I woke up this morning, and as is the norm nowadays, sleepily reached for my blackberry (which is always by my bedside) and checked my twitter account. That twitter thing is very addictive sha. It even comes before my mail messages now. Well, on twitter I found out it was Mothers day. I lay back on my pillows and let the memories hit. The good ones. I always let the good ones come first so as to strengthen myself for the painful ones. I had so much memories.
My mother was like no other! That was my first thought and trust me, everyone who ever met her could swear to that. As a child I thought was my mum was invincible. That nothing could touch or defeat her. She was my rock as she was to her children, family members and those she came in contact with. She was strong that way. She was the reason I looked for trouble (them beat me tire when I small), the reason I woke up smiling everyday. As the last born of a single mother in a large but close knit family, I enjoyed a lot of privileges. I was loved and I knew it. I was spoilt rotten by my mum and everyone else.
Do you know I slept beside my mum on the same bed till I was 14? Shocking! Even as a adult, I admit that was just crazy. Of course the only reason I stopped sleeping beside her was because she died. Damn. That was when it occurred to me that my mum was mortal. That inspite of her imposing physical build, she was human. I had thought she was a goddess. She was our world. Our joy. Our own. If I was lost when she died, my siblings were even more lost. Nobody knew what to do. My mother had sheltered us, loved us, protected us, provided for us, defended us, fought our battles and given us the world. I suspect that my far older brothers and sisters didn’t realize she was mortal too. It took us years to recover from the shock and get our bearings right. I was even stronger than some of them.
How does one begin to describe my mother? Words fail me. There’s just no way to adequately describe who she was. She was strong. She was bold. She was generous. Full of life! Loving! Fearless! Charismatic! Industrious! She was everything a mother should be and then some. I’m not just saying that because she was my mother. I’m saying it because that was just who she was. A woman who didn’t go to school but insisted right from when I was a baby that I speak to her in Queen’s English. God help the person my mother caught speaking pidgin English to me. Your own don finish be that. Lol.
I remember the big pots we used to cook at festive periods. In the morning, the first meal would be pounded yam and Egusi soup. My sisters and I would then distribute it to every house on the street and just for the record, my street is a quite a long one. Afternoon was Jollof rice and chicken and its was distributed the same way too. Everyone knew there was always food and a kind word at Iye-Ibie’s house (as they fondly called her). She was the Iye (a bini word for mother) of my area. I remember how crowded my house always was. It was like a small village. You could never tell who lived there or not. People trooped in and out for one reason or the other. How I miss those days!
I remember the day she went to school with me because a teacher had flogged me. She didn’t find it funny. Why would a teacher beat her beloved Eseosa, a child she had never raised her own hand against over an Edo book? A nonsense Edo book! My mother never understood why I had to learn Edo in school. To her, mathematics, English and other subjects were more important as I was an Edo girl and if she wanted, she could teach me the language at home. Kai! That day she took on the entire teaching staff and the principal. That was my mum. You don’t mess with her children. Oh no you don’t.
They say there’s a reason for everything. Though I may never understand or get rid of the pain (12 years and its still there), I’ve learnt to live with it and channel it into positive pursuits but I’m so grateful and honoured to have had such an amazingly incredible mum. She’s still the wind beneath my wings and is still my driving force. If I can be half the woman she was, I’d have achieved plenty. I know her shoes are way too big for me to fill but I can try and I’m trying my damn best. I would still want her to be her baby if there’s another life. Happy mother’s day Mrs P. U. Ogbeide. Iyenogie! Iye ni ye! Iyenmwen nimose! A mother like no other!