My Madam

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I, my mother, after all?

Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my mum. To my little eyes, she defined perfection – except of course when I was getting spanked for running off to the neighbour without seeking her consent first (not that I was doing anything at home anyway).

My mum didn’t respond to tantrums; so I didn’t throw many. She believed in loving her kids, bringing them up in the fear and knowledge of God (to my little self, mostly fear), spoiling them when she could and spanking them when she should. And there was always a gift for me under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, there always was that ladybird book or that dress she made.

When I was growing up, mum was always on the move. She was a teacher, still is, a tailor and self-made farmer on the side. I have pictures of me in home knit sweaters and dresses she stitched up herself and yes; I believe growing ‘sukuma’ and keeping a few chicken always comes in handy because it’s the only way I know how. I remember the afternoons she was neither in church or chama, when I had her all to myself, and we’d watch an old movie or read old copies of Readers’ Digests. One of us always fell asleep halfway, and it was the others ‘responsibility’ to fill the other in on how the movie ended.

I’m not so little anymore. I don’t want to be a teacher or a tailor, but I love to read, and I sure do love clothes! I don’t prefer tantrums, I still don’t throw many, but I’ve been known to give in to a few to keep the peace. I still believe in kitchen gardens and keeping some chicken. I still read too much, watch movies and sometimes fall asleep somewhere in between. I believe in Christmas and Christmas trees with gifts from ‘Santa’ underneath because what’s Christmas without gift wrappings and the scent of fresh pine filling the house? I read when I can, even as I eat, and if you stay around her long enough; you’d see that she does too. Best of all, she laughs, and she loves; and of these, I did learn from the best.

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I, my mother, after all?

Am I growing up into her? No. Pieces of the same fabrics, different quilt all together. And boy am I glad that when I look at her, I see parts of what I will be. Is she perfect? No, she’s human; one human I’m glad I’m almost growing up into.

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