WEB DEVELOPER AT MCKODEV | TRAINER AT MCKODEV | A PASSIONATE HUMAN. A BEARER OF GOOD TIDINGS AND HOPE FOR A BETTER SOCIETY.
December 02, 2018
Warning! This isn't your typical literature class, so the grammar might not be flawless...
As some of you may already know, a certain degree of "hardheadedness" runs in my veins. Back in the day, when every child attended nursery school, I simply refused to part ways with Mama. No matter how hard they tried, neither tough nor tender teachers could change my mind. So the deal was struck: Mama had to be on the school premises with me before any learning could occur. Late Prof Olofinboba, the proprietor, agreed to this unique arrangement. Mama would carry me to Bobas Nursery and Primary School and patiently wait while I lined up with the other kids. Whenever I felt like it, I'd take a sneak peek to make sure she was still around; otherwise, all hell would break loose for the day.
We had to march to the classroom to kick off the day's academic activities, but she couldn't join. Instead, she'd sit where I could easily spot her by glancing out the classroom door. If I ever assumed she wasn't there, all learning would cease for the day. She had to remain until short break, when playing with other kids would make me forget she had left (I'm sure the teachers kept an eye on me and signaled her when it was time to vanish). By 1 pm, she'd be back to carry me home on my personal "Mercedes Benz"—her back. Did I mention her day started when my dreams were just getting interesting? At 4 am, she'd wake up to prepare breakfast, bathe me, feed me, and remind me it was time to go. I would "happily comply," knowing my cooperation would be rewarded with her accompanying me. This routine went on for years.
Sometimes, I was the subject of mockery as Mama carried me on her back until I was six years old. Many considered it shameful, calling it "Akebaje." But for Mama, her love for her children and grandchildren was unmatched; she couldn't bear to see them without her tender care and touch.
I would follow Mama everywhere she went—even to the loo at night—because I couldn't let her go. We had to go together, as I would cling to her tightly unless sleep had already claimed me. Occasionally, I'd pester her so much that she'd pretend to faint. Panicked, I would scream, alerting the entire neighborhood that she was dead and my beloved was gone. As people rushed out of their homes, they'd discover it was just an act to give Mama some rest. Swearing I wouldn't bother her again, I'd sometimes lose my voice or shake my head furiously to convince them I meant it. Of course, that never lasted long; I'd spend the rest of the day ensuring she didn't "faint" again, inadvertently causing more disturbance.
Mama always kept special food for everyone to eat after school—secretly, without Mum's knowledge. One fateful afternoon, Mum came home early and caught us in the act. I had mistakenly eaten the wrong package—a combo meant for someone else—but Mama just laughed and handed me my intended treat.
Her loving care persisted as I grew older. She continued waking early in the morning until we finished at least our third year of junior secondary school. But she never stopped caring, even up to this present moment. I can't recall the countless "chicken-turned-tinko" (dried meat) treats I enjoyed. She'd smoke chicken or any other meat daily, just because I wasn't around for Sallah or Eid celebrations. No one dared touch it, even if they promised to replace it. If Mama said it was for "Mayowa," that was final. She knew how to keep it hidden from the smaller, four-legged residents, who considered cupboards their exclusive domain. She'd preserve it until I returned from Lagos, Anambra, or wherever I was, then prepare a feast to welcome me home.
"This is rice... would you eat roasted corn... I just boiled plantain... would you eat?" While I tried to finish each delightful dish, she'd ask, "I'm about to cook yam, would you eat?" "Eeehhh? O ti to," I'd respond, my mouth full of whatever was next on the menu. Every time, her first question after "welcome" was "Have you eaten?", followed by "Are you okay?" After receiving an affirmative answer, she'd promise more delicious food in a couple of hours.
You might wonder, am I her only grandchild? No! Did she care for the rest in the same way? A thunderous yes! But for now, it's my story being told.
So why have I taken the time to write all these stories? I recently realized that everything I am today and will become in the future has an unmentioned driving force. Someone who has been there since my "pre-natal" days. The best person whose face I've barely posted on social media. A rare gem. The amazing caregiver who was accused many times of wanting to "spoil the child," but she never did. She was simply extending her loving kindness, ensuring the child received the best care in life. Mama is still with us, and I pray that God, in His infinite mercy, preserves her in good health so she can continue to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Mama Mi, I will never forget your love and care, your love that stretches from here to the moon and back. You will enjoy more and more peace forever.