Mother, you didn’t have to do the things you did — sacrifice your time, energy and freedom — for me. You didn’t have to carry me those long nine months. And when labour pain came, you could have complained, but knowing you, I doubt you ever did.
I imagine that when the pain came you grunted, bit your lips, breathed out and in… Perhaps a soft sigh slipped through when the frenzy of bottled-up pain threatened to break you. But you were strong, like bamboo. No wind could break you. No womb-tremor could faze you.
One of my earliest memories is when I was about four years old and I told you you was hot pepper sauce fi burn up Daddy. I was upset with you for some reason I can’t remember but you bore with me, patiently like only a loving mother could.
Mother, you bore five children. Had life rough but never gave up. You taught me the wonder of sharing. If you had one sweety, though it was as small as a coin, you would break it in as many pieces as necessary so that each of us would get a taste. And when we never had anything to eat you make magic with your fingers, summon food from air, making sure our bellies were full. Your hands could season any pot and stretch its contents so that even neighbours could enjoy a taste. Mommy, you taught me how to care.
You brought out the sunshine when skies were dark and we thought life would be over. When tragedy struck close family members, you were the tower of strength. You were the anchor.
When Mommy was happy, we didn’t dare frown.
Mommy, don’t think I’ve forgotten those late nights you stayed up with me making sure I finished my SBAs in high school. You couldn’t cure my tendency to procrastinate but that never stopped you from trying. And when my first poems were published in The Gleaner, you were one of the first to congratulate me. You taught me how to dream and believe in myself. You taught me how to love.
I want to live my life to make you proud, to show you all those years of sacrifice weren’t wasted. I know I can never repay you for what you’ve done but ask only that you remember how much I love you. How much I’ll always be grateful for you.
Mother, may I inherit even half your strength.