The Day We Took That Family Picture

Photo credit: Getty Image


Obidike Peter

It was early morning on Saturday and we took off on a trip to attend a family wedding ceremony but first we had to close that gap! For two years and that's ever since she was born, up until about a year or so ago, she became conscious of her space and started dragging with everyone else for her rights in the house.

She always had got away with it every time with some bouts of cry for the issues that the other siblings will not give up on easily.

The crying bouts meant daddy or mummy would have to come to her rescue with the almost certain verdict of giving her the victory she longs for.  But in all the struggles, the one she could not handle was that picture on the wall! With her recent arrival in 2015, it was nobody’s fault she was not in the family portrait hanging right there on the wall just by the side of the television and another opposite, for good measure.

"See 'deyaa'" she would tell anyone who cared to listen as she introduces the people in the picture, first pointing to her big sister who served more as a role model to her and to many other kids unknowingly. "Who is this?" I would ask pointing to myself or her mum, and “daddy” or “mummy” will be the response, accompanied by that glow of excitement that fills her as she gets that acknowledgment of having passed a Cambridge exam. So where is “maama” as she is fondly called at home?

The poor girl will smile as she has no response to why she was not in the picture hanging on the wall but I know deep inside her she would want to feature in that space and I was determined to fight for her space this time without waiting for another bout of crying.

The school holidays provided a good time to rectify the problem with that picture on the wall and we made plans for the family photo shoot. We were so excited to do the shooting that we forgot people did not come out for business early enough. We were already up by 8 o’clock in the morning since we needed to do it before embarking on the journey of about three hours to the wedding.

 Our planned photo studio was not open hence we were left with no choice than to drive around town to find one that was open and we were lucky to find, did our shoot and in no time at all, were on our way to the wedding. With the video shoot over, “deyaa” opted to change her dress so she would no longer wear the “Ashebi” (similar dress) we all had.

 At her age, I was not surprised she was not cut out for such fancy, where an entire family would wear the same dress and cause all eyes to turn for a look at the group at every junction. In fact, at the first place we went to make enquiries of a studio, the eyes that turned to look at us almost caught me unawares, and to an extent was embarrassing for the kids who complained I was using them to “shine” or show off since I giggled at the folks who looked on.

 A particular woman said “you all look beautiful” as she smiled at the colourful red dress we wore and the line up of different heights from daddy to the little one. I could connect with the kids and their frustrations of not wanting to be seen in “ashebi” because I had been in that situation as a kid watching my dad smile with pride at every opportunity to introduce his kids to a friend or colleague. And who can deny these hard working daddies that joy and pride?

As part of the wonders of a family “Ashebi”, we had a smooth sail through the highly policed Port Harcourt-Owerri road where you have at least a check point every kilometre, and I am not exaggerating here. It started with the road safety official who on flagging us down asked, “shebi na village una de go?” 

“Yes, na village we de go” as I smiled, equating wedding and village as same thing to cut the story short. “Okay, safe journey" he said as we drove past the check all smiling to the magic a beautifully coloured family “ashebi” can do.

 It totally disarmed the security officers with their guns. Immediately after the experience of that magic, I looked behind and told “deyaa” that she was "spoiling our market” of a happy family that wears “ashebi” together to show it! I threatened to label her our house help in case anyone asked why she was not in the same dress.

It was no surprise to me that no police check point stopped us all through that journey and it lent credence to one thing for me. All of us humans appreciate the good symbolized by the unity of the family.

In my mind, I made a mental note to see the person who will stop us seeing how lovely looking we were. I have always believed that most humans are good people and the bad ones are in the minority though they make the most noise. To me personally, such a security officer who will see how colourful we were and go ahead to stop us will really be a bad person (discounting the need for being unbiased as per security) or is having a terribly bad day, and true to my hypothesis, our security officers are all good people and none stopped us!

With our return from the wedding and collection of the soft copies, the next step is to get the printing done but that will have to wait until we sort out the school fees, and I know “maama” will agree with me. But even as we await the printing, we can already share on facebook and instagram so that even a much wider audience will know that “maama” is now on the family portrait on the wall even if it means virtually for now! And so we shared and the “likes” kept coming.

This time more than any number of “likes” I had ever got for a post and it was all commentaries on how “maama” stole the show with her pose in that pic. Little did the audience know it was indeed a claiming of her place in their hearts, just as she had done at home.

The Day We Took That Family Picture The Day We Took That Family Picture Reviewed by Elora Akpotosevbe on October 16, 2017 Rating: 5

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