This weekend was Nembe Ibe USA’s annual convention. Nembe Ibe is a non-profit organization that helps to raise funds in order to help improve education ad healthcare in Nigeria; specifically the town of Nembe. For the last two years, my father has been the president of this organization. Every year, several families, men and women gather together in a different city to converse, make decisions and celebrate Nembe Ibe together. The convention has graced the cities of Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Huntsville, Al, Newark, NJ, Seattle, WA, and now Baltimore, MD. Each member has an opportunity to host the convention in his or her city; we’ve already done our due diligence during the second annual convention that was held in Atlanta.
A few years ago, I was involuntarily given the title of Youth President of Nembe Ibe USA. I am responsible for creating activities for the youth to engage in during the convention while the adults talk about the things that make us daydream about our hotel bed. I also get the opportunity to plan youth retreats, and initiate the creation of different ways that we can help with issues back home. Every year, my brothers and I have led the youth on excursions through each city as well as simply spending time in one another’s hotel room talking or playing video games. Those excursions bring us closer each year as we learn more about each other and relate through our similar experiences. I’ve always found great pleasure in uniting people whether its in a large community or a small group of young adults trying our best to embrace our Nigerian culture amongst being raised in the United States of America. This year, there is one slight difference; I’m married.
For the past month or two, X and I have been trying to find our way up to New York to visit his grandfather who is sick and getting older. We know that he may not be on earth much longer and seeing him before that time comes has been a priority. Due to the convention being only three hours away from New York and the perfectly placed American holiday that allows us a day off work, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. So, we planned that we would come to Baltimore, spend time there, go to the big fundraising party and then leave out Sunday morning to go spend time in Brooklyn.
The plan seemed reasonable; a perfect compromise between the two families; a day and a half with my side and a day and a half with his. And as perfect as the split seemed in theory, I woke up Sunday morning with remorse that I had to leave. I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my duties as youth president because I would be gone before I was able to even say goodbye to the youth. I wouldn’t be able to lead our annual excursion around the city and that saddened me. I didn’t consider the sacrifices before making the decision. I was sure that I’d be ok with leaving the convention early but after spending a little time with what I call my extended family, I realized how much I’d miss them. We only get to see each other once every year for about two or three days. I felt like I would be missing out on precious time spent with them. Granted, I should have considered this before I agreed on our trip to New York but it didn’t really hit me until we were flying up 95 in route to our new destination.
I was torn and aggravated by the tension within me. I love Xavier’s side of the family and longed to see them while simultaneously feeling as if I was losing something. I’m not an Omiela anymore; I’m a Brandon now and I have two families. As grateful as I am to be blessed with such; I’d never considered how hard it would be to split my time. While discussing our plans for the weekend, it was obvious that both X and I were emotional about spending adequate time with each side of our immediate family. Originally, we weren’t going to get an equal amount of time with each side and that bothered him. I, on the other hand, was fine with that because I reasoned that despite whether the timing was equal, we’d each get to spend time with each side of our family. Well, to X and his side of the family, it mattered that the time wasn’t equal. AND, originally, we would be spending more time in Baltimore than New York; which is why I didn’t care as much [heart check]. It became evident to me that our thoughts and actions will expose what is truly important and dear to our hearts; and in that particular moment, I wasn’t being considerate enough of my husbands desire to spend an equal amount of time with his side of family as we would with mine.
So as we are 147 miles from New York, I’m realizing that with this union comes more sacrifice than I considered. I’m learning how to deal with my emotions while considering those of my husband as well. Its not easy balancing emotions connected with dividing yourself amongst new family. Honestly, I’m sure that neither side was completely satisfied with our decisions to split the time but knowing that him and I agreed mattered the most. Though I miss my youth and my family, I know that Xavier considered me while spending time with them. Now, it’s my turn.
Welcome to the Newly wed life! The more I learn, the more I’ll share, I promise!