A couple days ago I was in church and sometime during the service; the daughter to a friend of mine came and sat beside us. She sat still for all of four seconds and then started climbing chairs, talking, showing me her pretty scarf, and all the things pesky four year olds are wont to do.
It was bearable till I was no longer praying but looking to see she didn’t hurt herself so I pulled her to me, and in my best feigned British accent said, ‘you know you’re a little lady and ladies don’t climb chairs or act unruly. If you promise you’ll sit like a good girl then you can stay here with us or I’ll send you away. Do you want to stay?’ She said yes so I hugged her, placed her back in her seat, and then continued enjoying the service.
Two minutes later this ‘little lady’ was crying. “What now”, I thought, especially since once again, I was distracted. She didn’t answer me but told another friend I was with that, “the way this aunty (pointing at yours truly) spoke to me gave me a headache”. Me? Are you for real? I nearly died of laughter (after consoling her of course). Some mothers do have them!
So it’s Mother’s Day today and at church all the mothers were dressed in traditional outfits, with the corresponding gele. The children put up such beautiful presentations I found myself wiping a tear at some point! I imagined my momma sitting in a service like that, with tears (of joy) running down her face, unhindered, and I smiled.
Below is an article I entered for a competition, one of the most difficult I’ve ever written because it had to be 400 hundred words or less, on the theme ‘Miracle’. Just when I thought I wouldn’t send in an entry, I decided to write about my ma. I titled it, MY UNENDING MIRACLE.
“Mommy I cannot find my biro”, I said, dressed in my pinafore, blouse and white stockings for school, my face glistening from the baby oil my mother always applied generously. I was barely eight years old, but I knew something was wrong. She didn’t say anything and so it confirmed it; something was wrong. I knew because amongst other things my elder brother and I now had to share a four-slice pack of biscuits during break at school, just like we were sharing everything else.
And she had tears in her eyes now; I could swear I saw a couple run down her face but she brushed them away so quickly I wasn’t sure and besides I had a more pressing need: I needed a biro for school.
It was 1994, without the internet (at least to us), without mobile phones, and without our daddy who was ‘far away’ on a training course. Mom had stretched what little food, money, and comforts we had without us noticing till that morning when she shed tears because she couldn’t afford three naira for a biro for me.
Now I don’t remember where she ‘produced’ one from that day, and it doesn’t really matter. Daddy came back soon after, and things have been better ever since. That morning has been etched in my mind forever however, and was my first real life definition of what being a mother is all about.
Every day I watched her put us first, cleaning scraped knees, packing lunches, washing my hair, putting me to sleep after any of the numerous nightmares I had as a child, picking up after us, and the beautiful stories she told. As we grew up, she turned counsellor/friend, enemy when we didn’t agree on issues, and friends again when we came back to cry on her shoulders. She’s held our family together, and I’ve watched her severally deny herself so the family can get the best of what we need.
I look forward to having my own family soon, and I can only pray I am half of what she is to us to my family. She’s my unending miracle, she is my mother.
*Biro = pen
I love you Momma, Happy Mother’s Day!
- What Is a Good Mother’s Day Gift? (redenvelope.com)
- Happy Mother’s Day! (poppyposts-blog.net)
- Thanksgiving (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)
- Happy Birthday Momma (eatchocolate.wordpress.com)