“Yemisi ti o ba bi’mo jo e, aje pe Olorun s’ojo so!” (Meaning Yemisi, if you did not give birth to a daughter like you, then it would mean God is partial after all).

This is the conclusion by my sister, like my twin, ably assisted in consent by several nods and a knowing smile by my mum where she is seated next to my sister.

“Kilode?” I asked. “Kilotunsele o?” (What is it? What has happened again?)

Indeed, I did not need to ask, I knew the answer was Iyioluwa my second daughter, my “mini-me.” We are alike in a number of ways, chief of which is la borderlique (i.e. chief of scatter-scatter). She was at it again.

“So what is it this time?”

Apparently, all the kids went to church, as we do back home and as usual, service was beautiful and all was good until after service and Iyioluwa appeared with her hair out of place. The left foot of the pair of shoes was missing, the right sock of the pair of socks saying: “find me”; on top of that, her belt was missing and the transgressor was looking like she was having the time of her life.

My sister took one look at her and, rather than get mad, burst into a fit of laughter. Long and short of the story, they left for home, those items lost till tomorrow.

The statement earlier made by my sister did not come for no reason. It is validation of history repeating itself in one form or the other. I was like that as a child. We would go to parties fully dressed and I come back home with essential pieces of the outfit gone. After being caned severally for such behavior, I devised a way out. Once the party starts to groove, one by one, I hand over all but panties to my Mum. So, nothing is missing but you can imagine the contrast from the start of the party to the end and not to mention my sand-covered face and body.

Ireoluwa, my eldest daughter, told me of a similar incident when all the three went out with their grandparents one day. According to her account, Iyioluwa was well-dressed to the nines on this day that even she had to compliment her looks. Then off they went to the party. As is often the case with such grandparents’ parties, there is always a section of the party for grandkids, so they joined theirs and the grandkids’ party started. As soon as the party started in full swing, Ireoluwa said she could not believe it when Iyioluwa came to her, first with her shoes.

“What on earth are you taking off your shoes for?”
“So I don’t spoil them while playing.” Accompanied with a roll of eyes that seemed to say don’t be daft.
She took the pair of shoes. A few minutes later, Iyioluwa waltzed over with her turban, earrings, top, skirt, and necklace. “I thought to give you the rest at once so I don’t keep coming back.”

Ireoluwa, now completely horrified, watched helplessly as the regal looking Iyioluwa of thirty minutes ago now hopped off in only a white singlet and underwear shorts. She was completely having a great time. At the time she told me the story, the look on her face kept me mute about owning up to being same several years ago. All I could mutter was, “God has different children and he loves them all.”

Although that was a line to wriggle out of that situation, it is nonetheless true, not only generally but for my family, I, and the three lovely ladies the Lord has blessed me with. I see a bit of me in all of them, yet I see differences that make us poles apart.

Ireoluwa – meaning the goodness of God – is someone I will describe as a very considerate and compassionate child. However, if she chooses to take a hard stance on a matter – quite unlike me – you could not sway her from her decision. One of the qualities I admire in her is her determination to impress herself. She is her own competition and always strives to be better with each passing day.

Iyioluwa – meaning God’s honour – appears to like the toughest in looks, voice, carriage, and demeanor, yet the easiest to get on your side in an argument. May I add she is the most likely to say stuff that makes you burst out laughing in the middle of a sober meeting and gets you tagged as being unserious. Iseoluwa once said of Iyioluwa: “I love her because I’m always happy around her.”

Iseoluwa means the deeds of God in Yoruba. She is the old soul of the pack but still the youngest. Do not joke with her ability to read you well and act accordingly. Super good with enjoying her own company, you cannot upset her with rejection. Rather she will make you beg for an invitation to join. She rarely brings home dirty clothes from the boarding house. Bed sheets, chapel wears, towels, all come back cleans and white as a nickel. Even my hard-to-impress mum had to voice her admiration. Her consistency in good academic grades while pursuing her interests in dancing is one to be grateful to God for.

While everyone has their unique personality and even more unique differences, we are blessed with an awesome sense of purpose that binds us together and keeps us moving ahead. That sense of purpose is inspired by the Biblical story of David. When David decided to face Goliath, he said something noteworthy to Saul, the King of Israel.

“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion and bear came and carried a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by the hair, struck it, and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them… The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and that of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” [1 Samuel 17:34-37]

From this portion of the scripture, the important purpose-giving charges are deduced:

  1. Be positively engaged/ employed at any point of your life. It can be studying, working for someone or yourself, serving as a volunteer. Avoid idleness.
  2. Offences must come. Life is not designed to be free of challenges. Life is designed for challenges of different levels, intensity or duration. Overcoming them is what brings the accolades.
  3. You must have a reference point. This is the core of the lesson. Winning, no matter how little, is reference to being able to overcome again and consistently. I always ask the girls what David’s reference point was. They know it clearly to be: Saving his sheep from the lion and the bear, killing the lion and the bear, and giving glory to God. He showed strong faith in God by saying: “The Lord who rescued me…” Even though he had to use his hands, legs, and brain to destroy the lion and the bear, he never said it was by his own power alone.

The three points above have been the core of instructions guiding us as a family over the years. From the moment I was called to Bar, I knew I will have my Masters and my Ph.D. (the advantage of a reference point). By the time Ireoluwa received three awards in her first year in secondary school, we knew she will do us proud not only in academics but also in leadership skills as confirmed by her prefectship in school. For her, taking these teachings to heart reflects in her output and consistent delivery of excellence.

I am grateful to God that I am able to match my words with action. I have always strived to have good results to share with the girls to ginger them in their resolve and goal setting. We are not perfect; we are simply a grateful family.

In raising the girls, I have been blessed with help and support from my parents in overwhelming levels. In all of my getting more educated and positively empowered, they have made raising the girls their principal task. In fact, a number of my mum’s friends know the youngest me, Iseoluwa, very well. They all call her their friend and ask for her when she is in school and not playing grandma’s handbag.

There are more parts to this story which will be told in due course par la grace de Dieu. Summarily, I make bold to say family is everything. It is because of family that we do not quit and submit to negativity. Sometimes, family is why we choose to live. It is the life-giving force to live above oneself, to live for another, to live to make a positive difference. When you are privileged to have a good one, family is everything


At Mom's 70th birthday

Installation as prefect - IreOluwa

IreOluwa and I


IseOluwa and I

IyiOluwa and I


My 1st Birthday

My mum and I

My Naming ceremony

The girls & I

The girls and I

With Gma (of blessed memory) and older siblings while Mum is busy shouting orders by the side

With Mum and Justice Adekeye SCJ (Rtd).