If you ask me “how many mothers love their children?” I’ll point at every mother around. If you ask me, “how many mothers mothers make the right decisions for their children?” I will point at very few wise ones….
Happy Mother’s Day to the wise mothers…
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Writing is like a final stage pregnancy. It can pop out anytime. Have you ever sat in a matatu, with Dj Wisegeek mix jamming the tunes of local music? This is what happened to me today. Amid the ear-piercing music, I am trying to hear myself think. Plump, gross, and full of life, a woman is sitting next to me. She is seemingly happy about the music. She sings along every song that comes along in the mix playlist. She even knows the point at which the Dj makes a scratch. Well, my conclusion is that she has heard it before.
I go back to my thoughts.
The rain droplets are dropping heftily on the window. The mind shifts to the street lights and I see that they have the semblance of contiguous strikes of lighting on the road. I think about lightning. As electricity. As fiery snakes gliding upon the watery skies. As huge cocks that fly across the clouds in search of their lost hens, striking and scratching every obstacle across which they come. In fact, I am really thinking. Then the interference comes again and I am lost. A shrill voice trying to complement the beats that drip through the tiny meshes of the Matatu speakers. It’s the woman. Again. This time I pay attention. She can really spoil people’s songs. As she tries to hit the high note in one of the songs, I can’t stand it anymore.
I start craning my neck towards her ready to spit out the newest favorite phrase in a “Maina Kageni” voice;
But I let two heavy, moisten, and lazy breaths trace their way through my lungs. “Namaste”. The thought that comes to my mind is that she could be someone’s mother. Yes she could. Don’t ask me how I came to this conclusion. All you need to know is that things changed from then on. The face of disgust smoothly metamorphosed into a beautiful smile; full of charm. It had to be a perfect smile. It had to be sharpened such that any sarcastic edges are trimmed towards the dimensions of sincerity. And as I turned my head towards my left, tilting slightly upwards, I made a mental note to ensure that the veges I had gobbled did not stick on my grabby teeth.
Happy Mothers Day, I say to her.
The waves of defensive furrows of frown on her forehead slowly disappeared and her smile was even more beautiful. She smiles back and nodes. The awkward moment of silence after that needs another post altogether. However, the singing went a notch lower and I could hear myself think again.
That’s when it hit me. My mum’s comment about my Facebook update on Mother’s Day. She had asked me what it meant. She asked if she was among the wise women about whom I had talked. I could see that she was worried. I could see the unsaid question: Son, What do you think of me as a mother? It took strength not to blurt out the “Of course mum. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” But I was quick to say just a few obvious words:
Social media is just social media. I have millions of friends and I have to give them a general, yet educative, message. She seemed to understand.
It got me thinking. What does it mean to say to a special person, Happy Mother’s day? Are you saying it because the rest of the world is involved in an annually instigated euphoria towards the maternal side of parenthood? What is the one experience that has made you to appreciate your mother on such a day? Just one. Many would rush to the corner filled with the people shouting, “Ooh so many. I can’t even start counting. I can’t even pick one.” I only ask for one whose description stands out for you. This is why I am typing a Mother’s Day post for mama.
Coz I just remembered an evening when things were thick. I was years old. The story had been long. It is still long. And it will ever be long! I knocked on the mabati door of the 300 shilling room it was a small room. But it was a shelter all the same. I was temporarily staying in a mansion of a family member. A family that was responsible for her situation then. One that was hell bent on teaching her tough lessons of life. I knocked again.
The third knock, which had to be much harder to ensure that she awoke in case she was asleep, ended up pushing the door agape. The first vision was a small bag sprawled on the floor. The contents, clothes and books, peeked out like the entrails of a dead decaying cow. Getting in, the room was full. Of solid darkness. I swarm and waded my way in and lit a candle. That’s when I saw her. At the far corner. Bundled like a miserable sack of cassava. Despondent and teary. Life and the world were not her friends then. I do not talk to her. No words can help in such situations. I get busy cleaning the house. Arranging things. Putting this here. That there. Then prepare both of us a meal, serve both of us and push one of the plates to her corner. I sit on the far corner. The candle at the center of the room lights up the somber room. I shovel the food down my throat to quell the aggressive pangs of my ravenous stomach. She has touched hers. Tough situation. I push my empty plate to the center of the room. Seeing this, she picks her spoon and starts eating.
With every spoonful, I knew I had given her strength. A push for positive thinking. A kick to be bold for life will always be tough. And with every thought, I knew I had to be strong. An experience to hold on to. This is a post for Mama.
Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers out there.