18 Sep More Than a Woman (Final Part)
That was the beginning for her. She was a full-time stay-in staff who only had to go to the market to shop for food to cook for her boss, and his staff of five. The staff is made up of two cleaners and a gardener which came and went except the gateman, and the driver. She had enough experience cooking meals of large quantity and this was far easier. Her daughter was also driven to school and back. For the first time in her life she was happy.
She was driven to and from the market every time she needed to get the things she needed to cook, which was every day because her boss only ate fresh food prepared on that day. Everything which remained to the next day had to be thrown away.
The remaining food never got thrown away though, because the other staff who didn’t live in the house usually take them home to their families. The staff stay late because of this as they wait for their boss to eat and go to bed, so they can take the leftover food home.
She was able to save more than ninety percent of her salary since she had very little to do with her money. What little money she spent, she spent on her daughter, getting her gifts, clothes and snacks. She didn’t need much herself, because she had three sets of similar uniforms which she is required to wear as a staff.
When her boss died three years after she started working with him, she had saved enough money to not only rent an apartment, but to also open her own restaurant. She put all the modern table manners and skills she had learnt from her dead boss – who had exquisite taste – into her business.
With time, her restaurant grew into two, and from two it became three and continued increasing in number. When she returned to her village to see her mother. The whole village was shut down. Her father and her former husband as she considered him couldn’t look her in the face.
She told her mother, and her brother who is her mother’s only other child to come live with her. Her mother refused the offer telling her she was married to her father and wouldn’t leave him. But she encouraged her brother to go with her. She never had a chance to go to school, but she made sure he got great education.
Five years after she opened her own restaurant, her husband wanted to claim her daughter, but she would have none of it. She took him to court and got a divorce from him in a magistrate court which also gave her full custody of her daughter. She warned him never to come anywhere near her, or her daughter, or she was going to deal with him.
She never got the opportunity to remarry, but she was okay with it. She lived for her daughter. She did everything within her power to ensure her daughter would never suffer any of the things she suffered. She made sure of that.
Now today, the day of her daughter’s marriage ceremony was the crowning day of her achievements. Her daughter was getting married after graduating as a lawyer. She was getting married to a liberal minded man. Her daughter loved her husband, but she also knew her worth and wasn’t going to be abused by any man.
She taught her daughter never to strive for her mother’s type of life, but to do everything possible to have a great home filled with love. This she made sure she repeated almost daily to her, while she was growing up.
When her daughter came out to meet the families and friends who were gathered, and waiting for her. She knelt before her mother who kissed her on her forehead and blessed her. She prayed for her home to be filled with love and for her to have everything her mother never had.
It was a heartfelt prayer which brought tears to the eyes of everyone present. When she finished praying, there were no dry eyes in the gathering. She stood up and raised her daughter up to an applause.
This was her crowning moment. She had succeeded in bringing up a daughter as a single mother despite all the odds against her. She had never been happier. This was the happiest moment of her life and she was going to treasure it forever.
By Oluwaseyi Olusanya