Wed, Jan

To Mother. Image credit - face2faceafrica

Here And There
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Motherhood is the one relationship that this socialization does not extend to. Suddenly it is a different set of rules. The mother cannot think about self, because there is another human being to take care of.

I spent a lot of time on the road with my mother as a kid. The road to the hospital. I was a frequent flyer along that route. Usually, it did not take long for any virus or malaria parasite to find I was a willing host. By the time I was 12 I had accumulated a significant number of flyer miles, to various hospitals, and also mother-son hours. I remember her basic message then, because it has never changed over the years. A week ago, the kids went to visit her, and as I debriefed from far away, my daughter said she had a message for me from my mother. She asked for the phone to be brought closer to her so she could relay it with satisfactory gusto: Work harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd!

I have had many mothers in my life after her, but hers is the one on which all other relationships have been based. It is because of her counsel, and discipline and admonition, that I have found the mothers who have shaped my life journey, and been found by them. There is something about love, that distance, time, the ravages of life cannot dissipate. Love is unearthly…

It makes the world turn around. It forms personalities, creates human beings, builds legacy.

I still remember her face on numerous nights when fever raged. I remember her prayer and tears, when disease raged on longer than usual. I remember her soothing touch. Her constant encouragement. If there is one thing that spurs one on, to keep going, and not give up, it is love. The bible says that Love does not give up, and I understand why. When I have felt like giving up, its love that has kept me going. The love planted in my life by my Mother, and the mothers I have had since her, has played a significant role in what I have been able to achieve.

I have been blessed with Mothers in different countries. Mothers who continue to bless me with their presence, shower me with their love. I feel like a spoilt kid, because I have a doting father above, but also because I have so many loving mothers.

The profession I have chosen requires a collaboration between myself and parents, to enable my work to heal. I have seen severely ill children bounce back to life, mothered from the brink of death. I have seen children die in dignity, surrounded by mothering love. I have also seen perfectly well children, scarred by the absence of motherhood. I have seen physical and emotional evidence of the absent mother in the eyes of children who have given up before my first touch.

I know how privileged I am, to have what I have. And as I trudge on, and try to do my best, her admonition rings in my ear. It has been a long way to get here. And I have not yet given up. It does not matter what my country has given up on. It does not matter what my employer has been unable to do. It does not matter if training is hard, or a new country is difficult. It does not matter how rocky the road is. It does not matter how challenging it is to climb each mountain.

It does matter how much support we give to mothering as a country. I expect a difference between the welfare of children in a country where maternity leave is one year, and one where maternity leave is 3 months. I expect more societal progress in communities where pregnant women are taken care of. I expect better fatherhood, when mothers are well educated, and loved, and mentored. It is not surprising that the continent with the youngest mothers on the planet is the poorest. If love makes the world go round, then maybe prepared mothers build nations. Maybe mothers who are self-actualised, are more capable of loving the potential out of their children.

A human being must ultimately be self actualising, self-providing, self-sufficient. Over time, we are socialized to believe that thinking about oneself first is good, because no one will. It is almost human, to think of oneself above another. It is how one survives. Motherhood is the one relationship that this socialization does not extend to. Suddenly it is a different set of rules. The mother cannot think about self, because there is another human being to take care of. The mother must put self aside until the child can figure out life. The time is supposed to come when one no longer needs the guiding hand, heart, and mind of a mother.

That time never comes, for a mother’s love.


Life is a long series of memorable moments punctuating passing time. Teddy samples some of his poignant ones. Here and there, memorializing otherwise fleeting experiences. Find more of his writing at Amazon

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