pie?” “Mom I didn’t say sobolo?” I said. She responded, “What do you mean when you say cocktail? Is it not a drink in a cup? Tell your husband I won’t allow that embarrassment to happen. You didn’t’ see aunty Becky’s daughter’s wedding?”
When my mother decides on something, very few people can change her mind. My aunt once told me, “Your father was the only one who could stand against your mother. I think it’s the reason why they both could marry.” Unfortunately, my dad isn’t alive to fight on my behalf. She wanted to have a major say in my wedding and determine everything according to the size of her ego but I wasn’t ready to allow her.
The wedding is on October 2nd. I and Johnson have put everything in place to ensure that the wedding goes according to how we planned it. A week ago, my mom asked me, “So have you finally settled on the food and other things? Where are you going to do the reception and when are you going to send out the invites?” I said, “We are not doing anything food. We are having a cocktail right after the service to show our appreciation to our guests.” She screamed on top of her voice, “Tell that good for nothing man that if he’s not ready for marriage, he should leave you alone and go back home. When he’s fully prepared, you’ll be ready for him. What sort of poverty-stricken wedding is that? And you want me to wear my expensive Kente cloth and come and sit under this embarrassment?”
In fact, I’d tolerated enough insults from her and I wasn’t going to sit there while she calls my husband-to-be good for nothing. I said, “Mom, if you are too embarrassed to be at my wedding, then don’t come. I’ll talk to aunt Ekua to represent you.” She shouted, “I regret ever giving birth to a child like you. All my sufferings had been in vain. Now you’re choosing your husband over me? Where was he when I was suffering day and night looking for food for you? When I sold my cloth to pay your fees, where was he? I’ve gone through a lot of embarrassment already, selling my jewelry and clothes to cater for you. All you have to do is honor me with your wedding. You’re here defending an embarrassment like this? Telling me not to come to your wedding? I hear. Take your wedding. I will never step a foot there.”
She has gone around broadcasting it to whoever may listen that I said she shouldn’t attend my wedding. My aunts and uncles have called me on this issue and I’ve explained things to them; “I didn’t tell her not to come. She said she can’t sit in a poverty-stricken wedding like ours so I said if that’s the case, then she shouldn’t come and be embarrassed. That’s all I said.”
The date of my wedding is drawing neigh but I’m here battling with my own mother. She doesn’t talk to me but when Johnson calls her, she would talk to him nicely and call him with great appellations, meanwhile, she doesn’t like him that much. I know my mother, if I try to apologize to her right now, she will use it as an advantage to request changes in my wedding plans. I can’t make changes so how do I talk to her to make her drop her anger? Please advise.