Lessons From Mama

“Twelve hours on her feet
And she worked like a slave
She didn’t make a lot of money
But the bills got paid…

She said
Girl I just want you to have
A better life then me
She said
Get a good job so you can raise a family
She said
I’m not the kind of people you look up to.. “

–      She Said by The D.E.Y

My dad called me earlier this week, and in our conversation he called me “Christina”.

I paused. I laughed even.

“Daddy (pronounced in Meru “Ndandy” not Dadee ), you have NEVER called me Christina.”

I told him.

He laughed too and joked, “I thought I would call you Christina so you can know that even I,  know your baptism name.”

FYI, My baptism name is actually Christine but my mum and siblings call me Christina sometimes, when they are feeling particularly fond.

That, was awkward.

We grew up with both our parents but it was mama’s presence that we felt more. Dad was there yes, – a perfectionist and a strict disciplinarian, but it was mum that came to visit on visiting day. It was mum that bought us clothes and knew our shoe size. It was mum who you told when you were sick or when you needed money for a school trip.

Mum at my wedding Nov, 2008

I have written about my mother in this blog before. Today being Mother’s Day, I take another moment to honour her and reflect upon the things that she taught us or impacted on us – my four siblings and I.

Make things happen – There are three kinds of people : those that watch things happen, those that, make things happen, and those who look around and say ‘what happened??’. My mother is the kind of person who makes things happen. When she believes in something, she prays and goes on with it, no matter who it is that declares it can not be done. Mama dared to take me to an expensive boarding Primary School(because it was the best) even when my dad felt it was too expensive – then she, had to stay up at night thinking of ways to pull resources so I remained in school. I salute my mother for that and many other bold choices she has made for my siblings and I. From her , I have learnt that it takes courage to make things happen and that the good we seek is just outside our comfort zone.

Not just anything goes – One really special thing with mum is that she has taste! When I was young she’d buy me nice little dresses. And I’d look around and no one else in the village had a dress like mine, and I’d feel special. Without knowing it, mama inspired in us the need to be outstandingly different.

Forget the sky, there is NO limit! – Even after we are all grown up, and settled, mum still urges us to pursue further education. It really borders on prying when mum calls and suggests that with the kind of money she imagines we are making, she doesn’t see why we HAVE NOT yet enrolled for such and such a course that in her opinion would be beneficial to our careers. That’s my mama! And I love her for that.

Help others – “You know that your cousin just completed a course in Tourism, don’t you? Well, she’s still at home….” Mum will call us, and urge that we get jobs for our cousins or a position in the army for our upcountry neighbor’s son. And she’s not buying into the reason that, you are er….not actually in the Tourism industry! Our mum wants us to help others.

As I grow older, it makes sense. There is more to life than becoming rich. As someone put it, the only purpose for which we live, is to make life more bearable for other people.

If you want something go for it – Believe in yourself and forge ahead. This saw our mother start a school after her retirement much to the amazement of the naysayers. Mama may not get to see her grandchildren every so often, but she gets to be around the children of the school she started – doing what she does best (instilling knowledge) and spanking their poor little behinds so they tow the line.

Teach – One thing that stands out is that my mother was an exceptional teacher. She still is, but her diabetic condition has taken a toll on her eyesight lately. Towing her footsteps I have taken to teaching my kids – as in going beyond the homework and teaching them ahead. I just hope I can keep up with it…even when they start studying PHYSICS. 😀

Keep something by for a rainy day – This is one thing I remember mum saying time and again.See, being a teacher she liked repeating, for emphasis. When mum says she’s broke, she is not like desperately extremely broke. She always has a backup plan. When I grow up I want to be just like that. Oh wait, am grown already! 🙁

Happy Mother’s Day Isabella and all the awesome mums out there !

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