I grew up on two different continents, in two contending cultures. I’m a recent single mom raising some fantastic little humans. A public interest lawyer and advocate for the vulnerable. An unapologetic lover of the Three C’s – coffee, community and crunchy tacos (oh…and ice.) Hello friends and fellow mothers! My name is Ime. I’m not a professional writer, but I have a story to tell.
Like all of us here, I am a unique composite of life experiences and changes. My parents emigrated from Nigeria in the 1970s to pursue their university studies. They settled in the Midwest and quickly established our family, living in a community of fellow international students.
Since it was important to my parents that we (their children) integrate into our African heritage, we moved back to Nigeria just as I prepared to enter the 3rd grade. Despite the drastic cultural change, memories of my childhood in Nigeria are truly sweet. One of the most beautiful aspects of Nigerian culture is the careful and intentional handling of family and community. People rarely live unto themselves, and my siblings and I were raised to esteem importance of contributing to the larger family structure, our immediate community and the greater society.
After some years, we returned to the States and our seemingly complete family fell apart along with my parents’ marriage. The resulting pain impacted my life in deeper ways than I can freely tell.
Opportunity knocked, and I moved to New York City to live with my mother — a move which led to significant change for me. New York City had an appeal and rhythm which enlivened my naive teenage soul. The streets were tough, and I learned quickly to walk fast, think faster and reach fastest for what I thought was important. For me, it seemed the world was truly my oyster. I felt like a girl who could no longer be held back by circumstances. After graduating from college, I applied for and was accepted to law school, even before my family knew what my plans were.
I became very self-reliant and self-focused — not so interested in what I could contribute, but rather with what I wanted to become.
Well, becoming a Christian in law school transformed my life once again. My life pursuits dramatically changed. I committed myself to pursuing a calling where I would serve the weak, most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
When I married and had my children, I continued working until we moved to Colorado. I then jumped on the chance to stay home with my children, which was all at once great and very hard. I felt like I had lost a key part of myself when I let go of my career to care for the home, prepare meals, and play with littles who could not regulate themselves at all. In the thick of the loneliness and exhaustion that oftentimes comes with motherhood, I was continually reminded in my heart that my husband and children were the people I was to gladly serve with love. And I set my heart to do that, tripping along the way.
Life has been interesting for me. I am now wading through newer, more challenging waters of single parenting. I wear many more hats these days. To be honest, it is overwhelming most of the time. I feel weak and vulnerable at times. Good news is, I am slowly picking up the pieces when and where I can, building a new life with my children, and looking to the future with hope, courage, laughter and crunchy tacos.
It can be hard to accept such change. I now see how a person can descend into cynicism, if not checked. Therefore, I am checking myself, and being checked regularly by close friends and other key edifiers in my life. I desire to continue growing graciously in the changes, living a life that serves the people around me.