Dobale fun Stepmother E (Prostrate for Your Stepmother)

Johnson Babalola
July 6, 2023

Mys KL for the sake of this story. KL has lived in the US for twenty-five years with his family. His two siblings also live in the US with their families too. They were sent to the US to study by their parents, and they had stayed back.

So, KL’s father who lived in Nigeria was sick and was admitted into a hospital.  KL called my friend to help visit his dad, given that my friend was like a son to KL’s father too. They were close family friends.

The hospital was a high end one in a posh part of Lagos. My friend was not surprised since KL’s father was not a poor man. At the hospital reception, my friend was directed to a private room. He was informed daddy, as he referred to KL’s father, was expecting him.

He knocked on the door, and daddy’s response was humorous as always: “come in if you are good looking and rich.” My friend questioned if daddy was truly ill. Then he entered and was shocked to see a beautiful woman who would probably be in her forties seated on the bed holding daddy’s left hand. She must be a relation, my friend thought to himself for a second. Then he heard daddy’s voice: “dobale fun stepmother e” (prostrate for your stepmother!). You see, prostration in the Yoruba culture, is a sign of ultimate respect for someone based on age, class, and position. At this time, my friend was 58 years old. Daddy was about 81 years of age. In my friend’s mind, to be asked by daddy, a man he respected, to prostrate for the woman who was younger than him, signified that there was a special relationship between daddy and her, and daddy simply wanted him to show a high degree of respect to the woman, who had just been referred to as daddy’s spouse.  So, my friend first fully prostrated for daddy and half bent for the woman. The woman in return, half knelt for my friend.

My friend kept his emotions in check. “How are you sir?”, he asked daddy. ” As you can see, I am in hospital, but I am getting better,” daddy responded but he was not done yet. He continued: “If not for this beautiful woman here, I would have been dead. Your friend that I suffered for all my life, chose to stay in the US with his family and siblings.  He only visits once in five years for a week each time. His siblings don’t even come at all. I used to visit them but in my old age, I am done with that. The most painful part is that their mother, a woman I had loved with all my heart, who promised to be with me till death do us part, left me alone 9 years ago. She left to help care for your friend’s last child. She promised to spend 4 months. Then she started moving from one child to the other to help raise their children. Then they started working on permanent residency visa for her. In all of these, I was only informed. I was never a part of the discussion.  I was 72 years old when she left. I am 81 years old now. I was abandoned and became lonely. Yes, I have house helps, drivers and gardeners but it was not the same as having your family around you. The children and their mom had zero thoughts about me and my feelings. Well, there was this restaurant where I would visit once a week to eat well made Nigerian foods. That was where I met your stepmother about a year ago. While your friend, his siblings and mother video called me to celebrate my 80th birthday, my beautiful partner here was there in person. She has cared for me in every way possible.  But for her, I would have been dead. Please thank her for me. Your friend and his people are not aware of her presence in my life but now that you know, it does not matter. I deserve to be happy for the rest of my life. I spent most of my life caring for my parents, siblings, extended family members, children, and spouse.  I want to spend whatever is left of my life to care for myself and be happy …. for me.”

“Thanks, daddy, for trusting me with all you said. You deserve to be happy sir. I will let my friend know. Madam, thank you for caring for daddy. May you have care and support from your loved ones in your old age.”

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.