• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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An ode to motherhood

Honouring mothers today

This week, I have chosen to go to a topic we may have visited and re-visited but with a different angle. I am at sea about what themes to write about and decided that this would be it. There has been so much going on, and we need to look at each of them no matter how late.

So there is Osinachi’s death, the gospel singer alleged to have been murdered by her physically abusive husband, and recently the rape of a 10-year old in Dubai while on a school organised tour.

Add this to the insecurity, banditry and kidnaps Nigeria- wide and you know Nigeria is a place where Columnists would never run dry if they are creative and have their ear to the ground. And also if they are empathetic.

Do your best. Be kind. Visit often. Spend time. Don’t always be in a hurry. Take a gift. Laugh with her. Take her out. Show her the world if you can. Listen intently. There is so much to learn

So, here I am this week ready to talk about motherhood, and it’s not even Mother’s Day. Let me begin with my encounter with a 15-year old whose profound statements caught me totally off guard considering her age.

She shocked me when she premised our conversation on how children are often selfish, demanding for this and that even when they know their parents are struggling.

She then went on to explain to me how she knows that parents, especially mothers, have their private demons, challenges and pains.

She said they would cry privately and chin up when they are with their children trying to solve every ones problem.

She sealed it by saying all children must be kinder to their mothers when they are alive and, offer help at all times and not shed crocodile tears when they are gone.

I was stupefied when she added finally that most children are not able to see their mothers private pain while Mums make most of the sacrifices.

Eating scraps so her children can feed, sacrificing her last dime and saying I will be fine, trudging on to make her children comfortable, cooking when she is very ill with a straight face.

Our Dads do a lot for us oh, she concluded, but our Mums make the most sacrifice, let’s treat them more gently with more understanding. I was completely blown away. She is only 15 years old.

She also had perspectives on how boys end up being spoilt by their families. You know Aunty, she said. They can’t even clean their rooms when they leave home. Can’t cook. Can’t clean and then they are mostly self-entitled.

You know, parents have to do better, she said with a toothy chuckle. When they get married they are going to be thinking their wives are unworthy and there would be wahala. This child. Straight as a plank with so much sense. I totally fell in love with her.

But her words on Mums and the sacrifice they make resonate with all Mums and all birthed by Mums. In fact, a young Lebanese guy told me last week, I will not only go to jail for my Mum but I can die for her. Profound!

I am today saddened to see all sorts of language unbecoming directed at parents online by generation z. Abuse and vile language. Your own mother? Incredibly ridiculous.

I lost my Mum many years ago but I talk about her daily. My Mum was phenomenal and as I tell my children everything she did for me was out of love and concern.

My Mum was very strict but she was also my best friend. I could tell her anything. As I grew older and started having my own children, I understood a lot of the things she made me do which may have looked harsh at the time.

She insisted on good manners, politeness and respect, even when someone was an idiot. You can tell him better, she would say. He may not know any better. She gave everyone a chance.

She was human, could get angry but not often. She made me cook. A lot. Although I enjoy cooking, it seemed like I was the go to chef in the house and it could be overwhelming.

But today I can cook for 20 people at a time non-stop, and I do not even feel stressed by it. I try to be kind and courteous to my domestic and office staff even the ones who are not measuring up. I learnt that from my Mum.

My Mum was famous for turning up at my University with a boot-load of yams and smoked fish to give students who have been helpful to me, a roommate or a random staff of the University, fellow or lady who offered some assistance.

She would travel from Makurdi where we lived to ABU, Zaria, with these things. It was not an easy feat but she showed up anyway. I often told her it was not necessary but she would wave me aside and do it anyway. I got my gifting DNA from her.

I watched also as she mediated in marriage squabbles and looked out for single mothers. Indeed, I am very proud of my Mum and miss her dearly.

Read also: Working mothers struggle with outsourcing childcare

Today’s younger children are certain to frown at these things my Mum did and tell her she is embarrassing them.

Mothers are the special gifts God gave us all. We must love them and cherish them and speak to them gently. I often say to people who still have their parents. Be kind to them.

One day you will find no one to disagree with, fight with, gist with. Learn to forgive even if they wronged you.

Try and understand their point of view while explaining yours. Life is temporal. One day they are gone like mine are, and science still has still not trumped the higher being and has never brought anyone back from the dead. Only Jesus has that record as far as history is concerned.

That for which you shout at your parents can be better addressed. When I saw pictures of private sector mogul, Femi Otedola and his Mum as she turned 90, I saw the joy and affection between them.

I understood just looking at those pictures that he is looking after her and does his best. Care is really not all about money. Sometimes, they just need our company.

I miss my Mum. She did not make it to 90 but I did my best. I sometimes look back and wish I could have done more. But it was time and I cherish the time God gave her with us.

The loss can be painful but the memories and time spent can make it easier. They are never out of our minds. Do your best so you can have good memories.

The memories we shared with my Mum are too deep to wave aside. I think of my Mum daily. Mrs Josephine Awawu Amodu will forever be in my heart.

Do your best. Be kind. Visit often. Spend time. Don’t always be in a hurry. Take a gift. Laugh with her. Take her out. Show her the world if you can. Listen intently. There is so much to learn.

Do not because of a man or woman, a friend or spouse jettison your parents. Regret will be your reward. Love your Mum as hard as you can. She may not be there tomorrow. Do what you can now. Enough said.