I am a proud, card carrying member of Daddy’s Girl club. The delight I feel when I impress my dad, when I talk to my father, when he hugs me is like nothing on this earth. It would be fair to say that I have a Father complex, one which I am not seeking help for anytime soon. But from time to time, I am bowled over by the love I feel for my mother (Mama Yemi), and the opportunity to say Happy Mother’s Day is one of such times.
We’re really quite different, my mother and I, and while I used to think I didn’t really want her traits, I have come to appreciate them and even come to envy her for personality, so I can honestly celebrate her today.
- Mama Yemi is patience personified – If there is a saying like “Giving someone a long rope” then my mum is the rope maker. She never loses hope, she never gives up on anyone, she endlessly seeks the good in all people. Impatience is one of my greatest flaws, so to have a trait for waiting – and waiting the right way, not crying, cussing or fussing – is admirable and my mama has it in spades.
- Mama Yemi can make do with so little – My mother was raised right. She is the right side of middle class: familiar with treats and the good life, but does not expect them as a right. As a result, I have seen my mother in five star hotels and I have seen her make a pot of soup with N200. When I think of some of my ridiculous highfalutin ways, I realise that my mum is a superstar.
- My Mother HELD her marriage together – My father is an interesting, intriguing man. He’s witty, funny, fun, active and intelligent. My father is magnetic and charming. My mother, however, is an earthy sort. She buckles down and gets on with it. The thing about earth though is that it is consistent, solid and hard-wearing. Mama Yemi withstood all of her husband’s excesses and flaws and he in turn came home every night. I am from the generation of “Abeg, marriage no be by force” and think nothing of walking out of a marriage if it seems insurmountable. But my parents are together today and this is Mama Yemi’s earthy hard work because that is what she wanted. But she is not afraid of telling us to separate from nonsense o. She knows the world has changed and will have removal men on speed dial if one of us needs their stuff packed out of husband’s house.
- Mama Yemi’s no-nonsense attitude would make Margaret Thatcher run for cover – When we were younger, we used to call my mum “Major General Mummy”, behind her back, of course. We’ve said it to her face a few times as adults but only from a safe distance. Three boys, two girls and a few hundred ‘adoptees’ is no joke and she ruled with a firm but fair hand. She could always be relied upon for a hug or hot cane – it’s up to you which you get.
- Mama Yemi is a MOTHER – My mum never had kids because that was what was expected of her. She herself comes from a small family of 4 – mum, dad, and a younger brother – so there was no pressure to have a football team. But she had five of us because despite being a dental therapist, she is happiest when she is amongst her children.
- Mama Yemi’s smile is the thing sweet dreams are made of – My mother’s mettle is second to none. Her ability to smile smack in the middle of a storm; to calm children, husband and even herself while everything falls apart; to go about her business even when it is difficult to get up and face the day is a backbone, a mettle I can only hope for. She wears grace and dignity like a mantle.
So here’s to every mother who gives and gives, who loves regardless, who is slow to konk but swift to hug, who gives full tummies and empty laundry baskets, who feels your every heartbreak and triumph as though they were hers.
I couldn’t love you more.
This is for Mama Yemi who loves this song, and who I know would dedicate it to Sisi (her own mother) if she ran a blog too:
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