People who know me, know about my stern criticism and my, not so undisguised, rage against mainstream feminism. Nonetheless, my greatest hero is also a female: not just some random female but the same female that shot me out of her womb some decades ago. This young lady (despite she is in her late 50’s right now, she’s still a young lady to me), merited her greatness not just by her default biological attributes of being able to bare kids, but through by what she went through to raise me and my sister.
My mother had me when she was in her late 20’s, while she was some whippersnapper middle school teacher in Ethiopia. I was a happy accident, which according to her, brought fulfillment and purpose to her life (and also my dad’s). My parents never got married despite my conception cemented their relationship. Though she recounts so many stories about my early childhood, my first vivid memories about my mom are those of her taking me to the park and to playing with me.
Growing up, my mother made sure that me and my sister got the best education possible, though she barely afforded it. As a consequence, her self-care was totally sacrificed for our education and our well-being. Apart from her self-righteousness, mom is also greatly productive in how she handled her day. Growing up, here is how her typical day looked like: she wakes up at 5:30 am everyday and she cleans up the house, then she prepares our breakfast and lunch. After that she wakes us up at around 7 am and gets us ready for our day. She usually leaves for work at around 8 am and comes back home after a full day of work at around 5 pm. Up on her arrival, a house work usually eats the next 2 hours of her remaining day until she finally starts to make dinner for us in the early evening. Though we helped a bit in the house work (me cooking and my sister cleaning), the major chunk of the work was still done by her. When I think about it now, it really amazes me how she had the energy to do all of that everyday.
If I have to talk about one of the greatest thing about my mother, it should be about her resilience. I have seen this woman pass through the death of a spouse (my dad) at a young age. She then witnessed the crumbling of her vibrant family and her world with the death of her brothers, her sisters and her childhood friends. All of it tainted her heart, surely some more than the others, but it never broke her. She just kept going when there didn’t seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. Despite all, she kept being the pillar for both her immediate and extended family. She is also a well trusted member of her community and had served various social leadership positions in the community.
My mother is my greatest hero, not because I am indebted to her for my 23 chromosomes ( 🙂 ) but mostly for her selflessness in raising me and my sister. I am also grateful to her for the resilience and the lightheartedness she bestowed upon me.
Dear mom (or as I call her Batiye ባቲዬ), I long understood that a single life time is not going to be enough to repay you back for everything, so in the greatest words of the one and only Mr. Tupac Shakur, I say to you:
There’s no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated, lady
Happy mothers day young lady and I love you so much.
Your favorite kid (sorry sis 🙂 )
2 thoughts on “An ode to my mother”
Well said brother. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms especially to the Ethiopian moms.
Dear Biruk, all the love and sacrifices have built diamonds: you and your sister. Not a mother yet but I suppose that is a great reward to her. Hugs