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Sunday, December 3, 2023

A man ain’t worth it, dear Marie (Part 6)

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Love, in all its forms, has unveiled itself as a multifaceted gem, one that only becomes more luminous with age.

My Dearest Marie,

This past Saturday marked a remarkable milestone in our family – Mama’s 60th birthday. It was one of those precious moments when Mama, in her timeless simplicity, forgot her own birthday once more. Her humility and unpretentious approach to life never cease to amaze me.

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It was my 10 year old daughter, named after Mama herself, who reminded her of the special day when we visited her at Farato village, where she resides. Mama’s ever-joyful and considerate nature was on full display, even as she realized it was her own birthday.

My mother, now at the age of sixty, remains a profound source of inspiration in my life. Her kindness knows no bounds, and her gentleness is as soft as a lamb’s touch. She has consistently demonstrated enduring kindness, a rare quality in today’s world.

During my formative years, I witnessed my mother’s unwavering support for her parents and siblings with a grace and authenticity that continue to amaze me. As the sole employed civil servant in her family, I now understand the tremendous responsibility she bore. Her actions were marked by a quiet but unyielding strength that set her apart. She embodied self-effacement, tolerance, and unwavering kindness. She has not only been the muse behind my writings but also the silent strength that fuels my creativity, especially during moments when life’s challenges leave my cup only half full.

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Observing her later that day, skillfully untangling a tangle of crochet threads – a newfound passion she has embraced even more after her retirement last month – I couldn’t help but feel the same love and admiration I held for this remarkable woman when I was a three-year-old. I am incredibly fortunate to call her Mama.

The world can be a cacophony of chaos and ego, but Mama has always been an oasis of tranquility and humility. She possesses a kind of inner strength that doesn’t demand the spotlight, the type of resilience that is understated and enduring.

Her journey through life is a profound testament to genuine love and unyielding sacrifice. Mama possesses a unique ability to infuse her love into every facet of her existence. From the delectable meals she lovingly prepares to the melodious songs that flow effortlessly from her lips, her every action is an expression of the boundless love she holds within her heart.

Mama’s love is like a masterfully woven tapestry, intricately crafted with each twist and turn of life’s threads. Even when those threads become tangled and ensnared in the knots of life’s challenges, she deftly unravels them with grace, revealing the enduring beauty beneath.

As I reminisce about my childhood, the echoes of music and the resonant timbre of her incredible voice singing hits like Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’ and ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ fill my mind. Madonna was not just any singer; she was Mama’s absolute favorite. I can still recall those lyrics by heart, even at the tender age of 6 or 7. Back then, I knew the words but not their deeper meanings; those revelations would come in my twenties.

Mama’s renditions of Madonna’s songs were a regular feature in our household, transforming ordinary moments into harmonious ones. Whether it was while she prepared our meals or tended to household chores, her voice would fill the air, creating a comforting backdrop to our daily lives. I never fully grasped the power of music to evoke emotions and convey profound messages until I was older.

It was in my twenties, when life had presented its own share of challenges and complexities, that the lyrics of those familiar songs took on new significance. I came to understand the deeper themes of ‘La Isla Bonita’ – the longing for a place of serene beauty – and ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ – the plea for understanding and independence. These songs, which had once been a melodic backdrop to my childhood, now became the carriers of wisdom and life lessons, a testament to the timelessness of Mama’s musical choices.

It was through these songs that Mama inadvertently imparted the importance of individuality, of standing up for one’s beliefs, and of embracing life’s adventures. The lyrics, once just words to a catchy tune, now served as guides to navigate the complexities of adulthood. They revealed the depth of Mama’s understanding and her subtle way of passing on invaluable lessons.

In a world that often overcomplicates the act of imparting wisdom, Mama’s choice of songs was a simple yet powerful medium for teaching us about life. It was a reminder that sometimes, the most profound lessons are conveyed not through elaborate speeches but through the resonance of a familiar melody.

Mama’s choice of songs was a reflection of her own values and beliefs. It was her way of communicating the importance of love, acceptance, and the pursuit of dreams. These were lessons that transcended the language of lyrics, echoing deep within our hearts.

As I think back to those cherished moments of Mama’s music and the songs that became the soundtrack of my upbringing, I realize that they were not just melodies; they were the vessels of her wisdom and the threads that wove the tapestry of our lives. Mama’s love, her sacrifice, and her guidance were all subtly embedded in those songs, waiting for the day when their deeper meanings would be uncovered and cherished.

Mama’s love isn’t grandiose or showy, but it’s profound in its simplicity. It’s the kind of love that molds you, shapes your character, and teaches you how to be a better person, often without you even realizing it.

During my time at Ndows High School, there was a group of girls whom I greatly admired. Their beauty was striking, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of them. However, my upbringing was different from theirs, as my mother wasn’t the one raising me. So, during school holidays, when I visited my mom, I would excitedly recount every little detail about these amazing girls, focusing on their beauty above all else.

It was during one of these conversations with my mother that she said something that forever changed the way I saw myself. In the midst of discussing those girls, she told me just how beautiful I was. It was a revelation I had never considered before. In my eyes, I was clever, but beauty had always been associated with my mother. Even at sixty, she still resembles a movie star. But that simple statement from my mother did wonders for my self-confidence as an awkward teenager. To this day, regardless of what anyone else may say, my mother’s voice remains the one that truly matters. When she says I’m beautiful, I wholeheartedly believe her.

Beyond instilling confidence in her teenage daughter, my mother taught me the value of excellence. She never hesitated to provide me with all the tools I needed to grow into a healthy young woman. Her kindness was a constant presence in my life, whether I was right or wrong. She would scold me when necessary and condemn my wrongdoings, but she always showed me the way forward without passing judgment.

Her home has always been a sanctuary of warmth and hospitality. No one departs her house without both a satisfied stomach and a heart full of warmth. It’s not just about the food she serves; it’s about the love and care she offers alongside it.

In a world that often equates success with material wealth and social status, Mama’s success is measured by the love she shares, the wisdom she imparts, and the lives she touches. She has consistently shown me that true wealth is not found in possessions but in the richness of the heart.

Mama’s quiet yet unshakable strength has served as my anchor during life’s storms. She has taught me that the most enduring strength is that which is coupled with tenderness, and that kindness is never a weakness. Through her example, I’ve learned that life is about more than just surviving; it’s about thriving through love and compassion.

As we celebrated her 60th birthday, I couldn’t help but reflect on how Mama’s life is a masterpiece of love, resilience, and grace. She has not only been my mother but a beacon of hope, a source of strength, and a living example of how to navigate life’s complexities with unwavering kindness.

In an era when the world seems to celebrate the loud and the brash, Mama’s life is a testament to the enduring power of gentleness and humility. She reminds me that the most beautiful and influential acts are often the quiet ones, those that touch the heart in the gentlest of ways.

As I observed her that day, patiently untangling crochet threads with the same grace she has used to unravel life’s challenges, my heart swelled with gratitude. I am thankful for the incredible woman she is, for the love she has bestowed upon us, and for the lifelong lessons she continues to impart.

Mama, you’re not just a year older; you’re a year more incredible. Happy 60th, and here’s to many more years of love, wisdom, and grace. Your legacy is etched not only in our hearts but in the very essence of our family.

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