Mom Had A Second Valentine’s Day –
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Mom Had A Second Valentine’s Day

I was fifteen when my mom told me the story of my birth, how she met my father and her first-ever Valentine’s Day celebration.

My father had returned from abroad when he saw my mom, a pretty young lady in her early twenties. My mom didn’t know anything about him, not even his name. After they introduced themselves to each other, my father then invited my mom to a party. It was a Val’s Day party where a lot of rich men and women converged to make the night memorable.

That was the night my dad proposed to my mom. Maybe she was caught up in the glitz of the night or it was just her young adolescent hormones acting up. She said yes and a full-blown relationship began.

My dad could disappear for a week without my mom knowing where he was. Each time he came back, he told a story of ports and harbours; how he was following up on his containers and how everything was delaying.

It was the year 2001. Phones were not a mainstream thing. When your love interest went missing, you went around asking people if they had seen him or her around. My mom, as naive as she could be, knew very little of my dad. Apart from a friend and a schoolmate, my mom knew nothing about my dad. They stayed together for a couple of months until my mom got pregnant. By the time she realized she was pregnant, my dad had disappeared for over a week. The next time she saw him, my mom was almost two months pregnant. Everyone knew about it and was waiting for my dad to come and claim the fruit of the seed he planted.

When he reappeared and was given the news, the first thing he did was deny it. The next thing he did was convince my mom to get rid of the baby, I mean me. When my mom said no, he gave my mom the most shocking news she had ever heard since they started dating; “I’m married. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. When you give birth for me, I’m sorry you’ll have to hide it. If you can’t do that then we better think of another option.”

The only option in my mom’s head was to give birth, whether or not he was going to be around. My dad used to come around. He would bring money and other items to my mom. He agreed to be a father as long as his family wouldn’t know about it. According to my mom, he came back to being lovely, a provider and an anchor once my mom accepted the deal. He would disappear and reappear but my mom understood it so she didn’t fight him about it.

On the 13th of February 2001, my mom was in labour. She was struggling, losing her breath and strength trying to push me out. I wasn’t coming. Maybe I had a glimpse of the hardship of this world and decided not to come after all. When she pushed, I pulled. My dad was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared for over a week. At the stroke of midnight hour of the 14th of February 2001, I landed. I looked around and saw the faces of only women. “Where’s the man who made me,“ I might have asked. When I didn’t see him, I gave out a loud cry.

I didn’t see my dad until I was a month old. According to my mom, when he asked him where he was on the 13th of February, he told her, “I was getting ready to celebrate Valentine’s with the family.” “When I was at the brink of death, you were out there chopping love? I know you don’t care about me but don’t you care about what I was carrying for you?” Mom queried.

My dad had no answer. I was in the cot wiggling my legs and hands, happy to hear a man’s voice but according to my mom, this man didn’t look at me. He turned and walked away as if I didn’t exist in his world. From that day, my mom decided to cut him off and soldier on all alone.

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On every Valentine’s Day when it’s my birthday, my mom would reminisce about her first and last ever Val’s Day and say something like, “That idiot, wherever he is, God sees him and I know he’s dealing with him on my behalf.” She says it with yearning in her eyes. As if she misses something. What could she be missing? I wondered some time. My dad? I doubt. The feeling of being loved on Val’s Day? Probably.

So last two years, I saved some money. I pitched the idea to four of my friends, who also agreed to support me in kind and cash. I bought my mom a new dress. I took her to the shop myself and she chose what she wanted. When she put it on, my friend Efia screamed, “She can get a boyfriend if we take her out. She’s still beautiful.” My mom couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror like she had forgotten about herself. She kept asking, “Are you girls sure I look good.” When we nodded, she told us, “I believe you but where did you say we are going?”

I lied it was a school program. I was going to receive an award and I wanted her to be there. She bought into it wholeheartedly and even whispered it to her friends.

On the calm night of 14th February 2022, I took an Uber with my mom sitting next to me, looking like an ageing princess who didn’t want to give up her youth. She asked, “And they decided to award you on your birthday?” I answered, “They don’t know that. So it’s two in one.”

When we got to the hotel, my friends were already seated waiting for us. She realized things were not as I told her. She looked at me with suspicious eyes. I told her, “We brought you here for Valentine’s night. You’re our date. Enjoy whatever you want to. It’s on us.”

“Did you have to do all that for me? It’s your birthday and not mine.” She said.

She tried making it my birthday but we didn’t agree. When the cake arrived and she saw her name on it, she burst into tears. She buried her face in her palms for several seconds. Her hands were shaking when we gave her the knife. She made a small cut into the cake as if she didn’t want to hurt the cake. She hugged me and hugged my friends. She couldn’t stop saying thank you.

The next morning, she called to say thank you. She called all my friends and said thank you to them too. “You made me remember my youthful days,” she said. “Thank you and may God replenish you.”

When my dad faded from the picture, she gave up on love. She dedicated her life to taking care of me but her parents didn’t agree so she accepted a proposal from a son of my father’s friend. They got married in no time and gave birth to my brother. I was eleven years old. That marriage lasted for six years and finally came to an end when my mother said enough was enough.

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Again, she gave up on love but it looks like age has abandoned her so she still has everything to attract a man. She tells me she’s not willing to start life all over again and train another man on how to love her kids. She would rather do it alone. She’s not alone. Never alone because she has me as a soldier fighting next to her. I hope one day I’m able to give her all the love she lost because of me. I just hope that one day comes as soon as possible.


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