Today’s my mother’s birthday.
It’s 5 am, and I’ve been staring at my screen for quite a while now. If my sister wakes up, she’d probably think I’m reading for my exams – the evidence of coke and coffee is sitting right beside me. But I’m not, because all I can seem to think of is how favoured I am to have an amazing woman as my mother.
I know many people say that their moms are the best, and that’s okay because my mom is better. Better than the best. I am grateful grateful to God for birthing greatness, and gave that greatness to me as a gift. And she in turn birthed greatness.
People say that children are a gift from God, and that’s true. Mothers, good mothers, are nothing short of a gift from God. And I have a good mother. A great mother. An awesome mother. And for that, I can only thank God. This woman He gave to me to call mother is the best.
She is a great teacher – she taught our infant lips to pray and showed us the Lord’s path to walk in. She taught us how to come into the presence of God and to fear God. She taught us to be obedient, respectful and tolerant. She is a spiritual warrior, always standing in the gap for her family, always flooding God’s mailbox with intercessory prayers for her husband and children. She’s a present mother, wife, daughter, sister and aunty. She’s funny, smart and wise. I love hanging out with her, she makes me very happy and she makes me laugh – hard. She is strong and supportive and is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. She is a great cook and seems to be perfect in everything she does. She puts herself last all the time, denying herself beautiful things over and over again just to make sure we are happy. . this world needs mothers like her.
She is my mother, my lover, my friend. The one I can run to when I don’t think good will come to me. She has been sacrificial for her family and I’m overwhelmed by how much I love her. We have had our ups and down, as lovers should. She has spanked and scolded me when I needed to have been because of her desire for me to become a woman of integrity.
She is an excellent wife and mother, my virtuous woman, my Proverbs 31 mother. So I wrote a few things about her, inspired by Proverbs 31:10-31. I am doing this woman a great disservice because my words do her no justice. She is beautiful inside out and I hope one day, she can understand how much I love her and desire to give her the finest things. This is my little way of honouring her:
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
Well, my father did find a virtuous woman. Being a typical Ibo man, he may never say it but truth is, he could never have done better than her. I know that he knows that. He hit the jackpot when he met her…and exhibited immense wisdom when he got her to marry him. She has stuck by him through moments a lesser woman wouldn’t. She has his best interests at heart and strives for unity, peace and love between him and her children (My dad is a very stubborn man and unfortunately, all his children got at least 75% of that trait from him). She is a ride or die chick. Although you may never catch him saying it, I know he loves her with all his heart and cannot imagine a life without her. Neither can I.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
I don’t think my mother got up to 7 hours of sleep from the day her first child was born till the day her last child left to boarding house. When we were kids, she would wake at 4 am to put the house in order, make our breakfast and school lunch, bath and dress our restless selves up and make sure we never got to school a minute late. We never wore rumpled or dirty clothes to school because on the weekends, this Super Woman would wash (by hand) all our clothes and iron them for the week. She would neatly plait all her 3 girls’ hair, make sure her boy gets a haircut, clip our nails, clean our ears, make sure all assignments are done on time. And still find time to run her business. My house, till this day, never lacks food. I usually tell my skinny friends, “if you want to add weight, come and stay in my house for 2 weeks”. My mom makes sure that nobody ever goes hungry…even to this day. She would call me on the phone and go “nne, irigo nni?” (Translated: Mother, have you eaten?). Even when things were real difficult for my dad and we didn’t have two coins to rub together, we the children, never felt it because we always had clothes on our backs and more than enough food in our bellies. My mama is a mother hen and would go through hell and high water to secure provisions for the family.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
My mother is very industrious…and wise. When my father struggled financially, we got by through the profits from my queen’s vineyard. A resourceful woman, she assists the bread-winner with butter for the bread.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
Hmmm. My mother is a strong woman – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. If my mom should pound yam for you ehn…and you know that something exerts plenty energy…you will bow. She is strong, biko. She is a forgiving woman, and with oil on her skin, she lets the hurtful words spoken to her by her terribly ungrateful children slide. She opens her hands and embraces them over and over again.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
My mama is a very hard-worker and a generous woman. She appreciates her family and works hard, day and night, to keep them. She’s the gift that gives, a selfless woman with a great, big heart.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Because she is always concerned with the welfare of her family, my mother is always prepared for a change in season. She dresses nicely and takes care of herself. When we were kids, she always made sure we had pretty clothes. Now we are grown and can shop for ourselves, she is our Fashion Police: “nne, who is the wicked person that sold you that dress?”, “I like your shoes o, eh hen, this is how you should be dressing”, “where are your earrings, don’t you know you are a lady?” – more to me than anyone else. My sisters are fashionable and dressy as it is. And to my brother: “don’t you have belt-holes?” Lol!
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
Me, I know that many of my daddy’s friends are jealous of him because – well, let’s face it – of his Super Woman. My mother takes care of that man, and it shows. She builds him up and respects him…and because of that, they respect him. Her virtue brings him a good reputation among his peers. She is the crown on his head.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She does not impoverish her husband but provides an additional source of income through her business. My mother’s inward clothing displays beauty, strength, wisdom. She is upright in her ways and I pray that God rewards her both on earth and in heaven. I pray that when she departs this earth, He will welcome his good and faithful servant and envelope her in his arms.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
My mom’s hands are literally never idle. She is not slothful and is an inspiration to me. She is kind, merciful and loving. She speaks words of wisdom to inspire and build up her children to be great people.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Words cannot express how blessed this woman is. The English (or any other) language does not have the requisite words to praise this woman with. Her children do rise up and call her blessed.
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
Well, my mom is ten across the board. She is beautiful to behold, with a radiant heart to boot. This priceless gem is excellent and incomparable. This treasure is better than all others – nothing and no one can rival her.
Happy birthday, greatness. My siblings and I love you immensely. May God spare our lives so that we can try, with all our might, to reward the care you give to us and the sacrifices you have made for us. I know you strive for us to be greater than you are, but if I could be even a quarter of the woman you are, I know my works will praise me in the gates.
Happy birthday, Oriakum.
Happy birthday, Kpakpandom.
Happy birthday, Mommy.
I am favoured to be counted as one of your children.