I remember so vividly the details of a day when my grandpa came to our house on Elliot road. He was sick, angry, worried and to top it all he couldn’t even walk without falling over. That day I saw something amazing. As grandpa struggled to walk up to our first floor apartment, my mother suddenly turned to him and said ‘Daddy, stop!”, she then proceeded to lift him up in her arms as if he were as light as a feather and then carried him up two flights of stairs without batting an eyelid. Every time I think of ma, I’m reminded that my mother is the strongest woman I know.
As I type this, I’m struggling to find the right words. How can I begin to articulate the depth and breadth of my love for my mother? It’s almost impossible to paint a comprehensive picture of who she really is and a simple patchwork of phrases or a walk down memory lane will not suffice. Be that is it may, the following is an attempt in that direction; here’s 3 things about my mother, 3 things that you should know.
My mother has beautiful eyes.
Growing up, I often watched ma get ready for work. My mother loves dressing up (still does) and each morning she applies her make up with the precision and meticulousness of a heart surgeon. Those eyes have a few lines around them today but they still retain their luminosity and their glow. In every line is a story. My ma has not had it easy. She’s never really told me and yet I know. I know the years of struggle she’s had to endure. Life can be so complicated sometimes but ma’s borne it all, her eyes looking heavenward, at the bigger picture. Ma’s eyes are the windows to her soul.
Ma has rough hands.
Yes, I said rough, they’re not the dainty hands that are evidence to hours of pampering and care. Mum’s palms tell of hard work and of much sacrifice. But what I love most about ma’s hands is that I’ve watched them reach out to people over and over again. I watched as she rushed to an old lady’s aid one day. The lady had fallen over in the street, writhing in pain as crowds gathered around her to watch. No one came forward to help. Mum was swift; she called for help, sent me off to get water and then sat by the lady’s side comforting a total stranger like she did when we needed her reassuring hands. My ma is the most generous woman I know. I’ve lost count of how many second chances she’s given people. I’ve lost count of how many people owe my mum money. I’ve lost count….she never counts. Never keeps score. My ma’s hands are rough but they’re beautiful.
Mum can be scary!
I remember back to when I was in the 9th grade. Dad was working abroad and we were at home having a chat one evening when I casually mentioned that someone I knew was bullying me. Not the kind of bullying you’d expect in a school but the kind that required serious intervention. I watched mum’s face contort and change dramatically as she persuasively pried every detail out of me. That night I went to sleep a little less worried, mum sensed it too. The next evening the doorbell rang and to my shock and horror there stood the family of my tormentor. The next thirty minutes went by in a haze. I’ve never seen my mom so angry, so menacing and so categorical. I don’t know about my visitors, but every cell in my body tingled. Mum won that day. Not because my bully backed off, but because she made his parents realize that he was a child in dire need of attention.
I could go on waxing eloquent about ma, but I won’t. Many of those stories are personal and I want to guard them closely. But you get a sense of who my ma is and what she means to me, right? Ma’s a woman of honour. She’s the perfect friend and though she stands a little over five feet she’s a giant, a dynamo and an example of what a good mother is really like.
If I were to list words to describe my mum, they’d all end with ‘ing’. The reason behind that is because she is always doing, acting and living a life that does not sit down and expect things to happen but makes them happen, ‘one day at a time’.
Happy Mother’s Day, Ma. You mean the world to me. I love you *heartfull* and I can’t wait to see you!
Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you.
— Virginia Woolf, Selected Letters