No goddess beats that found in a mother.
My love for my mum rose as I grew older as only in hindsight do I appreciate all she saw ahead of me. There was this incident. I was on break in school and she was going to Church – CAC Agbala Itura. I met my her halfway with my friends. I greeted her like a stranger. She could not believe it.
“Like was I ashamed of her?”
“Which kind of bad gang is this?”
She reported me to her friends. She does not understand what I was turning to.
I was a bit hard to raise me but my Mum had her treatment. It was the cane. Something had to go wrong. Either I forgot the metallic pail at the public well, or failed to clean our room, played football after class to miss evening lessons or my siblings watched as a stranger take the income we made from selling kerosene.
Sometimes, I did no wrong but because I was at home when my siblings did wrong, I had to take a light sentence – 4 strokes of cane. This is because she believed in the power of example and leadership.
“I was suppose to know”
“I was suppose to stop my them from shouting”
If I did wrong in the afternoon, I had it in my consciousness that late night when we finished the evening prayers, I must be ready for my cane. So, I brought the cane out myself. I stretched out my hands.
“Mummy, I am ready” I said with teary eyes and great humility.
Sometimes, we had to run round our large dinning table like we were practicing for a tournament .
“Wait there, wait there” she said
Then I took another lash. She broke a sweat.
I always thought I was not loved. We once came to Lagos for the vacation, our annual ritual. My parents went to the Aswani, famed for second-hand clothing. Everyone had one second-hand cloth or the other but none was bought for me. A reward for being stubborn.
There are times you can’t cry but just to soak it in that
“one day, I will ooze freedom” I kept telling myself
I accepted my fate. The University was the goal. When the University happens, all these things will stop.
It actually stopped when I got into University. Not for me but also for others. My mum stopped beating everyone. For her the standard has been set, it was good enough to follow.
My Mum was my disciplinarian, shaped a lot of my attitudes in those formative years. Most of those had to do with independence, intuition and leadership.
“That I should know that rice should be the evening meal, that my siblings need to wash their clothes and others.”
As days grew on, she showed up as my biggest fan. Like the joy that sparkled in her eyes when she found out that I “cleared my GCE results” before I left the University.
Like running down to Lagos, bursting into room to announce to me that I had the best secondary school result – 9 distinctions – in Loyola College, Ibadan.
For her, that’s the standard, get in and make all your grades at once.
“Your brother passed his WAEC results once, you must do” she kept telling my siblings
She had this list of Uncles – Rotimi Nihinlola, Johnson Onigbinde, Timothy Onigbinde, Depo Onigbinde. She will repeat their feats, how they made it happen. How dedication and being a deep Christian shone lights on their paths.
One thing my Mum never did was to place a curse. She had blessings in her. One day, in the midst of kerosene scarcity, I trekked over 10km looking for kerosene in Ibadan. The whole neighborhood depended us for kerosene and this was an opportunity to make a good margin.
My story cant be complete without how I held kerosene on my head shuttling Oje, Aremo, Olorunsogo, Oremeji, Oke Padre, Bodija, Gate..
On this day, weary from selling kerosene, she had blessings for me, because the way she lifted her eyes, watched my tired state, it was from the depth of her soul.
We still talk about that event till today, that long walk for kerosene, she smiles and still has nothing but blessings. Can I boy write about his amazing praying super mum in one piece….
The story continues tomorrow