Writing about you is hard, I’ve been trying to write this since 9am. How can one write about you when the words that define you do not exist?
What word can tell just how much you have given my brothers and I, the things you set aside to keep us on the straight and narrow. Or how you have been our constant champion, believing in us even when everything seemed bleak and dying?
Where’s the word that can tell of your beautiful spirit and your kindness, or of your smashing beauty and poise even with three adult children? Or the phrase that can describe your adept skills in the kitchen that make every meal an unforgettable experience.
I’ve been looking through the dictionary for the expression in English language that’s adequate to convey your sense of humour. You are the funniest woman I have ever met! The only person who comes close is your own mother, my awesome Mama Christiana. The amazing thing is you make no effort to be humorous, it just is. If I had a comedy routine featuring the things you say, Trevor Noah or Chris Rock would have nothing on me
And that imagination? The stories you wove for us as little children to entertain us were so awesome that we remember them clearly today. The songs you composed on the fly? The colourful names you gave all those soups so that your picky eater children would eat them? Or the scary stories you told us to get us stop certain habits? Where’s the word that can contain all that? Your love for reading made me love the written word, I remember wanting to learn to read because you read so much. I wanted to have the words speak to me as they spoke to you
Fierce, protective, shielding, defensive are beautiful words right? But do they tell of the hours you have spent on your knees interceding for us? Or the times you have been our shield from the vagaries of this life? Or the times you were just there to comfort us? Or the times when you made sure that we got food at parties, weddings etc. It is really is funny to watch how you would commandeer waiters to get the best bits for us and you wouldn’t even eat
Speaking of picky eaters, you are the chief of them all. I wonder how you’re not as skinny as Obinna with the tiny portions you eat. Yet you would never fail to give your children tidbits of your meals. Generous doesn’t fit so well for you because even that word has limits and you do not. You give your money, time, compassion and care to everyone who comes along. It isn’t any wonder that anyone who meets you wants you to adopt them.
Strict? Anyone who could make me overcome my ingrained tendency to leave till tomorrow that which should be done today deserves a Nobel Prize in Motherhood. From the epic side eyes that reset any malfunctioning child to the gentle but insistent push and then the tongue-lashes that remind us that you’re an Mbaise woman, fiery and acerbic.
Committed is a powerful word but tell me if it describes how you could travel from Owerri to Lagos on the Buhari/Fashola abandoned roads, get home, change and go to the town union meeting you chair? You do it all the time, you did it today. Or how you would from your not so fat purse, sponsor executive meetings, reach out to members and start projects. Or how you would spend the first Monday and Tuesday of the month balancing the account books when you were financial secretary and even now you still help out.
Today we celebrate mothers and I can’t help wondering what my life would have been like without you, my heart freezes at the ramifications of that. Who else could have tolerated Adaeze the toddler who refused to eat solid food until she was almost three and would only drink custard from a feeding bottle? Would I be that patient? I don’t know. You aren’t perfect, you have never pretended to be. But your love for us has always been 100% and I know it will always be.
Thank you Onyeomachi for being my mother, for wanting me even before I was conceived, for carrying me in your womb and enduring gruelling morning sickness, for taking care of me when I was helpless and even now. For allowing me to be me even when it was hard for you to watch me take paths that you wouldn’t have prescribed, for allowing me make my mistakes and being my biggest Champion.
Most of all, Thank you for being all these and more to my brothers and I without ever reminding us of all you do for us… not even when it must be tempting to remind us of how much you’ve given for us or of the hours of labour you endured to bring us to this world. I pray that God will continue to bless and strengthen you, to continue to grant you wisdom and grace and he will continue to honour you now and forever.