My cousin Gerald has visited again. This time, he is staying for one month to buy all the necessities for his first year at the University. Dad would be funding it as usual. I and my five siblings have gotten used to seeing my dad fund his nephews’ education while my uncle did his best to keep populating the world.
My mum wasn’t against dad helping his nephews, but she kept prodding dad to save some money for his own children’s education as well since we were all still quite young. Dad didn’t understand her. He believed that if he gives the best to his brother’s children, his brother or maybe someone else would do the same for him. In truth, I think he never really envisaged that his business would go under before his own kids were grown – he was so sure of this that he asked mum to resign from her government job as a teacher. Unfortunately, the business stopped doing well and thank God mum didn’t resign.
Growing up, I and my siblings lived a life of managing. Dad became a sad version of himself especially when we asked for money for the basic needs as students. It was almost as though we shouldn’t ‘need’ anything. Back in the University, we weren’t the kids that carried the latest phones, or wore the best clothes or even had the required textbooks. We were the kids that made do and never complained.
Mum soon took over the financial reigns as dad’s business completely crumbled. Seeing her struggles fostered some form of discipline in us all to succeed and make her and dad proud. Did my uncle finally help out financially? I wish. He never even looked our way again.
Somehow, we all scraped and managed till today. Today, I own a multimillion naira apparel business alongside my lucrative consulting role in an Oil and Gas firm while my other siblings are doing good in their careers and businesses.
Every day I remember how we all got here. How mum put in her sweat and blood – and how dad miscalculated with his finances and when we were little.
Yes, we all turned out well, but would we have if mum didn’t make all the sacrifice? What if dad had saved for our education like mum persuaded him to? I know a lot of people will say that the struggle made us better people. That is true only because of the upbringing mum gave us and her kind of woman. I’ve seen families that went through what we did, and it shattered their future.
I’ll be a fool to allow the thunder strike twice in the same place. That is why the moment our twins were born four years ago, I got an education plan for them as well as a trust fund. Life has taught me enough lessons, so I know better than to leave anything to chance.
I still take care of needs from extended family but at least I’m at peace knowing my wife and children will never have to struggle through life like I did.