Is it possible, really, that there are things I have not said about this woman? Well, perhaps it isn’t always what you say but how you say it. For her birthday this year, I will revisit some of the lessons she has taught me. I know other people have learnt from them so I shall speak for all of us 🙂
I just read this and although I wrote it last year, it covers most of what I want to say, so perhaps today I will only make a few more additions to what may one day become a collection of letters to my mother, our mother.
“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.”
1. Your guests are royalty
You need to be fly on the wall when we are receiving guests. Each one requires a special kind of welcome down to even buying them their favourite drink if mum knows which one it is. I have seen some of these people for years, so I will know they are coming and still go on about my business but no, one must give them special treatment till they leave. It is worse if they are spending the night. Even if they came on a bicycle, bus or plane, you shall press the best bed sheets and give them 5 star treatment, even when it is your room that is now becoming theirs 😀
It is so ‘bad’ that even my very own dear brothers who don’t stay at home have to be treated like kings when they visit. Breakfast menus change, suddenly they need a chauffeur and one must pick after these grown men. Hehe, I grew up and stopped complaining. I am now happy to play my part in making their stay grand because one needs to make the best of all the time spent with family. *once in a while a side eye shall escape *
2.Stay up, listen, be present
My brother says that when he was a student far away from home, he would buy a call card specifically to catch up with mum. He would have the issues to discuss noted down so that nothing was left out but alas! Mum would give him so much ‘kaboozi,’ he would even forget why he called and his list would have to wait for the next week or month. Knowing her, the first part is about healthy eating and questions about your weight, vegetables et al, then everything follows.
Nonetheless, she is an amazing listener who will keep in mind all your milestones and pray about your trials.
When guests come home, the television is to be switched off, as you speak to her, your phone should be far away. Those things you do where you look at your phone and reply a text but keep going ‘Yeah, uh huh…’ will not cut it. It is only fair you return the attention she gives.
There are so many times I have come late after a long day. I neither want to eat nor talk, just a bath and my bed. She will wait and give you company as you eat or just ask ‘How was your day?’ Whether you give the short version or long one, you know that someone cares to ask and usually, that is enough.
3. Mother knows everything, even when she doesn’t
She is always right, always. Instead of asking a fortune teller, just bring your boyfriend/boss/best friend home for tea. After that evening, she will most likely tell you many things that you looked at but didn’t see, heard but didn’t listen to.
It is from very simple things to actual life changing ones.Before the rains even began recently, she saw me walk out of the house and asked me why I wasn’t wearing closed shoes. I didn’t have a good reason except that wanted to wear sandals. Two hours into my errands and the skies growled and gave way to endless rain. I died in my movie.
From a young age I have taken her predictions seriously, and I can still hear her voice when I am about to fall off the right road.
I love road side chicken and in mum’s eyes it is unhygienic and deadly. However, when I am under the weather, she will bring it home and even get mad if I eat too little. See a team player!
I borrow her car all the time and sometimes she needs it or me but as soon as I share my plans- she is willing to compromise. She owns the car and me, technically, but never to rub those things in my face.
Speaking of rubbing things in faces, today her reply to my birthday text had a ‘LOUD HINT.’ Unless I get grandchildren, I have no reason to live for many more years.’ Well played mummy dearest. (CC the rest of you guilty clan members)
5.Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Today is her birthday so I can’t say negative things,right? Are you sure?
Have you met someone who arrives at parties before the host? This one time we were so early, that the priest ended up making me a ‘one-woman choir’ because there was no one else (They all came late, including the host!) I came up with the order of mass, hymns and all this time hoped she was getting all my side glances. *fail*
Thanks to her, I value my appointments and time but sometimes, the ‘recipients’ fail me. How do I know that it is bad? These days she sees me panicking and says “Why are you in a hurry yet you know that they will be late?”
It isn’t just time, she is a perfectionist with everything else from furniture alignment to dress code, no matter how old you are!
Recently, I got home exhausted at about 11.00 p.m and ‘they’ asked me why my shirt was creased. “Is that how you were the whole day?” I rest my case.
6. Make new friends, but keep the old
When mum tells me of the friends she has had for over 30 years, I listen in awe. They still talk and laugh like little girls. Their friendships are not marred by many vices that I see in young people today and it is refreshing. I envy what they have/had and hope that we can emulate at least half.
She has taught me not to mix friendships and to compartmentalize. It is possible to have friends that are geeks-introverts-fashionistas-introverts and sustain all of them in their capacities, even if they never meet.
I have also learnt to maintain privacy even when the rest of the world sees the picture they want to see.
Speaking of privacy , she hates photographs of her taken but after my brother and I took 8,765 pictures without her knowledge, one or two surfaced *evil grin*
7. Beauty that is skin deep
What can I say, she is gorgeous! No pricked ears, minimal jewellery at all times, nail varnish, huh? What is that? And yet her beauty is natural and simply timeless. She can come to me and tell me how mosquitoes bit her and she has swellings and I am like ‘Huh, I only see beauty spots.’ It is really true that love blinds us to all imperfections because I see only her beautiful self.
She has her own style and it works. Recently, a friend asked me when I had bought the ‘new’ bag I was holding. I told him I had had it for at least two years, then it hit me. I am becoming her! She will carry one bag for weeks before switching to the next one which will also work plenty of weeks before the next switch. *See our lives*
If there is anyone I know whose life is a gospel, it is my mother. Through pain and sorrow, joy and grace, she remains her.
She does not need to tell you she is a Christian because she walks the talk-
She tells us she loves us, but she doesn’t need to because her every action screams of love that is clear for anyone to see.
In Mother Theresa’s words;
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
That right there is how my mother lives her life and the rest of us try to walk in her footsteps. Thankfully, they are wide enough for us to fit and have room for us to grow into them.
If you listen to her prayers, they will revolve around everyone but her and on this day, I pray that she will have many amazing years filled with joy derived from her friends and family but also her own for the jewel that she is.
Happy birthday dear mommy, I love you forever and a day :-*