Queer Moms

Growing up was fun but it always bugged me why my Mom would rather I live with my grandmother than with her in the city where I have heard grandma brag about how well she was doing there, considering the amount of money and items she send for my upkeeps I am sure she wouldn’t have any problems if I lived with her. Even when she comes to visit we get to spend all days together, trying to make up for the day we missed. She shows me off to anyone that mattered and takes me everywhere with her which ruled out the option of her being ashamed of me but I was still bothered about why she doesn’t want me to live with her.


One time I garnered the courage to ask despite my Grandma’s warnings not to, she didn’t react how I had envisioned, only said I would come when we are both ready and even though I didn’t know what that meant I was willing to wait for the right time.


After my Junior Secondary promotion examinations, I was finally invited to spend the holidays with my mom since grandma was travelling to America for a medical visit with my uncles. You see, grandma has three children and my mom is her only girl. According to Grandma, Mom was the apple of the family’s eyes until she began to “rebel” against everything and everyone when she was in the university while living with her older brothers. I tried to get more details but everyone around me seems to have so much to hide which made me even more curious.


Just like I imagined, my Mom is doing quite well herself in the city. The small estate and the neighbourhood are not cheap and the furnishing in her flat had me staring around for a few minutes. It has two bedrooms and I imagined I would share my Mom’s bedroom since her friend is obviously occupying the other one but I was wrong. The spare room was for me because Mom and her friend share Mom’s room.


Mom introduced Phils and me at the dinner table, she introduced her as “her Partner” and I couldn’t help to wonder what type of business they do together that warrants them to live together and once again I was thrown into a new confusion about who my mother really is. Then I learnt they don’t do business together. Phils runs her business and Mom mentioned it is solely hers while Mom is the Vice President of a Tech company.


On a ride from the supermarket one evening I asked my Mom what business they did together, she turned to catch the look on my face and I’m sure she saw the confusion written therein because she looked even more helplessly at me as soon as our eyes met, pursed for an unnecessary amount of minutes before she took a deep breath and sighed.

“I wish I know how to explain these things to you, not that it bothers me what people think of how I live my life but you are my child and it’s important to me that we are cool” she explained while holding my palm in one hand while she drove with one. I wasn’t sure if I understood what she said and her reason for holding back on me but I didn’t push it because grandma says it’s an act of kindness to allow people to share things with you only when they are ready for it.


The next day was a Saturday and I typically slept in even after the alarm in my room went off. I could hear sound in the kitchen and I was certain Mom and Phils are in the kitchen together. There was so much laughter and talking while they clatter dishes and utensils. I couldn’t take the noise anymore and was forced to go join them in the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen to my Mom and Phils kissing by the sink, I think I froze as I kept urging my body to move but I couldn’t get it to. It didn’t feel awkward but it was some sort of surprising. I didn’t think women are supposed to kiss one another. Just as I was about to get my body to move my Mom caught sight of me and tapped Phils to stop.


At the breakfast table, my Mom kept asking if I was okay and even mentioned that if it becomes uncomfortable for me to stay with them she can always take me back home but I didn’t want to go home as I am enjoying every single day being her child and sharing same space with her. I was resting in my room after breakfast and dishes when Mom and Phils walked into my room, almost hand-in-hand, like they need each other for whatever they are about to say or do to me.


My Mom sat next to me on the bed while Phils drew the chair from the desk and sat opposite us, looking at my Mom as if nudging her to go ahead and speak. Holding my hands and almost close to tears my Mom finally found her tongue.

“I know I have been postponing telling you the real gist of why I have lived my life away from everybody especially my family, most importantly you. I’m sorry I kept thinking you are too young to understand but I think I was even more scared that you would become disappointed in me like everybody else and I won’t lie, I really need you to like me because you are one of the few things that brighten my life” Now she stopped holding back the tears and let it drop which made Phils and I cry too.


“I am so sorry I have kept you in the dark about who you truly are and why your life and mine have been as awkward as it is, it’s because I got tired of fighting everybody and trying to let them see me beyond who I love and sleep with” I became apprehensive and many questions flooded my head and this time around I decided to ask her instead of trying to process them myself.

“I’m not a baby anymore Mom, I’m 14 and there’s nothing I can’t process so please help me understand so I can stop feeling like I’m always in places I am not wanted,” I said crying and literally begging. She squeezed my hand so hard.

“I am so sorry I made you feel that way Baby, if I had any other choice I would hold you in my hands all the days of your life because I love you more than life itself Idaha, your name means the Essence of Life and that’s what you are to me” she continues to reassure me and I know she means every word of it.

“I left home at 16 immediately after Secondary School to join uncle Ossy in the US as he had just gotten a job after Med School as a Dr; our Dad had begged him to help me find my bearing as he felt Nigeria was not good for me. While in Uni there my authentic self began to manifest and I was growing in ways I didn’t know was possible to grow in for the first time at 21, I fell in love, with a girl” she paused to catch the momentum and the look on my face because my face lit up like my eyes were going to fall off but she waited for me to digest that level before moving on, before she continued.

“Osas found out because he walked in on us in my room one day and before I could say Jack he already called home and outted me to our parents, and all hell broke. They let me stay in the US to finish my studies and a few days after my finals I was handed a ticket, before long I was headed back home, heartbroken and lost As soon as I got home I was forced into a marriage with a man I barely knew, I tried my best to fight them, I fought with everything I could but my father threatened to disown me so I married him, your father, he wasn’t a bad guy, I only didn’t like that he was my parent’s puppet. I managed to stay married for five months, the most difficult six months of my life emotionally, after which I realised I’ve been depressed and rarely happy so one day I packed up and left Benin for Port Harcourt, I found a job almost immediately and a month later when I realised I was pregnant, with you. I didn’t tell any of them until you were three years when I took you home for my Dad’s funeral. My Mom was happy to have another girl who isn’t me and once again connived with your father to take you from me, he sued for custody with the option of leaving you with my mom so I don’t turn you into a lesbian as well especially since you are a girl” she broke down once again cried even more than she has since we started talking, all the while Phils held her when she cried, rubbed her legs while she’s catching hhher breathe or whispered in her ears when she couldn’t continue. She picked herself up once more and continued.

“I tried my best to fight for you Idaha but how do you fight your family and the father of your child so I did the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life which was leaving you in Benin with my mother but she swore to me she would take care of you as if she birthed you because according to her “what’s the difference?” she is my mother and I love her too even if she feels my sexuality is a slap to her religious and social face”.

“After I moved to Port Harcourt I met Phils at a joint meeting and that was it” she gently grabbed Phil’s hands, interlocking them with hers and smiling for the first time since they walked into the room, she looked up at me and continued “I don’t know what you have been taught about gay and God but Phils is the best thing that has happened to me after you and I don’t look over my shoulders with her, I feel safe and she is kind to me and it would mean the world to me if both of you get along and at least like each other because I truly love her and she feels same way about me. So I am sorry about how you saw us in the kitchen earlier, I wanted to talk to you before anything else but then life happens”.

At this point, it was obvious she was done talking and was expecting me to say something but I had nothing to say, I needed to process it all but Phils came to my rescue by speaking instead, I guess she saw my struggles.

“I know all of these can be overwhelming and I understand how confused you might be at this moment so take your time to process them, don’t allow yourself to be rushed into saying something immediately. On my part, I am super open to being your friend, I’ve watched you grow and you have motivated us both to work hard for when we start having our own kids and it’ll be an honour to take that step with you as their big sister to hold their hands and help us raise them and hey! If you decide you don’t want to go back to Benin, you can live here with us; all you have to do is say the words. We love you, I love you and I know we will be great friends but I don’t want to force you to do anything you don’t want to do but this is your home too and I hope you feel at home regardless of how you feel about the relationship between your mother and me. Ida, I love your Mom and would do anything to make her happy so I hope you give me a chance in your heart”.

I still had nothing to say. I think Phils was right, I needed to process this new information and make up my mind about how I feel about any of them. I said the same to them and they both understood and asked me to take all the time I need.


In between my holidays, we had many fun days and by the end of
 my holidays I knew I wanted to live the rest of my life with my Mom in my life and surrounded by the love she shares with Phils so I stayed in Port Harcourt. It was not much of a deal for the rest of the family and my Dad since Grandma decided to stay longer in the US.


It doesn’t feel any different way having queer Moms; they both prioritize me and take turns making sure my life is on the right path. We overshare information too but I think it’s cool to gist my Moms about literally everything and they don’t make it feel weird, plus I get to steal plenty of T-shirts from their wardrobe which is a win for us all.

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