Memories with my mother

I am terrified I will forget my mother
My mother is alive and well and God has blessed her with a long life….

I am thankful that I have my mother but as I grow older I realize I have many memories with and about my mother but few memories of my mother and I.

I woke up this morning with this fear and realization that I really do not know my mum
I think I am even a little resentful …..she is my mum….I am the child …..should it not have been her business to create special moments for just me alone to remember?

Don’t get me wrong I have strong memories of my mother ….as mother figure….my mother is stoic and i owe all that I am….the woman I am to her… success ….my tenacity ….my generosity to a fault….am good at being my mum and that’s why I have woken up with fear in my heart….

I am worried my children have memories with and about me but no special moments or memories of their mother … they love me?
Do I love my mother?
Can they remember feelings of love and tenderness that I inspire in each and every one of them individually or do they assume I love them because a mother must love her children

I can’t remember if I love my mum…I think there was no time or space for that….life is happening fast…..and we are many….

I know my mum loves me.. I don’t remember that I could feel that love when I was growing up but I know she did….I am just sad I did not know how to feel when she did love me in her own way…..I had far too many resentments in me and I was a little annoyed at her
…..why did I have to be born second last….in a big family

I don’t know why I blame my mum for this and not my father… (my father could do no wrong. …) but she is my mum She should have fixed it…I should have been born earlier

You see my elder siblings all have stories and memories of my mum but even these I get to only hear them like stories….from my siblings who witnessed them…..we are too many and i am last girl in a line of eight girls. …..sometimes I see as if my mum forgets am there……my sisters take care of me…..and they tell stories of mum…but sometimes I think they all forget am there…
They speak of this woman…this mother…
Who made eggs for breakfast for my brothers…..they were born early…number 1 and 2……I try to picture that…and I envy my brothers…and my sisters who know this and I do not….I feel a little guilt for i know my mum worked hard to take care of us….but her heart was just stretched too thin….we are too many…..

And my mum is generous to a fault….everyone in the village calls her “mama” …..I envy children who call their parents mum…..I call my mum “mum” in private….i like the feel of it….it’s intimate

My friend even calls her mum by her name “Sara”  I envy her because that sounds personal and intimate too…

And because everyone calls my mum mama means our house….our home is open to everyone….my mum makes food for the whole village and she serves it personally ….and she sits to eat with grown ups and they talk and laugh
I am not allowed in these sittings. …it’s not proper….and I cannot keep my mouth shut ….i love repeating what i hear in these sessions… I am chased out

I want to sit next to my mum and stare at her face as she talks to her friends because then she laughs and smiles….I wish I could make her laugh and smile like that  but I seem to annoy her most of the time or she seems to forget am there. ..I think she does….

So i have some memories of my mum ….but most early ones were not very positive….the ones that I remember…
See like today she gave out my last drop of my favourite uji to her friend….she knows I love that uji which she makes for me…it’s mine…it’s in a special gourd….it has memories
And she gives it out….I sit in utter dismay as she comes out of the house with a mug that I know must have the last drop of my uji
Okay you need to understand
This uji is made through the labour of love sweat and blood
Hours of my mother grinding at the Stone and days to ferment…..I imagine several days of no uji… ..
.I am too small to complain and i know I will get a beating if I voice my feelings….but I swear to teach my mum and her friend a lesson…

So i fall….on this very smooth stretch of grass….in broad daylight….i trip and fall….deliberately taking care not to hurt myself…. and i cry out with my all….
I am delighted when my mum and her friend rush to me….uji forgotten….I almost smile but that would get me caned so I continue rolling on the ground
I hold my wrist and scream louder as my mum nears where I am…
“I think I broke my arm”
I hold it out gingerly
My mum’s friend is concerned and tells mum they should perhaps take me to the hospital
…….whoop whoop!
That will be icing on the cake……hospital means I spend time with my mum alone at the waiting area but more importantly I get treats on the way…..mandazi and tea at the local restaurant….now I am almost smiling…

My mum gets on her knees next to me…yeah we shall go to hospital she says. …am in heaven….literally…
But…she says
Oh no….not the but word…I cry louder as she holds my wrist
Our neighbour wrings her hands anxiously….I hope she blames herself. …I think darkly. …how could she take my uji!

My mum examines my wrist ….presses here and there and  am wondering how I should act….how would someone with a broken wrist behave?
I scream louder….my mum looks concerned and i can taste that mandazi already .

Does it pain too much, she asks….
I nod yes….that must be right. ….people in pain nod they don’t speak
My mum does not look too worried and am thinking….
She does not care….then she says the magic words…
Yes it must be broken…..
And I tell her yes…..and I proceed to vigorously shake that wrist joint…..
I mean mum you must see that this joint is literally coming off….I shake it harder…
She smiles and am thinking ….my mum is cold
She looks at me and asks
Do you think a cup of your favourite uji would fix the wrist, ?
But you gave it all out….I accuse her
No I did not
I gave Anisia (that’s her friend)  rurima. …this is special water ….like dilute uji that is put in empty gourds…
And I smile  
My uji is intact….my mum did not give it out….it’s mine ….and she did not even offer it to her best friend
My wrist is healed….in fact this uji medicine is so good that I am holding the uji cup with the same wrist…I love my mum…
I have memories of her but she is too clever….she saw through all my ploys…she still does



2 comments on “Memories with my mother

  1. Good piece Enid. Tried to remember my own experiences with her. Most of which were when we disagreed and the beatings that would follow…but all with so much fondness. All of them, pleasant and otherwise, bring a smile to my lips.


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