MY MOTHER’S TERRIBLE CHILD
My mother unconditionally loved me and my siblings. She earned our respect and trust over time. She allowed us make our own mistakes and experience our own triumphs. This enriched our relationship and our love and respect grew stronger.
My mother had the hardest but most rewarding job in the world – raising me. It must have been thankless sometimes and joyous at other times. I was an annoying child (I still am). I know I can be irritating and tough. But did my mother ever begrudge this? Never. That is what mothering is all about. My mother’s life was full of tears…tears of sadness (lots of them) and tears of happiness. She cried at my wins and disappointments. She made them her own. She fought the world for me.
I know I haven’t been the easiest daughter to have. I liked things my way (still do, sometimes). I was cranky, cried all the time, refused to write my exams until she came and sat in class where I could see her, set my thighs on fire, stole meat from the pot, took stationery from the department stores (which you would have to return), changed boyfriends like soiled diapers and fought endlessly. I was dangerously adventurous.
Do you remember when I went to the ‘mallam’ that sold sweets and gums in church and nearly emptied his tray picking sweets for my friends and we ran away? He had to come and look for you inside the church. You hid your embarrassment well. Oh my, I was terrifically terrible.
But despite my ‘terribleness’, I want you, Mother, to know you did an amazing job. Oh, I can’t forget the fights you put up with daddy to make sure I got what I wanted (sometimes). I noticed. Thank you.
We had our bumps along the way but you were always with me at every step making sure I kept to the ‘path’ and pursued my dreams. ‘Mothering’ to you, wasn’t just a work or skill or tool used to optimize my development. It was an expression of who you are.
The Lord, by spiritual design, made nurturing a part of the spiritual heritage given to women. There is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation. In my profession as a teacher, I have had the front row seat to observe how a mother can influence her child positively or negatively through her actions and/or inactions.
Perhaps the reason we respond universally to our mothers’ love is because it typifies the love of our Saviour. The love of a mother comes nearer to being like the love of God than any kind of love.
As in all things, our Saviour set the perfect example in the love He showed for His earthly mother. In the final most pivotal moment of His mortal life, Jesus looked down from the cross and saw His mother, Mary, and ensured she would be cared for by saying to His disciple, ‘Behold thy Mother’. As the scriptures say, then Jesus knew that all things were now accomplished and He bowed His head and died (John 19:27-30).
That said, I thank you, Mother, for challenging my values and convictions, and making sure that I kept the right values close to my heart always and got rid of the things that destroy the body, mind and spirit. I thank you for teaching me everything I needed to survive in this challenging world, for teaching me the real meaning of love, forgiveness, patience and grace and for taking care of my needs. I thank you for being a friend who took time to listen to my happy or sad stories. My teacher, mentor and coach, I thank you for teaching me all that matters in this world. I am grateful for every minute I have spent with you. I realize that while you watched me play and grow, most of your best years slipped away out of pure love, selflessness and sacrifice. I love u Mummy.
Thank you for loving this terrible child.
Thank you for loving me.
From Your ‘not so terrible anymore’ Daughter,