Admittedly, resentment and bitterness only hurt oneself, so I may be a little bit unsteady but I’m still holding on because I don’t think He’s done with me yet. I’m not capitulating as I watch but it seems like something is unraveling and I just might have the power to slow it down because inevitability cannot be stopped. It’s mother’s day and the least I can do is share the memories we made together that I’ll forever cherish till we meet again. There’s some irony in God’s playbook because He made man from dust and woman from man’s bone. Now metallurgy not required, we undeniably rely on fact that bone is stronger than dust but there again in full display is our inability to grasp divinity.
It’s been close to 2years since you got called home however your legacy still lives on. Everything I am today, I owe to you in some way. I recall rolling my eyes when you inexplicably went into the tale of my childbirth to my friends but that’s the beginning of just how amazing you were because you made a choice, you had me. I tell people that I wasn’t your favorite but despite that, you poured your entire being into raising all 7 of us, 3 of us felt your ire directly however, that’s why I could contribute in those after me and that’s how I am the father I’ve become, ill-health or not. So thank you, because raising 6 sons is not a feat for the faint hearted especially when you factor in the cities we lived and grew up in.
We have always been dog-lovers but as a young kid, you bought me a night shirt that I still remember and it had the picture of a cat with the words, ‘I’m just PURR-FECT!’. That in itself marked the choices I made and still make because nobody’s perfect but I strove to be as close to it as I could because you showed me how. You taught me to acknowledge that I was in charge of my life’s story; you taught me to believe in myself. Nothing couldn’t be surmounted as long as I believed in myself and today, I pass that message to the next generation. You had your own flaws but when it came to us, you laid it all out and even though you banned fighting at home, I still got into it outside because the streets crush the feeble and I will never describe or be described as feeble.
You bought me my first tie, even though it was to placate me and little did I know that wearing ties would be a signature. My childhood pictures are replete with images of me in bow ties and I look at them today and appreciate the big picture you saw of me even then. Dining was a formal affair especially dinner because you had already committed to teaching even before motherhood and so dinner was always a family affair. With you, there was no defined roles determined by gender and I’m thankful for that. Notwithstanding the fact that we grew up with house helps, you always said, “I will never raise up another’s child to the detriment of mine” and so there was no distinction between what I or the house help could do. It was confusing back then but now I understand.
You took me to purchase my first pair of grown-up shoes (driving was still years away), standing by the side while I made my selection knowing there was a budget to abide by. And when peer pressure came, you never buckled because you taught me that it was more important to be different and true rather than being part of the crowd. You taught me that contentment and self-esteem was a choice, because the road less traveled was usually the better route to take. You taught me to treat ladies with respect even before I had a sister, a trait that’s fast disappearing in today’s world. Chivalry is still as important and more needed today where the battle of self-identity has been flipped on its head; what’s right is right regardless of time.
You took the time (how?, just another pointer to who you were) to teach me driving at 15, intricately weaving in the need to be responsible at the same time. Reading your crime magazines ensured that I could deal with fear and also understand that the heart of man is desperately wicked. Striving for excellence, I knew you were in the auditorium when I got my first award/scholarship as a freshman in high school, because even though I didn’t see you, I could hear your car keys jingle each time you applauded – that was your thing; wearing your car keys on your pinkie. Your ability to effectively utilize the network (and undervalued profession) of teachers ensured that I sought the straight and narrow even when the exuberance of youthfulness came calling with whispered lies and well conceived folly. You were strict and harsh when the occasion called for it and just the memory of the last ‘whupping’ was enough to keep the foolishness away for a season.
You nudged me to understand that salvation was important and essential, making my personal walk with God a decision I made entirely on my own. Acknowledging that there’s more to life than meets the eyes was the foundation of my Christianity and yet I’m still learning and paying it forward till date. Discarding ego, I learned crafts (it was your standard) that positioned me well enough to understand that being your own boss was better than being the best employee. I learned culinary skills from your glossy magazines and catering books as well as being in the kitchen with you. You taught me that adventure was good because curiosity could be a villain. You taught me that freedom was not the absence of rules but rather the opportunity to be disciplined and control myself at all times. You taught me that vulnerability wasn’t a weakness however, building relationships that bettered me would always keep me growing.
Thank you for being the best mother that I needed and happy mother’s day! Till we meet again in Zion, continue in your rest and I hope I made you proud.