To say that my mother and I have had an easy relationship over the years would be one hell of a lie. Darn, I will have dangerously bordered an atrocity if I dare say that we have always agreed on most stuff. But do you know one thing that has stayed constant over the years? My love for her. And hers for me.
Growing up, I was terrified of my mother. Who am I kidding? I am still terrified of that woman. In fact, whenever I’m home and she happens to call me by my three full names, my knees buckle harder than those of a newborn lamb because there is just no taking chances with that woman. She is the kind of mother that can easily freeze you in your steps with just as much as one look from her. So, try to imagine how nervous I was the first time I had to tell her about this wonderful guy I had met.
Boys and girls, that day I called in all the favors that the minor gods of earth owe me and even then, they did not suffice. I had to call upon the higher man and request Him to send me an entire chariot of angels to carry my body away into the greater beyond in case I passed out while delivering the news that I had met a guy she might approve of.
See, hers is and has always been tough love. She loves fiercely but punishes even more fiercely. That is why her tough side is what has remained overexpressed through the years. Come on, blessed with 5 kids, all with big, round and shiny stubborn heads, that woman has not been able to afford the coveted pleasure of being sweet all the time. Maybe, that is why trying to build a relationship with her over the years has been difficult for me. Not just me, but my siblings as well.
I do not entirely blame it on her. Because come on, we have had our fat share of happy times with mother. Times when the sounds of our laughter created crevices in the roofs and walls of her house. Times when we gossiped villagers, talked about their funny walking styles and the crooked shapes of their noses. Times when she taught us how to make soft chapati and even persevered eating the ones we cooked that tasted worse than hay without complaining. Those were truly great times but let us move on.
Here is what I’m saying. My mother is a wonderful parent. (happy sigh). Goddammit, that woman has done everything expected of a parent by society and even more. She has always been the-extra-mile kind of woman. She buys you a school uniform that is four times your size so that it lasts you for four years and then spends the next four years laughing at how ridiculous that school uniform looks on you. On visiting days, she’d be that parent who brings all kinds of snacks. Dry, fried, roasted, caramelized, boiled, sautéed, name it. She literally carries the entire supermarket in her basket for you, her child. As if she wants you to sample everything in case Armageddon happens before school closes.
However, my mother is not perfect. It is the one thing I’ve never known how to deal with.
Growing up, we see our parents as invincible. Not just so, we tend to view them as these people who no single thing could bring down. People who should be perfect to the core. And when they fall short – which they do oh-so-often- we never know how to deal with it. We find ourselves resenting them. We feel like they do not love us enough. Like they are letting us down. Like they are not trying hard enough to keep us happy.
I spent a large chunk of my past life resenting my mother for that small imperfect side of her. That side that does not listen before punishing or quarreling me. The side of her that assumes that I do not have things to do on the weekends except accompanying her on her visits to her old aunties and uncles or friends from church. The part of her that thinks that I should have pursued medical or engineering school as opposed to economics.
Also, I have never liked the part of her that thought my Christianity is not genuine just because we disagreed too many times than a normal family should. Even more, I resented the part of her that assumed that I should never have a boyfriend at any point in my life. (read ‘all my life’ as all my days till 3rd year in college. Nowadays my mom is all about fasting for her daughter to get a man. lol)
There are times we may disagree on something till I feel like, ‘well, mommy, we had a good ride. Thank you for giving birth to me but this is the end of the road for us.’ But somewhat, our hearts still reach out to each other. I am learning to love her for who she is. For who she has been to me. And I can tell you, that woman has been something.
Now I cannot tell you that my mother is my first call when in trouble. She has never been. And do not take that the wrong way. Simply put, a lot of water has passed under some bridges and had the foundations shaken. I do not call her with my heart issues. In fact, I rarely call her about any of my issues. Not because she won’t help but because she can be a bit unpredictable. We do talk, alright, but rarely on deep matters. And I am 100% okay with that. However, make no mistake, it took me all my life to make peace with that aspect of my life. More importantly, that doesn’t have to be the case with you and your mother. but you do not have to do the same.
Here is how I used to think. She is my mother, she ought to be perfect. She ought to understand me. She should not disappoint me. She should make me happy. But I forgot one thing. Before she is my mother, she is somebody’s child as well. A child with fears and flaws. I never realized that she was and has always been doing the best she can for me. For all of us. She may not have come through for me in every situation but the times she did, she did it in style. So, I am choosing to focus on that.
Make no mistake, God knew what he was doing when he gave us flawed parents. We too will make some flawed but wonderful parents someday. And truthfully, until you are a parent yourself, you may never fully understand how much your parents love you. Even if it be in their own crooked ways. In fact, as I write this, I still do not understand my mother fully, let alone the entire concept of motherhood. But I am resting assured and secure in the love my mother has for me.
Listen, I am not saying that all parents are amazing. Neither am I saying that there are no times when our parents wrong us wrongfully. Times when they hurt us in unimaginable ways even though they are meant to be our protectors. Times when they overstep and make us feel helpless on how to deal with them without coming across as disrespectful. All I am trying to say is that our parents are only as human as the next person on the street.
That is precisely why I will confide in you that sometimes I do wish that I had a better relationship with my mother. I do. And I am trying. I know she is too. It is just that things that have taken years to break take many years to fix. And many things get in the way of the fixing, trust me. As I said, it is not a perfect world. But as long as you both are trying, and doing right by each other, we are all going to be okay.
Only keep in mind, mothers were never meant to be perfect. No one is. Therefore, have realistic expectations of your parents. Time will heal that which can be healed. As for the wounds that are left gaping, faith will dry those up.
Happy Mother’s Day in advance!
Have you watched my YouTube video from last week titled: SO YOU’RE DATING A GUY FROM CHURCH, HUH?: https://youtu.be/pultsF5IUvQ