Every day is Mother’s Day.
I am a little too late to the party, but they say, better late than never. I am the best at showing up late. However, being a better time-keeper was my resolution this year, but the universe did not think that was wise. COVID-19 just told me to project my desires probably next year because we are quarantined.
What am I late for? Mother’s Day. However, mine is different. My mother was/is different. She is like almost any other mother, but also she is
different from every other mother. She was my first love and had a beautiful mane. I had never seen such a beautiful woman growing up. She would have two “matutas,” and she would look exquisite.
My mother is laughter and light. She taught me how to laugh from the belly.
She laughs wholeheartedly, and mama would do that with us. My partner and I were reminiscing about how our mothers raised us and I remember she was never tired for our stories.
Growing up, my mother was a casual laborer. She would work on a farm from 8AM to 4PM, and she would be paid Ksh 70 ($0.7) per day. Mama would come home and prepare for us what we could afford that day. I was raised in Ndundori, Nakuru. We lived in a considerable maisonette made of mud. Every morning you would dust your bed because the mud had disintegrated.
Now that I am an adult, I can imagine how tired she always was. However, she always made sure she listened to how our day had unfolded. She never lacked stories. I always looked forward to when we would cook from the outside kitchen since we used firewood, to when we would shift to the main living room. We would surround the lantern and she would narrate to us her life growing up or listen to how our teachers treated us. She would just listen to us and make sure we laughed. Every night, we would laugh. My mother was a happy human and still is.
Mama never made us feel like we lacked. She never made us question why the neighbors lived better. My mother ascertained that we got equal serving, while some neighbors would eat meat, and their children would eat plain potatoes. My mother dared us to dream. My mother pushed us to dream. She rarely gossiped among us. She encouraged us to look beyond our now and see the future. My mother taught us to be present, to laugh, to love, and to live. Mama was present.
My mother was the first best friend we all had. In an African setting where poverty made people angry and close-minded, she encouraged us. She never made sex look shameful, and we would always tell her about our escapades, boys, and girls. To date, my mother remembers every boy I have ever liked. She always believed if she allowed us to be ourselves in front of her, we would never be pressured into being other people.
Each time, I remember my brothers fighting to lay their heads on her laps or shoulders as she was pregnant with my small brother, I see how happy she made us. In her eyes, we were enough, beautiful, worth it, and brilliant. Even as an adult, when she sees me all dressed up and dolled up, you can see the pride in her eyes. Sometimes, she voices it, “Look, I made all that and you are beautiful.” When she talks about marriage, she reminds me, “I raised you without a mark, no burns, no cuts, your skin is just flawless, never let someone taint that.”
My mother was/is my pride. She made me realize happiness is not how much you have, but how present you are. My mother encouraged me to laugh with my belly, and the only tears cascading would be from laughter. Numerously, I would laugh until my rib cage hurt. In the world where I see bitter people, I remember even in our mud house, we were happy as we could be. She always reminds me, “Money can’t buy everything but neither can poverty. Live a life you have always dreamed of.”
Everyday will always be Mother’s Day.
How is your mother? What do you remember from your childhood?