Reflecting on Building Relationships

I have several positive relationships with several people in my life.  These people include my husband, my five children, my siblings, my friends and close relatives.

 My husband is my closest friend, he is a great inspirator and supporter.  When I have something on my mind, he’s the one I would share it with after I have prayed and talked to God about it.  We got married when I was 21 and he was 25 and we have been married now for 31 years. I have found that in order to maintain our relationship and make it strong, we have had to work on our communication skills. I have found that this has been the key to working out differences.  This aspect on communication had always been my challenge being a shy person and lazy in communicating my feelings.  I am grateful for being married to my husband because it has been a ground for character building and maturity for me. With my personality it was easy to walk away from situations and not deal with them but being married has helped me to see that if the relationship is important it is important to engage in conversation even if it’s uncomfortable. We have definitely grown up together and I really can’t imagine life without our union.

My husband and me

My children are very dear to me, I have five of them. Nina is my firstborn, now a 30 year old young woman, Ikenna is my second, now a 26 year old young man.  Udochi is my third now 23, Chiso is my fourth who would be turning 18 in a couple of days and Uchenna is my last born who is 14 years old.  Each one is unique in personality.  I can’t imagine life without any of them, since each of them were born, I have watched them develop and grow to become unique individuals our relationships have evolved.  I was clueless on what to do when I had my firstborn, Nina but I am grateful that I had my mother who was a great example to me. My relationships with each of my children has evolved from when were younger to when they became older.  When they were young infants and toddlers, it was caregiving, bonding, guiding and supporting them and when they grew up into young men and women it has been becoming friend and confidant to them.  Through the years I have been getting to know each person and their personalities, gifts, strengths each of them brings.  Helping them develop those gifts to the best of my ability. It’s been an opportunity for me to develop character and learn different things from each child.   I have learnt to reflect and become more introspective to realize what is lacking and what is needed to parent them better.  As 3 of them have become young adults, I have learnt to modify my approach from dealing with children to dealing with adults who are responsible for making their own decisions.  I have exercised trusting God to remind them and guide them to do the right thing.  Holding my tongue and waiting for the best opportunity to have conversations about issues.

My beautiful children

My mother is another person whose relationship I really treasure.  I can’t imagine being the person I am today without her in my life.  I remember, I always felt very secure when she was around.  She and my father were divorced when I was around 7 years old, looking back now and thinking about all the responsibilities she had, she always made it look like the world was all together.  I compare with what I experienced with my dad and I see that she always allowed me to be myself and I was very comfortable with being myself around her.  I could tell her what was bothering me and how I felt about issues.  I saw her as a provider, protector, and when I grew older a guide and friend. She passed away when I was in my mid-twenties but when she was still alive, was very instrumental in guiding me to care for my first 2 children.  I looked up to her and had always valued her presence in my life especially as I became a mother.  She was one of my main sources of inspiration and I wanted to grow up to be like her in many ways.

My mother, My husband, 1st daughter and me

Among my other precious siblings, Vera, Anton, Junior, George and Tutu, I hold my younger sister very dear.  She is 6 years younger and I always saw her as a precious one who needed to be protected and cared for.  As we grew older and settled across the continent from each other (my sister lives in Cameroon, Africa), we have kept in touch often.  I talk to her at least twice a week and see her and her family once a year as she comes to the States every year during the summer.  I have found that in order to keep our relationship strong as sisters, it requires us keeping in touch and being there for each other in the good times and in the bad times as well.

My sister, Nadya and me

Among other dear friends, is my dear friend Bunmi.   She’s been my close friend since I met my husband at 21.  She’s his cousin, but we became very good friends.  I can’t think of any important event that I had that she was not at.  She’s been a great friend, confidant and support.  She lives in a different state from us but I have found that to maintain this relationship we have had to call each other often and visit sometimes.  Our children have also been friends from childhood and maintain close relationships, they plan trips together and see each other often.  This relationship has enriched my  life and the lives of our families.

My friend, Bunmi and me