by Michael Lamptey
In this life, I have always had two mothers, my biological mother, and an auntie. My parents are still alive. For most of my young life, I was raised by my auntie who I call mum till this day. I was not born with ‘a silver spoon in my mouth.’ My parents came from a poor home and had an average education. They were common civil servants who earned minimum wage. This is dedicated to mothers, but, I must say that I had the ever presence of a father in my life who played his role perfectly, but I will not talk about that for now.
As a kid, I always considered and still consider my mum the most intelligent one because she was the one who stopped everything she was doing to help me with my homework; no offense to dad.
When I played truant in town, my mum would defend me with her life but would put me straight with punishment once we got home. Unless you knew, you would think my ‘mums’ and I are friends. When we had bad economic times, my mother would ensure that my siblings and I had enough to eat, even if it meant she had to go to bed with an empty stomach. My other mum (auntie) saved all her earnings to give me one of the best high school educations one can ever get. When I had periods of unemployment, my ‘mothers’ were always there to bail me out with the free meals. Of course, it was not all cozy and rosy. We had our differences too. Till date, my mum (biological) still sees me as her little baby boy, a real point of disagreement and often argument, but these are minute issues compared to the love I have received.
STORY OF MY LIFE
I remember one very important moment in my life. It was a Saturday in high school when I was doing some alterations on my trousers, so I could look good for entertainment night. I stuck the needle in my mattress as I went out briefly to get something. On my return, I forgot I had a needle in my mattress, so, in an attempt to reach for my trousers on the further side of the bed, I knelt on it, and it pierced straight from the point of its head and stuck into my left knee.
I knew immediately that I was in trouble, so I reported it to my house head who also doubles as a tutor of the school. He came to inspect the area and insisted it was impossible for something like that to happen. The next day I had a swollen knee, and I could barely walk, but my house head, acting like a medical expert, insisted it was just an injury so I should give it time and it would heal ( I could only go to the hospital on his permit). Seeing the danger I was in, I requested a friend to steal his way to town and phone my mum (it was an era when phones were scarce and a luxury here in Ghana). He did!
By Monday I couldn’t get out of bed. At the risk of losing her job and without permission from her superior, my mum (auntie), suspended her work and made all the necessary calls, some of them very angry, towards the head of the school. Her action prompted panic among school authorities and ensured that the head of the school drove me to a hospital that was 45 minutes away to get a quick x-ray and immediate surgery, which my aunt had already arranged in advance. Long story short, the needle was found lodged in my left knee, and I had a successful operation.
She arrived the next day on campus to pay me a visit. At the time, I also learned that my biological mum was ill, so she couldn’t come along with her for the visit. Later, I heard that, she received a serious query and suspension from work, but that punishment was never a bother. She already had what she needed—my safety. I am extremely lucky to have two mothers. Till date, she (my auntie) keeps the rusted needle that was retrieved from my knee as a memory of the event.
A MOST INSPIRING STORY
It was a hot afternoon, and I was on my way to lectures during my university years. A young girl about the age of eleven years, holding a large tray and soaked in tears, stopped me and requested I give her some money. By her demeanor, she seemed like an intelligent little girl. I’ll call her Lariba. She hawked oranges in the streets to help her mother, and she had just been robbed of her day’s sales by a gang of street boys. Lariba was scared of facing her mother’s wrath. I had no problem sparing my lunch money for that day, so I gave it to her. I had one other problem, though. Which cruel and lazy mother would allow her child to hawk oranges in this hot sun while her peers were in school studying? I would be late for lectures but never mind, I was so agitated and wanted to meet her mother, who also traded a few thousand meters away, so that I could pour my wrath on her. As we approached the spot, Lariba pointed to a disabled woman who was just about crawling and struggling to climb into her wheelchair after serving a customer. It was her mum! Suddenly, I lost my aggression and approached the woman calmly. I told her Lariba’s story and how scared she was coming back without the day’s sales. In tears, this woman hugged her child and told me she would never be angry with Lariba, that she happened to be a single mum, and Lariba had been sacked the previous day for non-payment of school fees. She sold oranges and saved the proceeds to care for Lariba and herself. Lariba had actually volunteered to help her sell that day by hawking around.
Their life as mum and daughter was so touching and more inspiring to me than many experiences I have had in life. Unfortunately, this was a period when cellular phones were a luxury, so we lost contact. I went back after a few weeks to visit, but I was told they had relocated.
Strange, but this is a country where, until recently, disability issues were ignored, and many struggled to make ends meet. I know the resilience of Lariba’s mother, coupled with Lariba’s intelligence, will see them through.
Mothers, wow! For me, someone does not necessarily have to be your biological mother to be called your mum. When you are young, you tend to think some of your mother’s actions are cruel. But when you become an adult, you start seeing the wisdom behind what she did. That said, I believe not all mothers are good mothers. Cruel stories abound, but I believe most mothers are good, if not wonderful.
Cheers to all the single mothers working hard to raise their children through the daily struggles, cheers to all the women taking care of the children of others, and massive cheers to all the mothers making ‘kings and queens’ out of common men and women.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Lamptey is a social/collaboration entrepreneur, internet marketing guide, web developer and freelance blogger.
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