Giving birth to four children was not very easy. Having to raise them was even less easy. Did I mention they are all boys? I think the first round of blame should be given to my husband and I. After the first two boys, we should have stopped. But I always wanted a daughter so we tried again and bam; another boy. This time we swore we were done. Two of the boys were toddlers already and I could already tell we were in for a lot of trouble with three.
Well, you know how these things go. One night we got too excited over my new Benz and in two months we found out we were expecting a fourth child.
Okay, we only had to hope and pray it was a girl. It wasn’t. Another boy and we had a quadruple of them.
Raising them was the most strenuous thing I think I’d ever have to do. The pains of labor could not be compared to the pains of rearing. There were the nights when they couldn’t sleep because they were high on sugar. There were the days when we had the Royal Rumble in the house. These fights weren’t scripted at all and believe it or not sometimes the youngest won some fights. There were days when instead of jumping in to stop them from fighting, I just sat down and watched. It was easier to tend their wounds than stop the boys from getting them.
But then they began to grow and I began to see a bond between them. They did everything together. Except eat. Eating together was usually the start of the Royal Rumble. They went to school and came back together. They even surprised me and my husband with a song on our wedding anniversary once. It was beautiful, I cried all day. That was not the only time they sang. They sang in church as a quartet, sang in the neighborhood carol, I was so proud of them.
Sometimes they used their unity for bad too.
A boy from down the street once insulted the baby of the house, he just nodded and left. Two days later, they cornered the boy and told him to apologize to their brother. When the refused, they beat him up but still didn’t leave until he apologized. And they made him apologize every day for a whole week. I scolded them for getting into the fight and their father did a little more than scold them, actually a lot more, but I was proud of their unity.
Years went by and they sped through school like it was a Formula 1 race. They aced their classes, graduated with honors, I couldn’t have been prouder as a mother. I still sometimes wished for a girl but I loved my boys.
But the years had done something to the boys, they were no longer as united. They all got super busy with their lives, making money, buying cars, living their dreams. I was happy they were successful but I missed the unity and oneness they used to have.
They rarely came home and when they did, it was never at the same time. They were not fighting, they always told me but everybody was just busy, they would say. Their father, my husband said it was okay, that boys didn’t show their closeness the same way girls did it. I nodded along but I was deeply concerned.
Then Bolaji, the eldest decided it was time to get married. This time they all didn’t have a choice, they had to come home at the same time. They came, greeted each other like everything was fine but it wasn’t. I could sense a rivalry between them. They all brought home their best cars and their ladies. They never mentioned anything about a competition but as their mother I could see it clearly. I wanted to do something but my husband warned me against it. He said all they needed was something to bring them all together. And until that happened, I couldn’t force them to do anything.
Fortunately, the thing that would bring them together wasn’t long in coming.
It was the evening of the bachelor’s eve. They had washed their cars and parked outside the compound waiting for the time they would leave. I was standing outside when a car sped by, ran into a porthole and splashed dirty water all over Bolaji’s car.
“Guy, what the heck?” Bolaji shouted in the direction of the car.
This was no big deal, mistakes happen but the man in the car scrolled down his window and gave Bolaji the middle finger. I could see the rage in Bolaji’s face but the other boys didn’t care. I even saw one of them smile.
That was it, I couldn’t take it anymore. I waited for them while they were at their bachelor’s eve. I was going to let them have it. What had happened to my boys?
It was almost midnight when they came back but I was waiting for them in the living room. As soon as they entered…
“Sit down all of you.” I said.
“Mom, it’s a little late and I’m very sleepy.”
“I said sit down!”
They knew that tone, they sat.
“What is wrong with you? What happened to the four of you?”
“How do you mean?” Bolaji asked.
“What happened to my boys? What happened to the bond between you? You boys used to be best friends, you used to fight for each other.”
Bolaji stood and put an arm around my shoulder.
“We already told you everything is fine. We are guys, we know where we meet. You have nothing to worry about?”
I removed his arm from my shoulder. “How can you say that? Somebody splashed water on your car today, insulted you on top of it, what did your brothers do? Nothing.”
“So you would have wanted us to chase him and beat him up?”
“Yes.” I said then shook my head. “No, not that. I just wanted to see that your brothers were concerned at all.”
“Mom, look out through the window.” Bolaji said.
“Just look out through the window.”
I opened the window and looked out. There was a man outside washing Bolaji’s car.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“That is the guy who splashed the water. He’s going to wash the four cars tonight then come back and wash them again tomorrow morning.”
“What? You beat him up?”
“You don’t need to know the details but let’s just say there things four boys can do that one boy cannot.”