I have always insisted that Banke, my dear friend of 10 years can make a career out of writing if she took it seriously. When you read this piece where she coincidentally writes about 10 being her lucky number, you will agree with me. She discusses growing up with 9 siblings, the friendship of it and the beauty of them all being women.
Every time I’m asked to pick a number I always go for the number 10.
If you are of Nigerian decent, you would find one of these names familiar:
Bose, Bunmi, Busola, Bimbo, Bolaji, Labisi, Toyin, Seyi, Feyi….. Banke. My name is Banke and the other 9 names I mentioned are my sisters in order of position. I am the 10th child of a family of 10 children. Actually, to be more precise, 10 sisters. It’s a lucky position to be, which is why it is my default go to number.
In Nigeria, where I come from, the average number of kids in a family is between 4 and
6. So you can imagine that a family of 10, not just 10, but 10 girls is an anomaly.
For the sake of everyone’s sanity, we made up the number model for whenever we had
conversation with people especially those who didn’t know us that well.
With close friends, we are the most rewarding game. A game of numbers, where you
hear them say things like 5 down 5 to go whenever they meet a new sister. The
litmus test for close friendship is when that friend can name all your sisters in the right order. Well, they started it we didn’t.
We have always been a subject of fascination and we’ve had people ask all sorts of
questions such as; Do you remember all their names? Do you ever get confused about
who is who? Duh … ok yeah sometimes we do, especially in old photos or when we speak
on the phone. Apparently, we all sound and look alike.
One of my best ones so far is – 10!!! from one woman? This makes me feel super proud of my mom for her strength. The most ridiculous one would be…So your mother went into labour 10 times? (to which I’m always tempted to reply: no some were delivered through DHL.)
What’s interesting in all of this is that growing up with 9 siblings has taught me a few life lessons. And for obvious reasons, I’ll share 10 of them… hehehehe.
1 Be diplomatic – When asked who your favourite sister is, never ever answer that question, although everyone knows mine (wink wink).
2 There’s plenty of love in sharing – if you are my size or +/- 2 sizes, we will share clothes and shoes. Being number 10, I’ve had a lot of hand me downs and trust me it teaches you how to be baggily stylish.
3 Every individual is unique – Appreciate and respect everyone’s
difference in opinion.
4 There is always that one person who claims to know it all – don’t be that one.
5 Everyone has a different path to walk – We will not all be lawyers or doctors.
6 If you want to spread a story, call it a secret and tell number 6 and I promise you the next day 8 others know.
7 You learn who to discuss what with- For instance, If I want to talk about natural hair I go to #1 or #8, For food, its #2 or #9, healthier food options #4 and for Finance, account or any money matters #5. Decor, its number #3 and #6. Fashion #7, no contest, Easy peezy.
8 Patience – being the last child, because everything went from the most senior to the last, I always had to wait my turn which means having the left overs or the best (patient dog sturvs).
9 Pick your battles wisely – know when to fight or back off. Otherwise you’ll burn out.
10 Everyday is a party.
Overtime, numbers have come to be a way of identification – School Matric
number, work ID, NHS number, Passport number. etc. But my favourite will forever be
number 10 because it reminds me that I have a mother strong enough to raise 10 kids, a
father who made an impact on his 10 girls and 9 sisters who would always have my back.
Through my years of schooling, from kindergarten all the way up, I’ve always had a sister or two to watch over me. I went to the same university as #9 who was 2 years ahead of me so it was easy integrating and of course I had someone to run to whenever I was hungry.
Three years ago I moved to London to start work and luckily, I had number 1 and 2 plus
their families as a support system.
See? 10 is by all means a lucky number.
“Banke is a trained pharmacist who now works in the Finance industry. She enjoys crocheting hair and will like to learn to swim and ride a bike “
16 Comments Add yours
In all this, is it weird that the only question I have is – you still can’t ride that bike?
Sounds like an awesome family! Lucky number indeed. I’m curious about the other sisters whose name don’t begin with the letter ‘B’. Banke, please start a blog. I’m sure you have alot of amazing stories to tell.
Yaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy awesome read @ lucky no 10……by the way I know the answer to “who’s your favourite sister” He he he ….😅😅😅
very chilled read. loved it!
I really love this article. 👌🏽
When all of you get together- instant party.
You should write more Banke, your writing is a delight.
Lucky Number 10…I’m sure you sometimes feel like you have multiple mothers as well. I totally enjoyed this.
I’m glad you guys enjoyed reading this. Maybe I’ll start to write more often. Thanks so much for all the encouragement!
Wow…This read was such a delight..! You should write more.. I really want to know how 10 girls lived and grew up.. Banke, your house must have been a ‘war zone’ or just a really fun abode… Wish I grew up with more people though…
Well done!!! 🙂 🙂
I know Number 9. Feyi! Whoop. I always marvel at how she has nine sisters and refer to you all by numbers. Lol. Plus you’all are so pretty and your mum too. Gorgeous at 70+. You almost make me want to have 10 girls. Lol
Wawu – you know Banke? Awesome. Sister #4 and I are bestos from secondary school in the mid 80s. Lol. Great great lessons
Yes I do. She’s a dear friend. We went to the same Uni. Such a small world. I know that some of her older sisters grew up in Warri.
Lucky you Banke! I have always loved a large family, can still remember always nudging my dad to get an extra wife just to have more siblings ( I know better now), kudo’s to your mum, she is an awesome woman, she has done a great job; nice write up well done.