Growing up my mum and I were not the best of pals. She was the authority. I was the rebel. She was the teacher. I was the student. Her expectations I would question. Her reasoning, I called unrealistic.
Yet I loved her dearly and she was the one to whom I would go… when I was wheezing, afraid, defeated or just to complain about school, friends and life.
Her love was strong. Her touch gentle.
She would push me to swim despite my asthma, yet she talked to the coach to allow me to have my inhaler with my gear so I could use it or just be at peace knowing it was near. She would make the midnight drive to Osu Sala to get the inhaler I needed whilst never complaining about the irritation of my forgetfulness.
She was confident yet loving and wise, even allowing me to give into laziness and fail when I got cocky.
She would think ahead and spur me on, encouraging me to believe that ‘failures were the pillars of success’.
She would push me to try harder because she believed in my ability, saying you do your best and then “come or go Chicago.” (This was a saying and practice she always did although I am still not sure I know where this saying originates from.)
She would be the first to criticize me and take lengths to correct me, even though I would sit in defiance and give her ‘the look’. When my ego was too big, she was there, unnerved and unafraid to break it down and remind me to be humble, “because true character came from not losing your head”.
My mother was my math teacher and life teacher who would push me to better myself even getting me to do math sums at swim meets so I could utilize my time wisely. Her expectations seemed ridiculous yet it prepared me for life.
She would search high and wide, even befriending an unknown stranger so she could borrow appropriate books, after finding me reading something she felt unsuitable and lecturing me about the need to be wise in what I read.
Looking back, I think of a writing she had on her desk. The words went (along these lines) “I will not be scared of being unpopular, I will depend on God to lead me. My strength comes from Him who entrusted these children to me. I will look to Him and do what I have to do”.
Growing up I hated that paper. Yet today I see its value. I know my mother prayed a lot for me. As our personalities clashed, she would many times take me “to the Lord in prayer” never giving up although I know and remember with much regret and sadness many words that I said to her in anger and stupidity.
Motherhood is not easy and my mother loved me to the extent of putting me first many times over her own needs and desires. She gave me her fullest - criticizing and choosing to be unpopular yet cheering me all the way and then sitting back so I can enjoy the victory, though I now realize those victories would never have been, had she not done what she did.
To every mother out there I pray that you will not give up when your child calls you a “bad mama,” or looks at you with hatred.
May you find the strength to carry on and do the best you can knowing that one day, your child will appreciate you and know that you were their biggest critic, their greatest fan!
Happy Mother’s Day. May you know you are not alone and all you do will… be worth it!