Sunday was mother’s day. I have this day engraved in my memory and I ‘suffer’ every year because mother’s day and mum’s birthday are a week apart. She does not ask for much, I know but even if she did, nothing shall ever be enough to reward her. Such is the dilemma of a daughter.
Mum is elegant while remaining conservative. Saying she is the most difficult person to buy a present for would be putting it mildly. Lucky for me, I had ordered her gift months ago so I didn’t need to worry. I left it at the breakfast table on Saturday night as I was planning to sleep in the next day.
When I woke up, I sent messages to other mums I thought deserved to be appreciated. I shall add that over the years I have made ‘enemies’ out of my friends. I often sent their mothers texts before they did. Sometimes, the daughters did not even know it was D-day. This time, however, I was amazed when I got out of bed and mum told me my friends had sent texts ‘first,’ I did not have to be evil any more 🙂
I planned to go to church in the evening so I could thank the Lord for this gem that he blessed us with but somehow, the afternoon nap took longer than it should have 😦 I chose to complete a work assignment and then say a special prayer for her and all mommies just before getting into bed.
A few minutes after 11pm as I wrapped up the email, I got this message from a friend ;
“I vote your mum second best mum in the world obviously after mine for the good job done in bringing such a wonderful person like you to this world and nurturing you to be the kind of person you are. It looks like she did that solely for me to get the most amazing friend ever. May God richly bless her for every pain and tear she shared and grant her a long healthy life and prosperity, wish her a happy mother’s day for me.”
I was extremely humbled. It was at this moment that I shut down the computer and got back to that matter I was procrastinating about. I needed to give God the glory he deserves.
It isn’t easy for me to write about my mother, not for lack of words or deeds, but simply because the vocabulary I have accumulated over the years is insignificant when it comes to describing such an extra ordinary person.
Below is an excerpt of a few qualities I shall highlight.
“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.”
Like my friend said, I am who I am because of the way I was raised. Of course,as an adult I have choices to make on my own but years of grooming and yelling come to play. For most of the qualities I possess that are deemed exemplary,I applaud her..for the flaws,well, that is entirely my doing.
See, I never always listened to my mother. I was not a typical rebellious child who broke things to seek attention or jumped over the school fence because of that stupid thing called adolescence..but I was not a very good listener. I was big headed, always wanting to do things at my own pace. Also I could never lose an argument. how?! Every situation,however, simple was a ‘crime’ in my mind. I defended myself for hours on end, never knowing when to just keep quiet and say sorry. I defended other people too though even when I didn’t know half the story.She kept saying I should be a lawyer and put my noise to use. As I grew up, I realised, all she wanted was to teach me to apologise. I simply wasn’t ready to apologise for other people’s responsibilities. That’s the thing though, just because it was someone else’ turn to do the dishes didn’t mean I should ignore them while the person is away.
So yes, my story begins with lessons that I began to learn as a little girl and will continue to learn years after mum is gone (which I hope shall be in like 5 more decades)
Faith that literally moves mountains
My mother has more faith than anyone I know and you know what? It is infectious too. She prays and prays then prays some more. When we pray together, I list the people who I am ‘grieving’ with, asking for God to heal them but when her part comes, she practically prays for the entire world, Syria, Somalia,Iraq, Uganda, name it. If you tell her what you are going through, best believe she will take it upon herself as a ‘personal prayer.’
A year or so ago someone we know got an accident and got into coma. We prayed every night until he got out of it several months later. This might sound a tad far fetched but I know mum’s prayers had a link to this recovery.
In fact, most of the blessings that have come our family’s way have been thanks to her relationship with God.
Funny how the Christians who believe they are ‘more christian’ than her and try to convert her have barely enough faith to fill a glass but hey I am not here to judge.
Let me just share a not-so-short tale of faith amidst adversity.
On the eve of my graduation, I was in a lot of pain that could not be explained. I remember that cold rainy night so vividly because I hoped the rain would wipe away my tears and pain. It didn’t.
I lay in my bed, wincing, tossing and turning. Mum came into my room and left whenever it was too much for her. At about 6a.m on D-day, an ambulance picked me up from home. I was semi-conscious. My tummy felt like it was about to explode and no amount of pain relieving injections or sedatives worked on the way to the hospital. The others I was given later didn’t work either when we got there. I just accepted my fate. I would feel every inch of this pain with my eyes wide open.
Doctors worked round the clock but mum kept repeating “We have a graduation to attend.” “She is graduating today, hurry up.” over and over again. * I can still hear her.* She asked the doctors if an ambulance could take me to UCU(my Uni), and then immediately return after I was awarded my degree. They declined. She told them in that case she would just take me herself. They seemed hesitant but mum was determined. *Sigh* She made calls for our clothes and shoes to be brought to the hospital. She called my friend Sharon at ten minute intervals to keep updated so we wouldn’t get late..It was graduation day, remember?
My stomach was on fire, the injections and drip were useless, I could hardly breathe but that is NOT why I kept weeping.
I mourned for a mother whose faith was greater than she knew, for a parent who wasn’t going to attend my graduation after not being able to attend those of her sons before. I cried because I wanted to heal miraculously and walk on the red carpet for her to see but deep down I knew it wasn’t happening that day. No, 29th October 2010 would not be the day she witnessed a graduation, it would be the day God saved me so I could live to give this testimony:)
We had to keep this situation hush hush because we had invited friends and family for a graduation party the next day. I had to pick myself up no matter what. A few close ones visited but others were told it was ‘nothing serious.’ I had to believe this would be over.
That night God sent an angel to the hospital in form of my friend David who gave my mum company till after 12 a.m. The meds started to kick in. My only prayer was that if God gave me sleep, he would have to ensure I wake up the next day.
Wake up I did and shocked the doctors when I asked to be discharged. They thought I was mad. I thought I was mad. The party happened and on Sunday morning at about 7.30 am as my friends and I got into the house after a night of dancing like we were being paid, some relatives who had travelled for the party seemed like they had seen a ghost. Just the night before it seemed like a hopeless situation but you know faith; the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.
“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
One of the things I love the most about my mother is that she is a mother to many. From the students at her place of work to my friends who come over, relatives and pretty much everyone who crosses her path. When she retires, it will be nice if she can start her own counselling service. She’s a natural that one. Mum is the kind of person whom you can tell your secrets when your initial plan was to ask for a bowl of sugar. Many a time my friends have visited when I am away or asleep and upon there departures, she is asking questions about them that even I have no clue about! They find it easy to talk to her.
Her advice on parenting, etiquette, friendship and life is impeccable. The only problem is that if a situation is too sad, she will be giving it with a handkerchief and tears running down her face. Over the years I have learnt to ‘sieve’ some of these stories, for the sake of her heart of course.
Did I mention she reads minds too? You might want to lay off on the lies if you had any such plans 😉
When you share your problem, she is listening and coming up with several solutions in her mind before you even complete the entire script. I must warn you though, she shall interrupt you at least 20 times so that she can get the facts straight. Stay calm, sip some water. It helps.
An example that easily comes to mind is a conversation I had with her some months ago. I told her about a friend who wanted to go back to school but didn’t quite have the means. She began to work behind my back soon after that and even started communicating with the said friend.
Her explanation later was that she didn’t want to get me excited and then fail hence the secrets. My reaction was that I would probably not meet a kinder soul along my life’s path.
P.s: The education plan did work out. Duh. She is super mom 🙂
“…she rejoiced as only mothers can in the good fortunes of their children.”
If you have been successful at anything, no matter how small, best believe mum shall whip out a bag full of praises until you want to disappear for months. She makes you feel like a hero even for the tiniest things!! If she had the means, she would probably throw a party for your first day at day care,Primary, high school and Uni. Yes, it is that bad!
Almost seven years ago, my first by line appeared in the Sunday Vision. Best believe mum told everyone she knows and carried the article every where she went. Half the people did not care and I was constantly getting embarassed thinking “sssshhh, it isn’t a big deal.” She never stopped her antics to this day.
Yesterday I got dressed for work and she started raving about my outfit(which is about a year old) and I smiled to myself. I usually tell her she loves me so she has to like what I wear. Whether it is for our esteem or motherly sentiments, it works.
She tells her friends when her ‘kids’ are ill like they are 5 years old and have caught a terrible cold. When I am within earshot, I am always in disbelief but I know she loves us and is proud. More often than not, children fail to either hear this or see it in their parent’s actions.
I could go on and on.
These praises are not limited to family. She recently told a friend of mine whom she had hitherto never seen in a ‘tight’ outfit how smashing she looked. “Hope I do not see you in those baggy things again, she added” I hope this friend listened because it was all true. She just had the courage to air it.
“I wondered if my smile was as big as hers. Maybe as big. But not as beautiful.”
Mum’s smile is great, pretty big too.. her laugh even more awesome! I shall probably get a recording of it soon so I can share it with the world. Her laughter comes from within her soul. It can’t be replicated. In fact, when you laugh with her you seem like you are acting or didn’t quite get the joke. eh! The pressure!
“I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father,” she whispers. Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally, don’t you think?” Jodi Picoult.
Wow! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Dad was(is) all about the grades, the ambition and all those other ‘serious’ things, with good reason. Mom on the other hand wants you to excel but be happy while at it.
I took some days off work some time back and told her my mind and soul where at peace for the first time in a while. She replied “Why don’t you just do the things you love, dance,sing,write..?” Me, doing these things for money? Heh! *To be continued…
I strongly believe that even if I was a video vixen(dressed in long outfits perhaps) and that is what I truly wanted to do with my life, she would support me any way.
- She has taught us to be hardworking and I have watched her wake up at 5.30 am and work from Monday to Sunday so really what excuse do I have?
- She has encouraged us to be responsible and as a mother and first born of her family I have seen her take care of everyone but herself for more years than I can count
- Mum treats everyone as an equal and probably got some etiquette training from “Mrs. Bucket (Read Bouquet of Keeping up appearances)I can’t walk into a room and not say hello to the person/people I have found there. In fact, when I am with her and someone finds us seated somewhere but just sneers and looks away, we save them for gossip later. Each time I want to sip my drink as I eat, I just have to think of mum and put the glass down. Gosh there are so many! Mum makes sure you serve every plumber, electrician, night guard(etc) the same meal you are having (unlike many Ugandans) when you are having it.
Speaking of meals, any time is meal time at home. As a matter of fact, my guests have had to sit through evening tea and supper within the same hour on certain occasions because mum insists. If you leave the food on the plate, that is another story. Sadly, none of her children are ‘eaters’ so forgive her if she feeds you too much, she means well;)
- And the greatest of all is love. I realised I would probably go on for ages so let me summarise with this last lesson LOVE. It encompasses everything for if you love one another then there is no reason to cause harm. She has taught us to love everyone, to forgive and actually give back to those that hurt you the most. These Christ-like lessons have not come in only words but they have been executed from our early years. If we forget everything else, I hope this stays with us till death do us part.
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
Really, what more can I say?
A friend, doctor, confidant, mentor, sister, rock, comforter,chef,guardian,clown, teacher …(insert roles that apply) and so much more!!
She smiles when she wants to cry, tells you it will be okay because she believes and loves you unconditionally no matter how many times you mess up.. what is she if not an angel?
I would like to say that turning out into half or three quarters of what my mother is shall essentially make up for the blessings she has brought to my life and many others but it probably won’t be enough. Instead, I want to make the next years of her life the best years of her life, to support her as she brings joy to all those around her. What I really want to hear is her laughter more and more and…..yes more!
She is phenomenal and the best part is that she isn’t just mine and my siblings’…she has spread out her arms to lots of other lives and that is enough for me 🙂
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln
With love undefined, inexplicable, bursting within me,
Mon Cherie 🙂