Something about my mother

But one day, this woman looked me in both eyes and said: “You and your brothers are the reason I’m still here”. Heart. Stop. I think I felt guilty. But then I didn’t understand. My guilt should have been gratitude instead.

On special days like this one, I would usually go on Facebook and write a fairly long epistle to honour the one I’m celebrating. But this year, Facebook seems a limited audience for what I’m about to share. So I’m just going to use this platform, and I ask that you indulge me for a moment.

thank you

I know everyone in the world was born of a woman, and for sure, your mum, biological or otherwise, is the bestest mum in the whole universe. So we’re all grateful for mums everywhere who have sacrificed a portion or all of themselves for their children, biological and otherwise. Ever since I became a mother, I began to see life quite differently. Less of myself and more of some other person. The truth is, even though I should boast of such a love for my husband, I cannot deny that somewhere inside of me, the definition of ‘unconditional love’ can mostly be seen in the one I have for my children; and this statement comes without guilt and needs no more explanation to back it up: it just is. And it’s because of this realisation I now understand why my mum is still alive today.

Worlds-Beat-Mom

Many people have experienced love in different forms. The one my parents shared was one I still try to wrap my head around. To say it was beautiful is to say the least of it. I remember those times I’ll hear them having a fight in their bedroom. Oh, pure love that fights to stay together. That was their love. So when an accident suddenly took my dad, it was like the sun had fallen from the sky. To be honest, I didn’t know how my mum was going to pull through. I vaguely remember expecting her to grieve so much that she would die from it. And it would have been okay, I would have understood that it was love that drew her to where he was. I never would have blamed her. But one day, this woman looked me in both eyes and said: “You and your brothers are the reason I’m still here”. Heart. Stop. I think I felt guilty. But then I didn’t understand. My guilt should have been gratitude instead. This was her saying she had given her life for us. Now it feels so deep to me.

us
Famous Five

My dad was an Engineer. Working for one of the popular oil and gas companies then in Nigeria meant he could afford the basic necessities life could offer. My mum, on the other hand, was a Guidance Counsellor in a Secondary School. A job she had been doing for so many years at the time my dad passed. If I were to compare their income, it would be like this: My dad earned some money, and my mum earned a tithe of what he earned. What shoes to fill. At night, I would hear her crying to God to give her the grace to maintain the standard my dad had set, that her children should only miss his presence but never the things he could give them. So besides her day job, my mum ran a catering business. She loved to cook; and cook she really can. With her cooking, she would rent out chairs and tents for parties and other events, and sold textile on the side, just in case the party wanted to look fancy too. In her struggle to make ends meet, she would be owed for months and months, by organisations and by individuals. Some. Still. Have. Not. Paid! But she never lost the will to continue.

ma
That look . . . 😅

The disciplinarian of life. My goodness. Growing up, my mum and I were never close because of how tough I thought she was. I remember there would be days that the only things I would say to her might be ‘Good morning mummy’, ‘Good afternoon mummy’, ‘Goodnight mummy’. And she wasn’t selfish. Her disciplinary skills were graciously applied to every child that crossed her path, hers or not. She was generous like that. This discipline made its way into her adult circle. I remember when someone might have lost her husband and women from church would go visit. Other women might sit and cry with the recent widow and try as much to sympathise with her. My mum would sit at the corner and watch all that was going on. She had experienced it too, so nothing was new. The only new thing that would happen that day is when she gets up to address the widow. It’ll go something like this:

“My sister, dry your eyes and look at me. You know I’ve been where you are right now, so I will tell you the truth. Now look around at all the people here sympathising with you. Give them at most a month, and there will be no one here. They’ll all go back to their lives and the world will keep on turning. But you will be here, and your world will still be standing still. Now look at those children. They are yours. They are all you have. The quicker you realise this, the better it will be for you. Because you are responsible for them and you must do all to make sure their lives don’t end because you gave up, or because you couldn’t fight. So get up, and while you are crying, because you will cry, look at these children you are responsible for, and fight on. Pick up what is left and carry on. God will help you as He has helped me. Don’t depend on any man. The Lord is all you have!”

Sometimes I would feel sorry for the people who joined her in the visit because they might feel she’s exposing their hearts, or maybe not. Maybe some of them might stay longer than a month, and keep their promises to help, who knows, but when I remember those who broke theirs to my mum, I give her advice a quick nod of approval, still in gratitude to those who stuck by her and still do.

curtsy
Thanks, fam!

This woman, my mum, has helped raise thousands of children who are doing something great with their lives. For over 30 years, she gave of herself in many ways than I can account for, to see children become who they really can be. She served her local church with so much vigour, I would tease her by calling her ‘senior prefect‘. Her service to God in her local church could have cost her her life. Yes, there were death threats. There was and still is constant persecution from some quarters and I shake my head at them. She’s the life of every gathering. Her smile lights up everywhere she goes. Her strong fighting spirit drives the fears of even those around her. Her faith has made her whole.

mums
Strong Women United

Oh, I wish I could write more. I want to. Just so this woman, while she still lives, could know how much she means to her world. And we won’t wait to write a eulogy. We celebrate her even NOW! I celebrate you, Mum!

Let her weaknesses speak for themselves, but for me, I choose to celebrate her strengths that shine through in the midst of every challenge she has faced and is still facing. So today, on her 62nd birthday, I write this piece to honour the one who pushed me, and three others, out of her womb but has mothered thousands, by the grace only her God could afford.

Sixty-two happy cheers!

fireworks
Hip hip hip . . . (x62)

Happy birthday woman of valour! If all the words on earth are exhausted, I’ll never lack words to celebrate you, Mrs Esther Atinuke Ajoke Osunlaja (Nee Fabamwo)

 

baby ma
She was a child too 😀

 

51 thoughts on “Something about my mother

  1. This touched me deeply. I celebrate the grace of God upon you Ma, I celebrate your strength and resilience in raising thousands of people both known and unknown.

    Your daughter’s live has also touched many and she has poured out of that which she also received from you. This ultimately means you’ve also impacted those she has touched.

    Long will you live to enjoy the fruit of your labour in perfect health and joy. From sixty two to seventy two , Eighty two, ninety two and all the “twos” till Jesus comes.

    Most importantly, you’ll receive your reward in heaven personally from the Master.

    Happy birthday Ma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I celebrate my own friend, sister, auntie,a certified teacher, an encourager , my brother’s wife and daughter of Zion. The good Lord will perfect all that concerns you in Jesus name. Amen. Happy birthday ma.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I join you and your siblings today to celebrate Tinuke Osunlaja. A woman of valour and extra ordinary strength. A friend who sticks closer than a sister. A pillar of strenght to all she meets. A guidance counselor of repute. A prayer warrior. a selfless giver. Infact.words fail me to discribe this daughter of Zion. I love you and i want to.use this opportunity to thank you for always being there for me. Thanks. God bless you and satisfy you.with.long life to reap the fruit of your labour of love.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great piece! I would read it over and over again. Happy birthday mum Esther. We pray many more fulfilling year for you.
    Thanks for being a great mum. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mum, you are indeed A GIFT to Humanity. We celebrate the Grace of God upon your life. The Lord bless and keep you and lift up His countenance upon you continually and give you Peace on EVERY SIDE in Jesus Name
        We love you MUM
        (PASTOR VIN and FAMILY)

        Like

  5. Happy Birthday Mummy! I have known you as a woman of prayer, everytime I speak with you on the phone you will not say bye without a word of encouragement and prayer and that makes me happy to speak with you everytime I have the opportunity to, ” who no like to be prayed for”? I pray that the Good Lord will satisfy you with long life garnished with good health and prosperity in Jesus name. Amen!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Happy Birthday to my dearest mother, i cannot describe the how much i love you. May God grant you the strength to live on and enjoy the life here on earth, Because i know you will definitely partake in the one afterwards in heaven,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful piece! It actually brought tears to my eyes! Happy birthday to your special mum! May the almighty God continue to give her peace,strength,happiness and bless her with all the desires of her heart ! May you and your siblings continue to be a source of blessing to her now and always,in Jesus almighty name! Amen.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy Birthday Mummy,
    Thank you for being more than a ‘church Mummy’ to me and for loving my family the way you have done over the years. Your love for all your children – biological or otherwise is so evident in our lives – just your prayers alone are a testament to this.
    I join everyone to celebrate you today, ma and I know that God will continue to bless you with long life, happiness and testimonies.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful piece for a beautiful mum.
    Happy birthday mam, a woman of substance with a beautiful heart.
    May God almighty grant you more than you ever expect.
    It is well well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. She deserves more than this piece, she is a great woman. Happy birthday ma, more years, more strength, more grace. Thrive on ma. God’s blessings in Jesus name.Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday mummy, am one of those privileged to be your daughter. And I don’t take it for granted. Thank you for inspiring me and setting such a standard for motherhood. May God bless you beyond your imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy Birthday indeed to a virtuous mother. May her days be full long and prosperous in the matchless and victorious name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST amen.
    Thanks OluwaTosin for a good piece
    Permit me to charge or challenge you and all children reading these – let us also do the best to appreciate mothers not just in nice words but in specific tangible deeds. Let it no longer be the case that her generation in all their lives “served her parents and her children”. May the LORD enable all the willing minds.
    Remain blessed – DrOT

    Like

  12. I can’t believe i missed this. Your mum is one awesome woman. God bless her for all she has let God use her to be and become. I celebrate her today and always.

    Many more testimonies.

    Like

  13. What an amazing woman the Lord gave you for a mom! I love her smile! So filled with life and happiness! Handsome family picture too! I love what you said about celebrating her now instead of waiting to eulogize her, and letting her weaknesses celebrate for themselves you celebrate her strengths! I can see where you get so much of who you are!
    How many crowns she must have to lay at His feet for those she has ministered to! ❤ Hope she had a blessed birthday! God loves you, Alethea's mum! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thanks Gail, I’ll let her read your comment, it’s so kind of you and it will put a smile on her face. I bless God for the woman He has made her to be, and you know, sometimes I pray I have half the strength she possesses. To God be all the glory!

      Liked by 1 person

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