Several years ago, Mom was our cook, our nurse, our teacher, our stylist, our seamstress, our friend, and above all, she was our mother, the African style; with winks, glares, spanks and even canes for going wrong.
Although, we spent most of our childhood days with her mom, whom we call “mama”, and who was also our cook, nurse, friend and a true mother to us, that we almost never felt the absence of our mom. Mom was not always around as she was in the university then, but she comes to see us each time they’re on break in school. And if her semester break falls within the same period as our mid-term or end of the term break, she takes us home to dad, and that usually is our bonding moment, a great one at that.
She was our cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner, preparing for us various delicacies; the “ikokore”, “ila asepo” with fresh fish, the “moi moi”, “godo”,”Amala” “Luru” among others, and by midday, she doubled as our teacher, teaching us both English and Arabic alphabets and words, in the African way though i.e with canes for every mispronounced and misspelt word or letter, those were the moments I used to dread most during those days. And she would take up the work of a stylist to make my hair into thick braids (the only style she knows how to do till date), and shave my brothers’ own with a traditional shaving tool (comb and razor; still can’t find that in recent years), she multiplied as our seamstress, sewing different types of dresses that were in vogue for us, she was also a great friend; playing with us and telling us stories, folktales and proverbs/adage late into the night at times, especially when we had to spread the mat outside in the compound for lack of power supply. She was a lot of things, yes, but above all, a mother that has the best interest of her children at heart.
Here I am, several years later, threading that same path. Although, I’m still striving to be all that and more to my children, but not like the age-long “African-Style” mother, more like a “modern-African style” with lots of glares and scolds, few spanking and “almost never” caning. But I’m proud to be their seamstress, stylist (even though I only know how to braid like my mom, it’s not as thick as hers), friend, cook, teacher and nurse whenever I’m home.
“Ummu” (mother in arabic) as we now call my mom, doubles as mother to not just me and my siblings, but also to my children, and my little boy goes about the house calling her “mommy”, and when he sees me, he becomes the boy with two moms, both of us answering simultaneously some times, my girl knows better though, she knows one is her mom’s mom and the other is her mommy.
So to all those mothers who multiply as different personalities to their kids; taking up various roles, despite all odds, and to those who strive to be, this is for you!
May our kids celebrate us always.
Thanks for reading this episode of the journal of a student-mother. If it strikes a cord in you kindly drop your thoughts in the comments box below the post.