Even though I knew who my biological mother was from birth, I had, and still have, many mother figures in my life. I have been blessed like that.
I have had the ones who take special interest in the fact that I know how to cook certain dishes. I have the mom who is the queen of handicrafts, from knitting to plaiting hair, to making desserts out of condensed milk…she knows it all. I picked up some things from her and failed woefully at others. Till date she always reminds me of how I didn’t learn those things.
I have the mom who took special interest in my education, and provided the “ginger,” my biologically mom needed to even process the thought of sending a child to the university, something that hadn’t happened in my family. It was a lot of guts amidst naysayers to even contemplate that thought, but this mama never gave up. She made moves, she planned with my own biological mother and today, I stand as a testimony of what women supporting each other can achieve.
I had the mom who was a widowed mom of three boys. Her husband, who was a distant cousin of my father’s, had died young. She taught me about boys and their ways, before she too died unexpectedly that Sunday morning, August 13th. I remember her joyous nature, how she never let anything weigh her down. I remember her dark skin, her gapped teeth and how she took pleasure in making my sisters and I learn how to squeeze bitter leaf, and how she would often eat out of the bitter leaf without making any faces. Yuck!
I remember another mama, who had gone over and beyond the call of duty and friendship, time and time again, to help my mom, to help us, even though she was a single mom with a small business, while my mom is married.
These women are not my biological mothers (two of them have gone to be with the Lord, and the others are still living), but they have all been excellent mother figures in my life. They have been a blessing to me, my biological mother, and my sisters. Life would definitely have been different if they were not a part of it.
These women just remind us that, it is truly takes a village to raise a child. These are part of the village people that raised me, and I bless God for their lives. I celebrate these women today.
Moving on, I remember when one of our members had contributed a piece on mother-in-laws, where she shared how she had gone into her marriage expecting the worst from her in-laws, but like even she put it, “God did not allow her to eat the fruits of her lips” because He provided her with awesome in-laws, who have been so supportive of her. It was a dream.
Truth be told, mother-in-laws get a bad rap in our society. They are viewed as terrors, who are always competing with the wives of their sons for attention, but we truth is, if Jesus tarries and our children decide to get married, all of us will one day end up a mothers-in-law and I’m almost sure we would not like to be treated as we treat our mothers-in-law today.
Mothers-in-laws are great. They raised the sons we fell in love with and married. If for nothing else, they deserve to be celebrated for doing a great job in raising sons, whom we deemed good enough to marry.
When we think of that fact, any other thing can be by waved off. Yes, I know some mothers-in-law can be a pain in the neck and view their son’s wives not as a daughter, but a dangerous hanger-on, but even then, let’s cut them some slack. Now, that’s a reminder for me to call my own MIL.
Another set of mamas worth celebrating are the step moms. I think they have even gotten a worse reputation than the mothers-in-law. They are viewed with all sorts of suspicion, cast as wicked, uncaring and pure evil.
I have a step mom or big mommy, as we ceremoniously call her, and even though I cannot say our relationship is lovey-dovey, my history will be incomplete if I don’t mention her, and those who know me very well can point out the loopholes.
Name the phases, we have been through it all, and as we have all grown older, our relationship has found its stride and we more or less just pick up where we left off, whenever our paths cross, which sadly is not often.
But I remembered her this Mother’s Day, and celebrate her for the added spice she’s brought into my life.
The last group of people who deserve a standing ovation on this Mother’s day are the ones who choose to mother children who are not their biological children, and do it with so much passion and joy, you wonder.
I remember, Mama Ekundayo, whom TY Bello brought to limelight. Most people would know the story of how mama dedicated her life to taking care of children who have no one to help them. Even though she wasn’t rich, she made it her life’s mission to care for these children. What a soul worthy of celebration.
Sometime last year, my husband took me to a hospice for children with special needs, in my neighbourhood. I was nearly in tears that day, as I interacted with these children who, at the end of the day, were just kids who just wanted to be loved, who wanted to just be children, regardless of their disabilities.
And when we met the woman in charge of the place, you need to have seen her disposition, every sentence was littered with her concerns for the children, how they needed kind hearted Nigerians to contribute towards the care of these children, the things they desired, their needs, the accomplishments of the children. Oh, what passion.
I have forgotten the name of the woman in charge right now, but indeed, she does deserve to be celebrated this Mother’s Day
Another set of the mothers who deserve to be celebrated are the owners of orphanages. They see all sorts, pick up all sorts of babies, raise them, groom them on how to live in this society, and they have to do this with children from different backgrounds. It’s not an easy job, but it’s one most of them have gladly taken on and are doing with the whole of their hearts.
The truth is, most of them wouldn’t want to do anything else with their lives. Indeed, they will be lost without these children.
I hail these wonderful, selfless mothers of mothers, and pray for God’s strength to continue in this assignment He has given them.
To both biological moms and the other mother figures in our lives and society, I say Happy Mothers’ Day.
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