When I am asked about a role model, I don’t have to look far for an answer.
The answer just falls naturally from my lips like it’s been lurking there all along, just waiting to be asked.
This woman is hands down the strongest person I know. Warm, vibrant, caring, hugely flawed, the queen of the side hustle.
She had a major surgery barely a week ago and she is already up and about her business. She is not one to lay convalescing in bed.
She made a decision early on that her children would be educated, and she strove to make that a reality.
She got us as many storybooks as she could ( Jane and Peter – Ladybird books, anyone else read those??) and when our heads begun filling up with fancies of our own, she found a way to give us books to fill with our imaginings.
She cut out the unused portions of old exercise books, papers from her nursing practice, plain paper from any source that could spare them really, and sewed them together. For the covers she carefully cleaned off the cement from brown cement paper bags (cement is usually sold in such bags), cut them into shape and sewed or glued them to the homemade books she created.
She is the epitome of do what you can, with what you have.
Her homemade and store-bought flashcards ensured we knew how to read and spell before we ever stepped foot in kindergarten.
Most of our clothes she made herself, often staying up through the night to sew them. She would take the leftover pieces of different cloth from her sewing projects and make me stripped multicolored dresses.
I loved those clothes!
I wore them with romantic pride, feeling like the Biblical Joseph of old, with Dolly Parton’s song running throough my head…my coat of many colors that my mama made for me…
Recently, I got it in my head to learn to sew with the machine, and tired of me lamenting about how I didn’t have the the opportunity to learn from her or to receive formal training, she revealed to me she never did herself. All that she learnt about sewing she learnt out of trial and error, with no formal training of any sort!
Lesson: seeking perfect circumstances or perfection from the start will only end up in you doing nothing. Just bust out and do it. Persist, and learn on the job. You will get better.
When it comes to side hustles, she takes the crown – apart from her full-time nursing job, she has operated a restaurant, always had a small provisions store, sold any and everything she could to support the family.
When she was left alone with three girls to raise, she didn’t wring her hands and give up, she butted ahead with strength and determination. She not only survived, she thrived.
My mom is such an inspiration for me. Growing up, we used to call her assembly woman. She was urged to go for office, but she never did.
She knew everybody, and she was the one everybody went to for all sorts of reasons – from dispute mediation to loans to wound dressings.
Her work has always been her passion, her calling. She is at her best when she is assisting and caring for people in need.
Lesson learned: always seek to help others, and use your talents and passions to contribute to the community.
I used to think her weak, thinking she could have made a better choice in men, but now that I’m a woman and a mother myself, I understand her so much better.
Lesson: Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and to make amends for them. Don’t be paralyzed by them either. Learn the lesson and move on as best as you can.
I understand her strength and courage to leave an abusive relationship that wasn’t working, I understand her sacrifices and her determination. I understand that I have been privileged to be her daughter, and I am happy for the that twist in fate that brought us together.
More than anyone now, she understands me striking out on my own.
She shook her head at me in bewilderment and pride when I came to the capital on my own at eighteen to pursue modeling and acting. This was the daughter who was always on top of the class or among those at the top; the one she had such high hopes for, the one she wished to be the first doctor in the family, but she let me go anyway. She let me try.
Lesson: Our kids are individuals, their own people, and we should let them make their own choices.
She understands that I am taking the entrepreneurial path now to follow my passions. She understands me better now, because she realizes that even as I am my own person, I am a reflection of her too. Safety doesn’t appeal to me for too long. I am pulled toward the unknown, to where my deepest yearnings take me.
She understands me now.
She sighed when I defiantly decided to keep my first baby and yet not rush into marriage. Sighed but understood. She told me, you are my daughter you know.
Soon, I’m going to be 24 and a mother of two.
I tell her, I am scared.
She tells me, you will be ok.
You have my spirit. You are my daughter.
You will thrive.
And she is right, I am. I am determined to be strong, for myself and for my children. To nurture them as I had been nurtured. To be their pillar, as she is my pillar.
I am my mother’s daughter, and Jehovah is our strength.
This was written right when I was on the cusp of having baby Milan…now a full-on mother of two. 🙂
Baby Milan a few hours old, being welcomed into the family…
And now all grown up…
How is your relationship with your mother, and how was it growing up? 🙂