June 4, 2018 by Kgalalelo
Today’s title might seem weird to a lot of people but the fourth of June bears significance to me. It’s the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. The United States of America celebrate the Fourth of July, which is their Independence Day and I thought, how about commemorating my Mamma’s birthday using a similar concept. My mother would have turned 71 years old this year but God had another plan and so called her to Himself at the age of 67. I thank God for the grace of having had a mother until I was late in my thirties. She has seen me grow, schooled me, married me, saw me become a woman, had kids and taught me how to take care of them as babies. She was right there when I learned to breastfeed them and recommended that I drink rooibos tea with milk to help produce enough milk for the babies.
In my culture, women who have just given birth are usually advised to eat plenty of soft porridge to aid the reproduction of milk for the baby. Soft porridge is a carbohydrate as it’s made from mealie meal and result in weight gain, I respectfully declined, else I would have been bigger than I am today. I thank God that I only moved one dress size up from my original weight ever since I had kids. My mom was gentle with me though, and the babies. I was spoiled. She let me sleep and rest when the babies cried in the middle of the night to help change the nappies. She was surely an incredible and awesome mom. I know that you are probably thinking your mom is the best but my mom was the best, lol.
I think about my mother often and miss her even though it has been four years since her passing. Time flies but the memories are in the here and now. You can draw any memory at any time of your loved one even if they died decades ago. It makes me understand the power of now better and confirms that everything indeed is happening right now. When you think about something, it’s now that you are thinking. I read a book by Eckhart Tolle called The Power of Now years back and it’s one of my favourites. I might not have understood some of the concepts he teaches about then but I have a better picture today. Now, in fact, is all there is, yesterday has gone and tomorrow is not yet here, therefore, all that we have is the present moment. We can do so much in the present, it is in the present that we think and decide on things and even when tomorrow comes, it would be the present the following day. The moment that has passed will pass forever, however, when you think about that which has occurred, you would be thinking in the now. This is quite fascinating and requires time to digest and once you finally get it, you realise that it is like that.
I am dedicating this blog to my mother who I know for certain that she is with the Lord because she was a believer who received salvation. She was a spiritual person from as far as I could remember, starting with her taking us to Sunday school when we were little that we may be taught the Word of God at an early age. We were raised in a more traditional church and in my twenties when I was still living at home with my parents I remember her informing us that she had joined a Pentecostal church. She was bold, made decisions and followed through. She never tried to convince any of us to follow her because we were adults who could make our own decisions and so we remained where we were. She read the Bible every evening when she came back from work and had books written by Christian pastors and teachers that she kept on her bed pedestal and some in the kist. When she passed away, I took all her books. These were my only prized possessions that I inherited from her as her clothes didn’t fit me and so my sister and aunt helped themselves to the outfits. I got some of her scarfs and bags, however.
My mother was stylish. She dressed really smart. She had a small, green, flowery jewellery chest in which she kept all of her earrings. She had an assortment of different colours of earrings, red, green, orange and any other colour, size and shape you could think of. She looked elegant because she was such a beautiful woman. I still have photos of her when she was younger. She wore wedge-heels, jumpsuits, put on lipstick and wore afro and pixie wigs. She was very light in complexion and the red lipstick suit her very well. It made her complexion pop. She had this black and white polka dot dress that I loved that she would wear with her red stilettoes. I don’t wear stilettoes myself but she did. I walk really fast and need a strong heel or wedge for my balance.
My mom was a beautiful woman inside and out and even when she got older she believed that a woman should always take care of herself and look graceful and never give up. She would say to me, ‘in life you have to fight and never allow yourself to be defeated by the challenges’. She was a fighter herself and never felt sorry for herself even if things were not going right. She always found ways to pull through and make things work. Whatever she wanted and needed, she went for it. She was a truly loving mother and ensured that we always had the things that were necessary to have as children. She worked hard even at her retirement age, she still went to work whenever she was needed.
One thing I don’t remember seeing was my mother crying. Perhaps she did in private or maybe she believed crying was for sissies, I don’t know, or even so, maybe she cried inside. She was never a person who showed emotion so much. I told my cousin recently that I don’t cry very easily too. She cries for everything. I might have taken after my mother, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. I see myself in her occasionally, things that I never noticed when she was still alive. I’m glad that she also taught me how to cook and be independent because when I left home at the age of 23, I could take care of myself without needing mommy. I could stand up for myself and only called for help from my parents when it was necessary.
I have been raised by an amazing woman who knew what she wanted in life and never did anything she didn’t want to do. If she didn’t want to travel to a place, she simply stayed at home or found another thing to do. She loved people and was supportive in the community and even to her relatives. She had a presence and sometimes when I called home she would be at a funeral or church or social club. I didn’t quite like one of those women societies when it came to my home because it meant work for me, helping her bake and prepare for her visitors. No wonder I don’t like societies even now. I’ve never affiliated in any of them but she liked them because she would be with her friends, it would be time for socialising in an intimate and close environment of the home and sharing a cup of tea and cake.
These kind of clubs usually consists of six or twelve participants who support each other financially on a rotational basis each month. Support can be in the form of groceries as well. Where there are twelve participants, it would mean, if the group has decided to contribute R500 per person, if it’s your turn, everyone would give you the R500 in your month and you would receive R5500 constituting the contribution from eleven members. If its six people depending on the amount decided upon, you would receive money twice in a year or groceries. This is how it’s done in the townships, work areas and in urban areas as well. Whenever the society came to our house, my mom would go all out for the ladies to make them feel at home and I assume all participants did the same at their homes as well.
I had a lovely time with my mother and enjoyed spending time with her when she came back from work sometimes. I would snuggle with her in bed and we would spend time talking. She would tell me about what transpired at work during the day and I would tell her about my day too. We spoke about any topic you could think of and laughed together and then made her a cup of tea or dish food for her when she wanted some. Those were special moments that are irreplaceable. Perhaps when I get to heaven someday in a very distant future, there would be time again, to have those kind of chats and laugh again with my mom. Every Mamma is unique and mine was special in every way and supported me. She was always there when I needed her and she reprimanded me just like any parent would chastise her own child.
Even when I did get angry, it didn’t last long because when you think about it, is there really a parent who doesn’t show her child the right way by being tough sometimes? I don’t think so, I think discipline is a sign of love and we need to be guided one way or the other or else we might get burned. I appreciate all the chastisement from her as they moulded me. I thank her for clearing the way that I may see the direction of where I should go. Even though at times I stepped off the rail track, I quickly got back on because of the education of my mom.
They say that you don’t know what you have until its gone, I think that it is because when our mothers are still around, we take so much for granted as if it’s their job to do things for us. We need to take time to reflect and show gratitude to our parents most times. I can hear someone saying ‘but it’s the parents who wanted to have children, therefore their responsibility’. You are partly right, but I also think that if you didn’t want to be on earth as well, you wouldn’t have been here. When I think of a baby, I think of one who is excited and cooing and kicking, that is definitely someone who wants to be on earth, who is happy to be alive, to bring joy and to share it with the ones around her. It’s not completely the responsibility of the mother or the parent but yours also little one. You have a role to play. You need to play your part because one day, you will have children of your own as well and wouldn’t you like to be treated like you matter? Off course you would. We all want to be loved and appreciated and I wanted to take the time just to appreciate the woman who bore pains for me to enjoy life. Our union is for a divine purpose always, we are not only here for ourselves but for each other, parents and children alike.
The Bible teaches us to value our parents. It says in Exodus 20:12 in the Ten Commandments, “Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you”. So you want to live long, honour your parents. The Bible further says “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). It pleases the Lord that we should respect our parents. It says further up in Proverbs 22:6 “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. My mother trained me well and I am still on the right path by God’s grace. She didn’t spare the rod as the bible says and because she loved me, she was diligent to discipline me (Proverbs 13:24). Lastly, in Deuteronomy 21: 18-21, the Bible says “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town”. I am glad that I honoured my parents and where my mother is, she is looking down with joy that I was a child a parent would love to have and raise. My parents never brought me before the elders but their rebuke was sufficient.
I am deeply grateful that I had my Mamma just the way she was. The times that we shared where great and the timing of her departure though extremely painful was known to God when she was born. I am a grateful that God gave her to me for almost forty years of my life. It was indeed a privilege as many children around the world lost their mothers when they were very young and some have never seen their mothers at all. Mine on the other hand, reared me, fed me and loved me all those years and when the time came for her to depart, she knew that she had done what she had come on earth to do. With gratitude, I cried.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
If you love to explore, observe and feel appreciation for God's goodness in your life, then you will feel right at home on this site.