How Well do You Know Your Parents?

Before 1995, I really hadn’t known my old man that much! I vaguely remember my mum being called very late in the night one day in 1987 about the old man getting involved in an accident somewhere in town where he had decided to help bring down a few barriers by knocking them down. Later on that week, after being discharged from hospital where he was admitted with deep cuts on the forehead, the guy took like four days at home then afterwards declared that he was going back to work. He rarely took a break from work. In fact, in his 20 years in active employment by then, he had barely taken any meaningful leave. The most he took was a couple days during our school holidays, which he religiously used to drop us at grandma’s.

The other time I saw the guy at home for more than four days, he had succeeded, again, in trashing a second car. This time he came out with a broken leg and fractured ribs. So yes, I had a very general grasp of who the guy was. All I knew is that I never lacked a thing, a fact which I am very grateful for to date. The only people I ever saw go close to him before 1995 were my sisters, who would make it a point to climb onto his bed and plait his rather long hair every Saturday morning as he was nursing a bad hangover and just before he washed and left for the various meetings he would attend on weekends. My older bro and I would always keet our distance, not because we had any issues, but really coz we were interested in other things.

My dad has a big heart. He had taken in a number of our cousins from my mum’s side. He never favored any of us. Each and every one was treated the same. He never expected to see you at home once he had paid your fees, so at times you had to try and avoid staying at home unless some serious illness was bothering you. So somehow, I took up reading to cover for the times I was not playing or watching TV. I particularly liked the smell of books. The lady bird series. Went through them and repeated some when necessary and particularly if the writer had done a good job. This, until I discovered women! But that’s a story for another day.

So around June, 1995, we were all going about our lives the normal way when suddenly, old man thought he needed a checkup. He went to hospital but never came back the same day. We thought he would come back after a day. At most, two. Three months passed by before he came home. Some lifestyle condition was busy eating him up on the inside without his knowledge. It is then that I started knowing the man. The hospital mellowed him. Or is it the illness? He became less firm and according to doctors, would always light up any time we visited. Not that I grew any closer to him due to this, but it gave me a chance to view him at his weakest. Sickness can really change people. My old man ceased being the dictator that he was. All he wanted to do was just talk to us and tell us a whole load about things he’d never said before. Oh how he’d nearly died in his childhood because he was too playful, and instead of my grandpa celebrating his survival, beat his behind badly! The stories were very interesting anyways.

As a kid, I wasn’t drawn towards any particular parent. I was very independent and preferred telling stories to my grandma than either of the two – mum or dad. Oh, there’s my dad’s older sis who also put up at my dad’s place for some time and who doted on me. I later only came to learn that she was using me to get breaks from staying in the house. So she would say that she was taking me for a walk and just disappear with me to her boyfriend’s place. I never really got to understand why when at her boyfriend’s, the two would both disappear and leave me with a lot of snacks and movies to watch! Their loss, coz I always ate all the cookies and left them with nothing.If they had any idea what they missed! And I still don’t understand why they never bothered with cookies. Okay, maybe they just never liked them.

So my old man’s sickness got us, especially the male siblings, to understand the man. We later on became friends. Good ones. That is after he got out of hospital and started taking his leaves seriously. It was no longer “sick leave” (those accidents!). This time around, he would take time out and visit us in school. We would even go and watch AFC play Gor Mahia. After that sickness, the guy slowed down. He could no longer drink every evening after work. At any one point in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was no single night he had been at home before we slept. The most he would do after being discharged was buy a bottle of whiskey and drink at home. We would share ideas as he drunk. Other times we would argue like bros. See, he is a Man U fan, while I am an Arsenal die hard. Mum would always support the team that scored, the moment it scored, so it wasn’t odd to hear her cheer when Arsenal scored, then cheer afterwards when the other team scored too!

A couple or so months ago, I was busy with my buddies, taking my favorite poison at some joint in town when I got a call that seriously disturbed me. It was a call from the last born girl. she wanted me to go get her from home. It was three in the morning. I did not understand why, so I told her to relax, and that I would see her during the day just after church. She called again just after I had settled back on my seat and said it was urgent. So I left the boys with everything except my wallet and took a cab to my folks’ place. When I reached the gate, I found her already there, sobbing. On entering the house, my mum was seated at the dining room holding something I thought was a rungu. Couldn’t see it properly. My old man was seated on the staircase, shirt open and talking to himself! Of course he had taken more than his fair share of whiskey. I thought I was dreaming! Good thing no one had assaulted the other.

I asked them what was happening. No one wanted to talk, so I trooped upstairs and found my bro chilled out, watching some movie or something like that from a laptop. Nope, he wasn’t exactly watching. Ninja was just staring at the screen. So I asked him what was wrong. His explanation was, “ Hawa watu hawataki tulale. Wanapiga kelele hapo chini sana”. I then turned to my sister and asked her why she’d called me. A stupid question of course. Women know how to summarize stories so all she said is mum had taken over her bedroom six months before then and they were not seeing eye to eye with the old man. In fact, they had not spoken in four months or something! They only pretended to speak when visitors were around. I wondered how that had passed me given that I always make it a point to visit every fortnight.

So I walked downstairs, talked to old man, then talked to my mum. I summed up their story as a technical one and walked back upstairs. Asked the two teens if they wanted to spend in that house, and walked downstairs again, both in tow. I then called the cab guy and went back to town. I was going to pick the stuff I had left with my drinking buddies!!! Took my siblings to my place and then sat staring at the tv for four straight hours, simply letting the stories I had heard run through my mind. In between, I posted a thread here and asked for your prayers. The things I had learnt that day nearly destroyed the image of the parents I knew. Isn’t marriage a sham!

Boss sober up alafu i explain to you like a 3 year old that Marriage does work.

Hehe nice story. Very few people know their parents well.


Hehehehe. There are also some things I learnt about my parents in adulthood that till this day I find hard to believe. That’s why it is important to move out of the nest once one becomes an adult.

thanks for taking the time to post what I wanted to let out too. Mahn, marriage is not a walk in the park

true, you have no clue what they don’t want you to know or if it is what it is

I know as much. The two have been together for over four decades. The finer details is what got me! How did the two remain together despite the things I came to learn that day?! And I am very sober. Never been sharper this week actually. That is why I could write this up in less than an hour.

Excuse my innocent self,was your mom holding the rungu to beat up your dad?

When did you learn of the dirt they have been hiding?

When it comes to my parents marriage, I look at it as an uninterested observer, if they have issues it’s up to them to sort them out…That said a huge majority of marriages are extremely disfunctional, it’s just that for the older folks like our parents, divorce is not an option, there is too much lose in. What you’re going through can he hard but it’s more common than you think.

I have seen issues within families cause untold psychological suffering. Hell man. marriage is a nightmare. The pain seems to surface later in marriage when there is little one can do. Wachana na hii ingine ya twenties and thirties when important things are trips and sex. 30 year old pain surfaces later. mimi naona kama marriage imeleta kitu inauma mkiwa wadogo mnaachana tu. hakuna haja ya kusuffer for 50+ years and die of hypertension and heart disease.

I had a vague idea, but did not know it ran that deep!

I left the main house at 16. Got my own place while in year two of campus.

I know that from mine!

Hehehehe. I think that was for protection. Later got to learn that the fight was escalating too fast so mum had to arm herself :D:D:D It actually necessitated the call that I got from my sis.

I also came to learn that when kids leave the nest, marriages become a little tricky because there is more time left.

 That said a huge majority of marriages are extremely disfunctional, it's just that for the older folks like our parents, divorce is not an option, there is too much lose in.  

U nailed it, about marriages been dysfunctional, and that’s what makes the difference between the so called west, and African countries, and Some Asian countries.
U get folks in their 50’s, na weko in their 4th or 5th marriage, Trump style.

My parents are angels na mtu hawezi niambia kitu. :slight_smile: Ignorance is bliss.

(/QUOTE) Hehehehe. I think that was for protection. Later got to learn that the fight was escalating too fast so mum had to arm herself :D:D:D It actually necessitated the call that I got from my sis.

The main reason why your mum has taken over your siz bedroom is due to lack of trust. chances are high that ole-man lazima amekanyaga livewire mahali and mum is avoiding him.Just a thought!!

Mara mob sana nimefikiria kublow up fadhe

Then I grew up n understood

When kids start getting out of the picture things get hot. Issues mlikuwa nazo in your twenties zinaanza kutokelezea. Things like the other kid, the other woman, your mother in law etc. Alafu if its the man affected you will never know. He will spend time drinking and whoring mnafikiria ni uzee tu.

That said a huge majority of marriages are extremely disfunctional, it’s just that for the older folks like our parents, divorce is not an option, there is too much lose in.

Kuwa mpole, what u are implying, is that, all those days Ndume ilikuwa Inafika kwa nyumba late palikuwa na another woman, sasa Mzee energy ziko down ndio anataka mambo, lakini mama watoto Anasema, hizi vitu upati.