Ann Taylor’s rhyme, ‘who sat and watched my infant head’, may not have had much meaning during kindergarten class when yours truly and some other people in my generation were growing up.Not until most of us became mothers that the depth of those verse hits close to home.
Today is another Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday for the United States of America (USA),New Zealand and Canada. The first Mother’s Day for the year was celebrated in the United Kingdom and Nigeria on March 22, 2020, fourth Sunday of Lent.
According to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day started as an anti-war movement by Anna Jarvis in the United States. And designated as the second Sunday in May by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
Mother. Mummy. Mom. Mommy. Mama. Maami, whatever idiosyncrasy you address this unsung hero, unwavering goddess and elegant stallion who hides her tears, pains and coarse hands behind a loving smile and big heart.
Mother’s love is unquantifiable. Her love is not anecdotal,no never. Her love is genuine and true. The only first friend and love.
Yet every mother is under paid by her children, her husband, boyfriend and even the society.
She is usually the child’s original first responder. She acts as the law enforcement and teacher.
Growing up was bittersweet because if you are in the wrong, yours truly will have gone to various neighbours to plea on your behalf. Trust your mama, i remember how she will flash her perfect dentures and tell the neighbours, “No problem”. Her no problem is my problem. Louder cries from me and sometimes holding their hands not to leave yours at that point but neighbours do not understand except yours truly. They will tell you, “Go in, your mother has heard”. But only you and you alone understands the tone.
Gone are the days when mother’s non verbal communication have lots of spongy innuendos. That is another story for another day.
You sneak into your room to lay and after a while, you start to dream of being applauded in a large crowd , only for the dream to be interrupted by a painful slap on your bum. Still trying to wake but the brain is yet to boot and you get a heavier one. A sharp cry from dream land and you wake to see your mother with the cane or turning stick in her hand as the case may be. Your guess is as good as mine.
Another round of ‘Mommy, I will not do that again! Please mommy! I will be a good girl’.After the round of beating, you tell her the family anthem with one of your hands raised.
“I will always be a good person
I will never lie again(Whatever offense must be mentioned).
I will make you proud, So help me God!
However, home trainings of those analogue days exist no more and what we have now is quite amazing and awesome especially in advanced countries.
Now mothers say, “Andy, please don’t do that again, I will be mad at you!” In Africa, it is the child that will be singing like a parrot, “Ha! Mommy, I promise, I will not do that again”.
Still she is an epitome of motherhood. A child’s best friend.
Mothers are our first medic, a natural General Practitioner (GP) with unverified license. Before pains and sickness made you cry, she would have either given you the first aid her way through herbal concoctions or give you the regular pain killer, she believes will be a regular prescription. Trust her on that. The last resort is to take you to the trained GP, if her ‘license is blinking red alert. And of course much prayes that you should not die.
She is the first search and rescue responder when you go missing unnecessarily during a hide and seek game that went haywire. The first paramedic of a child.
Though not all women are mothers but genuine ones should be applauded for jobs well done.
To all women in Africa, who toiled in farmlands, sells fish, pepper and all sorts to see a child through school. I salute you.
To all mothers whose children are physically and socially disadvantaged and still carry on with a great grace despite your nightly wet eyes. I salute you all the way.
To all frontliners, who are mothers, I salute your courage and fight against COVID-19 pandemic.Yet you go home after your shifts,tired, weak but still cook and take care of your children. I doff my hat.
For all essential workers, telecommunications/banking call centre agents, supermarket cashiers, postal workers, bus drivers, cleaners, security guards and truck drivers who are never thanked or even greeted by people you serve. Their jobs are not given much importance yet they matter. They work long hours with very little pay to show for it, only get compensated with lots of overtime that they may likely pay back after filing that year’s income tax return. I salute your steadfastness.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
***⁹Periscope With Olabisi will be published every Sunday