28 May Of mothers and mentors
My earliest memory of my mum is of her in wide-rimmed glasses, Jerry curls, and a sling handbag.
She worked as a researcher/scientist at PRODA. In the evenings, I would sit on our front patio waiting for her. We lived in a big (in my 3-year-old eye) European-styled bungalow that had 3 large bedrooms, a pantry, a basement, 2 large patios on both sides of the house, and an outdoor shed.
Our home and my mum’s office were on opposite ends of the town. She resumed at 8 am, this meant she would leave the house at 6:30 am to get to work on time. She had also enrolled to get another degree in Chemical Engineering after her first degree in Laboratory Science
As a toddler, I always needed my mum so I would sit on the patio, refuse to eat, or do anything else until she returned. She was taking care of the home, paying the bills, had a job, and still enrolled in school.
Mother would talk me through her projects, her work, her supervisor, and all of those. At the time, I didn’t understand the immense pressure she was under. I knew that she would lose her temper every once in a while. Money was scarce, the little she made was divided into paying 6 school fees (if you add her own and that of our help then), paying rent, feeding, and housekeeping.
Growing up in a home like mine, my mum influenced my childhood a lot. She was the only influence I had. I understood strength without it being taught, I loathed oppression and poverty. I understood sacrifice and the depth of a mother’s love. I knew what kind of marriage I didn’t want. I knew the difference between perseverance and suffering. Even though it’s fanciful or even a cliche for everyone to say their mother is their role model, mine was the only person I had growing up.
She was (and still is) trustworthy, dependable, firm, and disciplined. She expected perfection and would demand nothing less. Yet she was liberal in many ways. She knew everyone in my life, friends and all. She allowed us to bring our male friends over but somehow, for such a liberal parent, she drew the line at trousers. Not for her objection but about what will be said of “Sister Ngo” whose daughters now wore parted garments.
I think the discus for me is really about how much my mother influenced me and how much of a role model she is to me. First, I followed her step to becoming an Engineer, just like her, I serve in the children’s department. I’ve also recently inherited short-sightedness from her.
I look back and I’m grateful for the influence she has had in my life. I have learned not to react to rises but to ponder on them before giving a reply.
I only wish I’m as gifted intellectually as she is.
Today is one of the days when I sit back and reflect on my childhood. And thank God for the gift of motherhood