True Mother

Mother’s Day is a special day set aside to celebrate mothers. Not that we don’t remember or celebrate our mothers on other days, just as we don’t wait for Valentine Day and Father’s Day to celebrate our fathers and beloved ones, but the opportunity to do something special for our mothers is something worth doing over and over.

The general idea of Mother’s Day is to  celebrate our mothers, what they mean to us, the essence of motherhood, and their role in nurturing the family. Indeed no family is complete without a woman, without a mother. As a strong believer of divine creation, I can only attribute this natural phenomenon to God. Nevertheless, I sometimes ask myself, who is a mother?

Many years ago my parents sent me to live with one of my uncles. He was a Chief Medical Officer and well-respected in the state where he worked. I remember how often he would remind us of his training in Yugoslavia in the 70s. Once a year, hundreds of women would literally invade my secondary school with assorted gifts, all types of fruits and deliciously cooked meals to celebrate with us. Hundreds of singing, jubilant mothers, exuding joy that knew no bounds. It was one of our best days in the year, along with Easter, Christmas, weddings and festivals, for all the students and teachers.

Even though I never knew at the time why they came, I knew it was a day of merriment. A day of celebration. I knew it was a day of suspended classes, bullying and flogging. They would address the school assembly, telling us how joyful they were to see us, to celebrate us and to be with us. Afterwards they would sing, the goodies made us sing too, and danced to the tunes of jubilation. Their joy could only be matched with our expectation to eat their goodies. Even the headmaster and teachers appeared kind because of their eyes on the lion’s share.  One eye on the mothers and the students and the other on the heap of gifts. They stared on the gifts as if they were lottery numbers, as if they were answers to their prayers. Nonetheless, the mothers never minded.

After all said and done, the goodies where divided class by class, teacher by teacher. The headmaster always had the lion share. Fortunately for everyone, the goodies they brought were so plenty that every single student had a handful of something. We ate and ate as if there was no tomorrow. It was a good day.

Not long after, I ran away from my uncle’s house to another uncle’s house. I remember not being treated well. I was flogged always as if they always wanted to exorcise demons out of me. Shortly after my arrival my aunt began to blame me for so many things and went as far as denying me meals. I complained to my uncle but he didn’t do much except share his own meals with me. Not long I ran away again to another relative’s house. There wasn’t much joy there either. I soon ran away again to another relative’s house. One day they almost killed me when they learnt I picked and smoked a cigarette butt. They organized a search party that evening and combed the entire neighbourhood with sticks. I could hear them calling out my name from where I hid securely underneath a broken car. I slept underneath the broken car. The following day, as dawn ushered in a new morning, I quietly crept out for safety and ran for my life. I never came back again. My escape was a miracle.

There wasn’t any telephone or internet – even the idea would have made the propagator look like an alien. Finally, I ran to another aunt’s house. She loved me as her two daughters. Oh! she loved and cared for me. Fortunately, I never got the opportunity to thank her before she passed away.

Fast forward to the 21st century, in hindsight those special days in school were Mother’s Day. Today we have social networks and mobile applications that have changed and transformed our cultural behaviors in different ways. Perhaps, today mothers don’t invade schools with food and gifts to celebrate the pupils anymore. Rather we celebrate them with special gifts among other things. To profess an answer to my earlier question, a mother would not only be the woman who gave birth to you but the special women in your life that have explicitly or implicitly helped and shaped it positively. Our life is a journey – a one way journey – and in this journey people would enter and leave incessantly. Some would stay for 1 minute, others 1 day, 1 month, 1 year or 10 years. In the wake of time their impact is the only thing that would matter. So go ahead and appreciate that special one. Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers!

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Jennifer Oke
Rendezvou Magazine | Online Lifestyle Magazine

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