This new year has been one for reminiscing. My sister in England and I have been talking for hours for the past couple of days. We talk about everything. We're getting older, so we talk about getting married...about being with our respective partners....about raising our children...about God. I love her. Remember her?
We've talked about so many things. Like my brother. When after 13 odd years, my father decides we should start calling my brother...BROTHER O. All these years of calling him O and now we have to start calling him Brother O. Needless to say you barely heard us calling him for a while...and we finally reverted back to our old ways of just calling him O...it's not like he even minded
I told her how it is with me...I don't call certain people anything. I've gone through life with these people not calling them anything. You may wonder how do I get their attention.....well I wait for them to look my way or I go directly in their line of vision and of course when I start speaking and looking at you, you will know it's you Im talking to right?
I remember when my little cousins were born. I told them they could call me Diamond. Their mom was like NO WAY. It's Aunty Diamond. I felt so old. I was only 18 and had just started College not too long ago. I thought it was really old fashioned but you know what...now that Im in my 20s Im glad that they do call me "aunty". Because I just cant imagine them calling me by my regular name. I know them calling me "aunty" doesnt necessarily mean they will respect me, but I think having that prefix will give them a hint that this is someone I SHOULD be respecting
I was talking to some of my relatives and their friends last year. I told them Igbo's dont really do this. I have close igbo friends and their siblings were much older and we called everyone just by their name. I think it's more of a Yoruba thing. You should see the way they were quick to shout me down...two of them were igbo...they said it is the Igbo's that dont have culture or rather that have forgotten their culture tha do this. I was quite defensive because I took it as a pesonal insult against some of my really best friends. I mean I grew up with these people and I didnt notice any lack of respect for their elders...I didnt notice a denial of their culture either...it was much celebrated.
Anyways, I left them alone...they left me to my "americana" way of thinking. What is it worth really? I only call about 7 people in this world using "brother" or "sister"....that's because for 5 of them, I grew up saying that...even then it was a challenge. I had been calling them by name for about 4 years and then one day, one of them told me to start calling them using "brother" and "sister". Im used it to it now...it's become a part of their name. The 6th person, is my mom's godson...I dont think he would dig me calling him by his name...and the 7th person is my friend's sister...everyone calls her that...so I dont want to be the odd one out. I asked her what the difference was between calling her "sister" and calling her "aunty"...she said she thinks for someone who is much much older..."aunty" is probably preferred but for someone who is sorta like a friend...still older...kinda close to you...you call them "sister/brother"...whatever...
Another thing is "mommy". My friends when they call my mom, some of them anyways will call her "mommy"....Me on the other hand I dont call my friends' parents anything...I feel weird calling them "aunty" especially if I dont really know them or am close to them but really really like them...you know...if there isnt that feeling of familiarity. Calling other people "mommy" is not really my thing iether...so I typically wont call them anything
Even my godfather...I dont call him anything. I remember one time he called wanting to speak to my mom and I said AVM A is on the line...and he talked to my mom about it...that I should be calling him "Daddy Festac" or something like that sha... I guess I just got used to calling him that as a Kid...I mean the title changed as he progressed thru the military...but I never called him anything so personal...even though he's not my real dad, he's acted in place of...and he considers me his daughter...his only daughter at that....
My sister was at a party recently and she saw some younger cousins and they were calling her by her name and she felt "Wow, there should be something attached to my name...like aunty...cousin" Of course she would not insist...but that's how she felt you know
My aunties here with me, one of them I call her by her name...she's American and I call her by name because that is what my cousins call her. When I first met her, I thought it was weird because in Nigeria, you dont do such but I got used to it. The other one I call "aunty". When I first met her about 2 years ago, I didnt know if I should call her aunty or not...We all started off calling her by name....but every time my uncle who she is now married to would refer to her, he would say "aunty". She's a traditional Nigerian...so I dont think with her it would fly either just saying her name. She talks to me about not forgetting where I come from...sometimes she says Ive been in the States too long that maybe Ive forgotten the culture. I get upset at this sometimes because I understand there are traditional ways of doing things but I wasnt necessarily raised with ALL these traditions
Ive never thought that using these prefixes mean respect but as I get older, I appreciate it. I dont insist anyone calls me using "aunty" or "sister" but I like to hear it now. I remember when my friend K from Nigeria called me. She was like "aunty Diamond"...I was a little surprised....I mean Im older by about 6 years but she hadnt called me that before...but I guess we'd been apart for a while...like over 10 years and I guess at home, maybe she wouldnt ordinarily call me by name.
I know alot of this has to do with pride. I've swallowed it or I try to consciously swallow it. One of my really close friends mom that I hang with...I call her "Mommy".....rarely though. I guess when I see my godfather, I will call him daddy...it just feels weird is all...but I must get over that. It takes nothing for me to say these things and I guess it is my culture...I should respect that
I guess when I get married I'd have to call my husband's parents mommy and daddy....God help with this. Cuz I think I'd be okay just saying Mr. and Mrs
Just my thoughts