When Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.

– Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3

 

Growing up female with aunties, uncles and cousins like mine, it’s very easy to believe that the highest honors a woman can receive are motherhood and becoming someone’s bride. All the schooling and the way you’re brought up definitely serve to make you an “ideal” wife. Marriage means the approval of your family and you better be showing up with your hymen intact on your wedding day. My mother, on the other hand, raised me to understand that there are far more important things than familial endorsement and that “disobeying” the life plans someone else has set out for you isn’t insubordination. Although she never held unrealistic notions about marriage on account of her own mother being twice divorced, she still indulged in traditional domestic roles e.g. the cook, the caregiver. For that she sacrificed her dreams. Even now that all her kids have grown up, she has never once complained about abandoning herself so she could look after us. How I feel about her is unreasonable. She taught me how to stand up for myself. She taught me how to care for people. She taught me how to smile with my whole face and laugh with my whole body. No one laughs like my mum. Her contagious laughter fills up rooms and opens up people’s hearts, following them around wherever they go. She just picks the moment and she enjoys it.

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The first time I got excited about being an adult was when my mum called me from Nigeria for advice. She is always finding different ways to show she loves us. I mean; she has dedicated her life to making sure we’re okay. I have only ever felt real comfort while sitting beside my mum watching television. It’s the kind of loud comfort that speaks volumes about a mother’s love for her child. I just need to share the same space with her and I can feel it. She makes sitting on a couch, watching Discovery Channel look like the most desirable thing on the planet. She smiles every time she sees me and her mood improves whenever we come back home. There will never be a day that I am not passionate about her for everything good I do and everything I am is all because of Maman.

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I love you like the first day of spring. On the first day of spring the sun rises early in the morning for the first time in a while and you know because of the light coming through your bedroom window so bright you have to squint. When it’s for other people I feel the love on the inside but for you Maman, my heart beats all over my body. You’re just like me and nothing like me. It’s almost like I’m looking into the future. We have been through tough times together these past few years and I am so glad that depressing-weather-winter is over. On the first day of spring your love came rushing at me from out of the darkness. No matter how much I tried to push you away you never left my side. You’re a miracle. You stay up all night wondering if we’re happy and if you’ve done well raising us. Well done. I have no words to describe what you’ve done for me or who you are to me. I’m so sunlight dependent now!

She turned 49 today. Happy mother’s day, Maman, and happy birthday.

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