Definition of Key terms
Poor: person who has been very unlucky in life and can qualify for candidature as Ma’s honeybun
Broke: dude who has blown all the opportunities he’s had; likes to delude himself he’s a big shot.
When my dad passed a decade ago, I didn’t want my mother to re-marry; no one could take over my dad’s place and I certainly didn’t want some patronising, middle-aged man to enter our home, pat my head, and suggest I call him “Da”.
Back then, I thought of Ma only as a mother; I didn’t see her as a woman who needed love from other people beside her kids. I didn’t understand, or want to understand, that she could get lonely. If she ever was to get lonely, she had me and my siblings to fall back on.
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You will forgive me, I hope, for my juvenile jealousies; you will forgive me for thinking that I was the very sun around which my mother’s love was to revolve. As I grow into a woman, watching my younger siblings leave the nest of our home one after the other, I have come to earnestly hope that she meets a decent man she can settle down with.
I have thought seriously about setting Ma up with a date, God knows the woman is used to living alone and won’t mind continuing to do so. When I do get round to hooking my mother up with some of the fine older men I know, that man is not going to be broke.
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No broke dude for Ma. Period. No further discussions, thank you very much.
Normally, I have no problem with a broke man. I personally won’t marry for money alone; I think there are nobler reasons than money when it comes to marriage. I can marry a struggling student or artist, and I will be just. Am I contradicting myself then? Why do I insist my mother end up with a man with a sound financial standing if money isn’t a big decider in my personal relationships?
The reason is pretty simple: I believe that there comes a point in a woman’s life where she ought not have the tolerance to deal with a man her age or older who is still broke, jobless and possibly homeless. If my mother were younger, I wouldn’t mind seeing her settle down with a broke man.
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Youth means time and strength to build a secure future from scratch. But Ma isn’t young, she’s in her late 50’s; it will be unfortunate to see her support a full grown man on an income she should be very wisely investing in a pension fund. A man with no job or a modest thatch-house to call his own will be a boulder around her neck, pulling her down and leeching off her every step of the way.
There is a second reason why my vote goes with the guy who has his own something-something to fall back on in hard times. I think it is a sign of poor planning, sluggishness and general irresponsibility for a 45 year+ man to be unable to account for all the years and energies God blessed him with.
What were the life choices he made? Why has he been unable to hold down a job and rent a decent place? Did he drink his opportunities away, or gamble it away perhaps? It could be any of these reasons; what is sure is that such a man is a high-risk investment Ma and I cannot afford to make.
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Finally, Ma has been through a lot, and as such she deserves the very best of pampering. She took care of my siblings and me all by herself; she never said “Mum vacation. You guys can figure yourselves out. Bye”.
Every day, she counted her pesewas and pinched her pennies so we could have food on the table. For all she has done, I promise on all I hold dear to give her the best life can offer.
In the meantime, while I get my house in order, I wouldn’t mind seeing a dandy old-school man screeching up our driveway with his neat 2002 Toyota Camry (at the very least) to whip my Ma off in a whirlwind of girlish dreams. If you’re not coming around to facilitate Ma’s pampering, you need not apply. We do not plan to split her pension in two, looking after you with one half.
By Dede Williams