My name is Ayodeji Lancaster.
Few years back, I was Eight years old.
My best food is Rice and Beans with Dodo, excess meat with a couple of chilled malt drinks.
I have few best friends and my favorite color is blue.
I am chocolate in complexion though I have deep black curly hair.
The name of my mother is Adebola.
The name of my…… Wait, that’s it? Just a line for Mama even as she celebrates her birthday today? I got to be kidding.
Mama, couple years ago, you taught me to think deep by teaching me to write Compositions on almost every subject. I wrote about myself, my best friend, my best food, my best subject and even my class teacher. It’s quite regrettable that you never asked me to write about ‘My Mother’; and Mrs. Ibironke, my class teacher who kept blushing and smiling sheepishly as I read my composition on ‘My Class Teacher’ to the class, didn’t deem it fit to ask me to write about you. I’m sure you’ve forgiven her. And me too.
If I could, I would go back twenty years and rewrite my holiday assignment, I would rather write a composition on ‘My Mother’ than writing a letter to my imaginary friend in Port Harcourt telling him about the Egungu festival I never witnessed, and almost gladly so. But like you always told us, I need not dwell on the past anymore. What’s left is for me to channel my time, energy and resources at my disposal into making the greatest out of today while also securing a better tomorrow. This is the message you have always preached from my cradle and it’s a treasure I’ll surely take it to the grave.
So, today, as you add another wonderful figure to your years, I’ll write for you, for you and only you Mama. Words are not big enough, emotions are not capturing enough, even silence would fail in describing that awesome woman who birthed me, sat and yet didn’t just watch my infant head but worked tirelessly to make it grow until I was old enough to be watching some infants’ heads. Yet she’s not relenting.
Acceptably it must have been quite hard for anyone to raise a child like me. Every now and then, my friends, colleagues and everybody I come across always give a bowed head in commendation to that patient and ever-loving woman who raised me. It must have been a Herculean task they said, I could not disagree. It’s hard enough putting up with myself these days and I can just imagine how uneasy it was for you all those years.
The picture of me pooping and spewing on you as a child, unintentionally pouring your food away because I just would not sit down quietly, sometimes inconsolably peeing in your drink, not to talk of when I tried the table knife on your new dress and my new shoes, cutting my fluffy teddy bear open to see the cute dog backing and cracking your black and white TV open to check who the heck was talking inside the box and a lot other childish yet cruel, stubborn and insensitive things I did back then isn’t something I’ll like anybody do to me, not even my unborn child; though inevitably, I’ll reap that too. I know how quick I am to condemn whoever broke a plate forgetting I broke dozens of yours because of my love for neck breaking juvenile plays, not even when you get injured while packing the ruins.
How did you do it, Mama? How did you survive raising a child like me?
You truly are a medical miracle to have survived given birth to a sleeping baby; thanks to the silly nurse who induced you to sleep during childbirth of a kid who stayed over 10 months, let alone the shocks, injuries, heartaches and heartbreaks you went through when I was a kid and a lot more when I reached the teen age. Through it all you offered me protection, a lot of love and affection, whether I was right or wrong; even when my juvenility was vehemently insolent, you stood firm.
I really do not know what I’ve done to deserve this love which sometimes I take for granted because I know you are always going to be there and you never disappointed me. I know I don’t have to do anything right, you love me without a causantẽ, without a ‘why’.
You cleaned up my mess when I was a kid and now that I’m grown, you keep helping me out of messy situations that I deliberately get myself into. You’re my first best friend and you always reason with me and always see things even from my narrow and myopic point of view, even if you’re still going to gracefully disagree.
What’s your secret, Mama? How could you be this perfect?
For all the years I’ve known you, you never had cause to repeat anything no matter how hard it is. At every attempt, you scaled through every hurdle and never failed at anything. It is beyond axiom that God truly had a Son, Jesus and a Daughter, Adebola. You should write a book about mothering and parenting for all trying parents, soon-to-be parents and accidental parents to learn how to do it right and tap into your wealth of knowledge, your ever flowing stream of wisdom.
The Eighth day in the month of April years ago, the world stood still; today, the world stands still to give respect and honor to the greatest woman ever as you celebrate your birthday. No one has the slightest inkling on how proud and happy and lucky and blessed I am to have you. Adebola; an angel, the ship that brought me to earth and yet placed my feet on the right path.
Mama, whatever and whoever I am today or become tomorrow is never going to be because of my hard work and or determination but because of your lasting love, relentless prayers and ever strong belief. Behind every successful man is surely a woman: Mama, you’re the main reason behind my everyday success and achievements.
Word will always fail me in describing how awesome and wonderful you’ve been to me, the entire family and how important you are in my life. Mama, I love you so very much. All I wish is for God to bless you with longevity so you can enjoy to the fullest the bountiful harvests of your toils; and fruits of your continual labour. You’re loved, appreciated, valued and respected.
Happy birthday Adebola, Happy Birthday Mama
The world and I celebrate you…