I remember when we tied the knots the next year, how miraculously those blessed pennies of mine added up to pay the bride price. How your father ensured that I got some discounts, those discounts that were just like water to my thirsty soul. I remember the first look of your mother and your aunty, how they had prodded and pushed at me to come and see your father. I thought my leg was going to shake, but your beautiful smile told me there was nothing to be afraid of. I recollect the first day I took you to Mummy and can never forget what she said in our language "nwa jelu nursery" meaning in colloquial terms that you were a "butter" girl. I recall that my sisters fell in love; my brothers would not let you get out of their sight. By the way, they all still love you many years after.
A few things endeared you to me. Firstly, your smile. I called it the one-million-dollar smile, the heart of any young man will shift when you make that smile. Then the way your pranced, I did not say "walked", you pranced, literally, as though in a bounce. Then that hip that lies not . . . . My hips don't lie; recall how I quickly adapted that for you. And more so, you were very smart, those days I thought I understood Maslow' Hierarchy of Needs, Taylor's piece rate system, Hertzberg's 2 Factor Theory and all those theories of motivation and management I crammed into my smart brain in Masters, until I heard you explain them as though you were already a Prof. (I already call you a Prof. and I have acquired a nickname already " Oko professor" – the Professor’s husband). Above all, you had a heart for the Lord. You said to me that you were willing to go to go anywhere He sends me, and you are still going.
I have written several tributes to mothers. Firstly I wrote "Men Are From Dust", Then I wrote "We Called Her Thatcher", and the other day I wrote "What's The Cost of A Baby", Many women have made comments with fascination and many men are jealous of how I have captured the power of the women, our women, our wives, our mothers, our sisters, you. But all that know-how came from living with you. The way you took on the first pregnancy, then the second, then the third. The way you still hunted in the marketplace with the gorgeous stomach ensuring every child you taught made great grades, even when you had to throw up all night, in-place of day time. The way you gracefully bore the pains, those caesarean pains, the way you breastfed all night, went severally without a straight night sleep and still functioned the next day without a cup of coffee. How you have been our family doctor, our nurse, the pharmacist (thanks to Ifeanyi and Yemi, who were willing to train you no matter what time you enquired), the cook (and I love that one) making those soups that makes my mouth water right now and above all, you still had to be my lover!
8 years after, I am still in love, more in love than the first day we met. I am grateful to God that I met you, I am grateful Toyosi, Mummy Toyin and your other portable friend on E block (I recollect her voice, but her name hides in my heart) made sure you said "Yes". I am grateful all them boys housed me at the University - Leslie, Biodun, Ajala, Ifeanyi and others too awesome to forget. It was your kindness to Leslie that made me find you in the first place. I am grateful Diamond escorted me on our first trip to see your father (when we came to marry you). Most importantly, I am grateful for the mother that raised you and for the woman you have turned out to be!
I loved you yesterday, I love you more today, I’ll love you forever.
Happy Wedding Anniversary!