Be Careful Not to Alienate One Parent – Ijeoma Chinonyerem

Your favorite parent - elsieisy blog

Sometimes you do not look at issues from a very important perspective, not because you do not want to or think it isn’t right, but because it’s just not your perspective. No man is an island, hence the need for us to share wisdom by speaking and listening. I read this piece on Facebook written by Ijeoma Chinonyerem and decided this should be shared. I do not have my parents anymore but I sincerely never looked at this truth from this angle. Read below and remember to share:

I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. As a matter of fact my pet name as a kid was Daddy. My parents called me Daddy. I was just a light-skinned version of the man. I had his physique, his height, his features, everything.

I grew up as a mini-him and I favoured him more.

When I was in the nursery this particularly mischievous neighbour asked me which parent I liked the most. In the presence of my mum no less. Tactlessly, I picked my dad. I’m sure that hurt my mum. The neighbour tried to tell me I shouldn’t have picked my dad but my mum ended the whole discourse.

As I grew up, the bond heightened. I took his side in household debates. I almost always did. There’s this Igbo proverb about an Ada being her father’s consigliere, (for lack of a better word). Well that was what I was.

My dad was the one who visited me throughout all my days in secondary school. My cousin came too. My mum seldom did.

Same thing in the university. The man would often drive down from Enugu state to Ebonyi state unannounced to visit me. Of course my mum knew about the trip and cooked and bought things but he was the only one that actually showed up.

So the attachment grew.

But along the line, something happened. Somewhere, somehow, the tables turned. It happened so gradually, so slowly it was almost undetectable. At the end of the day, I wound up being closer to my mum. We cultivated this bond and closeness that somehow left my dad in the lurch.

I didn’t even notice till I was far too gone. When I did, I tried to balance it. I didn’t want him to notice too. I thought I was doing a great job at balancing it till today.

I called my dad and right before I hung up he told me he wasn’t pleased with me. That I kept him out of the new developments in my life and only told my mother.

Ah. My dad is a very very proud man so for him to admit that, it must have hurt him.

I had to assure him that it wasn’t out of spite or negligence. They live together so why make two phone calls to dispense information when you can do it with just one? Apparently he didn’t see it that way.

He wanted first row seats too to whatever was happening. He didn’t want to hear from my mum, he wanted to hear from me.

I apologised and promised to make amends.

Parenting is hard, being a child too isn’t so easy. You have to be careful not to alienate one parent and blatantly favour the other.

We tell parents not to have a favourite amongst their children but we forget to tell kids not to have a favourite between their parents. Even if you have a favourite parent, it shouldn’t be glaringly obvious to the other.

Don’t be unintentionally tactless like me. Love both equally. Show both love equally. I felt bad today imagining how he felt.

For as long as I have them both here, I’ll try to balance it out.

 

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