It’s Mother’s Day again and we celebrate the love of mothers for their children. It is a sweet time to love Ma’ma for all her wonderful effort in raising us. Ma’ma has been great to us. She’s given all she had for our comfort. I take time to remember two of the many values she taught us; hard work and courage.
I hated Friday nights when I was growing up as a child just as my brothers and sisters. We always wished that day never came. We most of the time went to bed in tears because we knew at an ungodly hour of the night when sleep was so sweet not to be disturbed, that was when ours was most dutifully disturbed. It was one of the things we disliked as children but one that we have grown to appreciate most.
Ma’ma trades in yam even till date. This is the only trade she’s been engaged in to see all her five children through school. She leaves home on Thursdays and always returns on Fridays. She leaves very early and comes home at the dead hour of the night. She bravely walks through the dark, unaccompanied to wake her children up for value lessons at mid-nights.
No matter how we want to fall dead in sleep, her persistent knocking on the window would revive our dead spirit. We were not helped by a father who keeps awake most of the times waiting for his darling back home. He would be the first to strike our buttocks with slaps to get up for woman was in. The nuclear ammunitions from our buttocks would not deter a father to figure out the tricks of his children.
We grew up in a very unsafe community where criminal activities were very high in those days. We feared the most for our lives. Not only were we afraid of the thieves but infant stories of ghosts walking about during mid-nights got me I do not know about my brothers and sisters most frightened. What if I met one? I shall die like it, I would say to myself. We kept our fears to ourselves as on many occasions; Ma’ma dismissed our fear of seeing a ghost or being attacked by robbers. We told her to come home early and days she came at 10pm, we would celebrate for that day because we would have no conferences with the unseen world. She always told us God was with us and we needed not to be afraid of any harm.
We were the only ones to be seen within the vicinity at that ungodly hour. To us it was but not to Ma’ma. The good thing was that our home was just by the roadside and that spared us the frozen fright of walking our way through the town to the house with the heavy load of yams on our heads. Ma’ma would be at the roadside all by herself while papa would take charge in the house all alone with the arrangement of the yams to the assurance of snoring residents. At least, on those days, we served as perfect security for the community. What was our curse was the blessings of others. Sometimes, who takes the lead became an issue among us. Seniority must take the lead and the rest followed. No one must leave the other behind or else there shall be wailing. We could work for close to three to four fours every Friday.
We sometimes thought our neighbours were wicked and insensitive not to wake up and assist us. But that was our headache but theirs. In all these, we were being trained for life to be courageous. While the entire neighbourhood was asleep we were busy working. We carried more yams in our pans than necessary because we wanted to finish and leave the dark night to the strangers who only visits at night and not day. Ma’ma kept a keen eye on our antics and we dared not break any yam. Once we were done with the night’s job, we left her to tidy things herself. Any order from her was met with frowning faces and a resenting body movement. “Was there no job out there for Ma’ma to do than this?” We would say angrily to ourselves. We jumped straight to bed once we were done. Sometimes, we did not understand why daddy would still be asleep and leave us outside working. Ma’ma would only say, “Papa is tired.” This routine became part of our growing life. Soon, we learnt to live by it without complains or fear.
It was Ma’ma’s own way of training up her children in the way they should go so that when they grown they would not depart from it. The success story of her children in their various endeavours would in one way be attributed to this routine practice. We believe in hard work as the means to get whatever we want. To achieve is hard work and set us a perfect example with her lifestyle. Ma’ma believed in this saying of Nelson Mandela “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” In life we may face fear but how did she make sure we are ready for such eventuality.