Maman

Le chef-d’œuvre de Dieu, c’est le cœur d’une mère…

(The masterpiece of God is a mother’s heart.)

– Gréty

Vendredi, 21 septembre 2012:

Aujourd’hui, c’est mon anniversaire… le vingt-premier…

I’m not quite sure why, but while I was working on my chapters just now, I suddenly had a vivid image in my head of our Regimanuel Grey living room bathed in the warm Ghanaian afternoon sunlight, and it was quiet but for the sounds coming from the TV and the bustling activities in the kitchen. From the living room, I could see lunch being served, and I felt like I’d just come home from school, relieved to be indoors and away from the heat, and desperately anticipating food.

At the thought of food my mother’s fried omelette comes immediately to mind, and I thought of how such a simple dish could provoke such intense feelings of homesickness within me. In this particular vision I had, my mother was serving fried omelette on the dining table, and there was rice, and either chicken curry or asam pedas – two dishes no one else makes better than her.

This is how our afternoons were in those days: dropped off home from school by Abu’s van, changing out of our uniforms, praying zuhr, then lunch, cooked by our mother’s hands. I wonder how some people managed to grow up without a mother, because I shudder to think what my childhood would be like without one.

I think of my mother and the food she cooked for us when we were children and I think: this is how a mother raises, sacrifices, and loves her children. She feeds us so we will grow, so that when we’re grown, we will do the same to her. It’s the cycle of life, you see. In this way, her love will forever be a part of all of us; not only did she bear us inside her for nine months before we were born, but for years and years after our birth, the food she feeds us eventually form part of our flesh and bones, proof of her undying love that we will take to the grave.

As I type this I can feel my eyes stinging with oncoming tears, and I do not try to stop them. Every time I think of my mother, I know without a doubt that I will never grow up; I will forever be my mother’s daughter. My thirst for my mother’s love will never be quenched, though its vastness may put all the seven oceans in this world to shame. This kind of love – there is no one else in this world who will offer it to me so unselfishly.

I always stop myself to let this feeling of gratitude sink in. My mother’s love has truly been the biggest blessing from God. In the past few years, there have been one calamity after another that brought me down to my knees from time to time, but while I have lost much, I have also, in many other respects, gained so, so much more.

So, really, my birthday shouldn’t be about celebrating the addition of another year to my age, but about appreciating my mother – the woman who brought me into this world and devoted herself to raising me throughout these years, so that what you see in me today is really the fruits of my mother’s hands.

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