Dear Mom…

Dear Mom..
It’s that time of the year again, when we should gather to celebrate you and the influence you have been on our lives. Unfortunately, yet again I am far away, so far this time that I cannot even remotely be part of the event. Knowing you, I know its typically low key, a gathering of the special people in your life – which is basically Dad and us – the brood you’ve given your all for. We are all scattered far and wide now – me, kid bro, both sisters and all the numerous cousins but you have a special place in our hearts.

Growing up, you and I were never mushy – maybe because we are so similar. But you were always a fixture – unnervingly so at times. You forced principles into my head: hard work, decomposing problems into little bits, building contingencies into plans, defending budgets, that family meant sticking together even if people rubbed us the wrong ways, caring for the women in my life and your favorite quote for the natural recluse I was “No man is an Island”. I remember vividly the tanning my hide got for daring to beat the hell out of Ej; you understood I was provoked, but you insisted that the greatest moral victory was in not reacting, but living by a higher law – self control. Those were dark days, and you firmly ensured I was kept in check – hammered into line with everything under the sun: the old 404’s fan belt, the cable for the decrepit gramophone, the peppered koboko, bare hands, pick-pin (that had to be a torture tactic from the MI-6 archives!) and the odd kick on occasion; but the words were the ones that hurt the most. They forced me to think long and hard abut my life from a young age.

You probably saved my life by introducing me to Shakespeare, Chaucer, Moore, Browning, Mboya, Chukwuemeka Ike, Diop, Dennis Brutus and Alex Al Guma; whilst my friends were hanging out experimenting with cannabis, I was trying to recover from being blown away by words. You forced me to write all those 500 word essays back in the day, giving me the building blocks of critical thinking that have made me who I am. You taught me that anger was not to be expressed violently, but channeled into doing stuff. You and Dad modeled doing hard things; surviving in the midst of all those ASUU strikes on mere pittances in ways I find very intriguing even now: forgoing the extras for the needful, recycling as much as possible, long term planning on expenditures, always keeping some money away for the rainy day, having some savings in the bank and yes growing our own food! I still think you were way too hard on us – me especially, but then perhaps it was because you cared in your own way. You did stand up for us outside the house – if a bully threatened us, you went to their parents and made them back off. Of course you were not perfect, but I was way too ‘quietly stubborn’ as you famously put it!

You excelled at everything you did, making those chauvinists at work shut up. You demonstrated that being a family focused woman didn’t make you less intelligent or less hard working than them. And when the top job was open, you did your best, and but for some politicking you should have landed it. I still get called your son – even though I have some grey hair- still get some favours from people that you helped in the past – all those students you mentored, the NYSC chaps who came for free food, the women whose marriages were saved, all those cousins you brought into the house so they could get a fighting chance at getting an education rather than rotting away as yet another relic to the problems of polygamy coupled with living below the poverty line. I’m sure they feel the same way too.

I never got to read Medicine eventually; even a PhD seems like a tall order now, but I hear you are very much proud of me, and that I am still your golden boy. All them extra degrees you got are so not my portion IJN! I’m sure you understand that I never was and will never be the mushy, effusive guy. So I may never call you up out of the blue just to say mushy crap – but I hope that my actions and the mutual respect say it all; that you hold a treasured space in my life. You may never get to read this (I’m so hoping you don’t read my blog!); but just so you know, the customary phone call will occur later today.

Happy birthday Mum

P.S. I’m still working on the grand child angle, you know it takes two to tango! Kid sis has a head start already, so hopefully I am not so high up on the agenda. Kindly do not bring it up when I call you later….. Thanks for understanding..

51 thoughts on “Dear Mom…

  1. Oh My…………………
    This is beautiful, very inspiring. You have a great mum

    Honestly I was learning some motherhood tips from this post while I was reading.
    I really wish your mum would read this (and we could freeze the other 'good stuffs' on your blog)

    a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JDB mum,
    JDB, are we not going to eat rice on her behalf?


  2. Happy Birthday Mama DB! So sweet… These kind of notes are what make me keep praying I can be such a strong positive influence on my kids whenever I have them.
    Your mom is so strong… She reminds me very much of my own mum, literary influences and all. The only difference was she never had to use the koboko. Words were enough…
    LOL @ the grand pickin wahala. Me sef, I dey pray make my Mama no raise the issue some day soon!


  3. oh so dem use 404 fanbelt beat you too….omo you go stubborn
    nice one as usual….
    wishing ur mum a happy birthday too…
    oya work faster on the grandchild project


  4. Wow! This was a great read for real..
    Your mother sounds like a very elegant, caring, smart and strong woman. She sounds like a WONDERFUL mother. No mother is perfect, but by everything you said here she just sounds great. Parts reminds me of my own mother. What better lessons could she have taught you?
    Who you are today is a living testimony to her success. You may be humble and not see how great you are, and I don't know you, but frmo the little I have read I know you have amazing qualities many people would look their whole lifetime for.
    Reading this really gave me some motherhood tips..
    And really, as Nolimit said, i know it might be "emberrasing" but you really should give this to her as a letter or something. Carpe diem. You never know how long you will have her and your loved ones are always better off knowing how you feel about them.
    Happy B-day to your mom I think she deserves celebrating.


  5. Happy birthday to DB's mum.
    Loved the 'PS'…I think now that she's already got one, you're off the hook (for now). If you were theonly child, then dude, you'd have been in for it


  6. lol about the 404 fan belt
    Happy birthday to your mum. I'm sure even if she won't get to read this, she wishes she could. This is deep


  7. Awww, and u say u aint mushy:) Happy birthday to her, hope she has a blessed one. every mother's different in d way she raises/disciplines her kids, but in d end we look back with satisfied smiles saying our mothers are the best. God bless mothers..


  8. Happy birthday mommy RustGeek, may ur children continue to put smiles on ur face (amen

    btw: send my cake to the rite address o:-)


  9. Happy Birthday Mom!!!! I pray the Lord God almighty continues to bless her and those around her. I'll do a grand child dance for her so you can find some1 to tango with 😉 lol.



  10. I loved reading this…i could almost feel the words. You should have her read it. Hand-write it an mail it to her 🙂

    lol@ mushy crap and extra degrees not being your portion…

    Happy Birthday to Mama RustGeek…she will have many more IJN!


  11. Happy Birthday to your Mum!

    I'm thinking you might send this to her as a letter/email. That's if you really want her to read it.

    P.s u aren't off the hook because of your kid sister so don't be fooled..LOL

    Your mom sounds very inspiring!


  12. It shows in your elegant and intelligent way of word construction that your Mum got an A1 in bringing you up and more so in realising that fact. I would really hope to have a chat with you sometime. I believe there are some things we could throw at each other that would open up some things.

    You are one intelligent bloke and I mean it.

    A happy birthday to the Mum of a proud son.


  13. Oh my! This is lovely (the humour and the sweet words). I hail your mom. Please extend my best wishes to her and should she bring up the discussion, tell her that she will have enough grandchildren in due time. It is established.


  14. Hey thanks peeps…. I just didn't want to besmirch your lovely comments with mine by replying individually! Perhaps I shall include your comments in the email to her..Hmm…… Thinking about it! LOL


  15. This was beautiful. Your mom sounds like a woman that many of us would aspire to be like. I remember reading your comment on funms blog I think regarding her academic achievements and I was blown away. She is truly special and favoured.

    May you and your siblings' lives continue to be testimonies of the work she and your father did in rearing you.

    Happy birthday, Mama DB!


  16. That was pretty amazing. I felt thankful to your mom after reading that and all I know is what you write on your blog…we all (hopefully) appreciate and respect our mothers and…this has left me speechless (or maybe just not anything worth saying)


  17. Nice post for your mum… is it true that one can know how a man will treat his woman from how he relates with his mother… lucky future Mrs. RustGeek!


  18. Awwww, DB….I LOVED reading this. I don't even know you but going off my perception of you, I can tell that mom did a fantastic job in raising you and I bet, your sibs too. She is one to be admired, for sure!
    And LOL @ the grand child note, let us know if she brought it up. Hahahahahahha.


  19. Love this letter…Me too I want to be a mommy so my son can write me nice letters like this! Alas, I have a long way to go before then…Or maybe not 'alas' maybe that's a good thing….

    Your mother sounds absolutely wonderful and I'm sure she's proud of you no matter what you do…Happy birthday to your her 🙂


  20. Love this letter…Me too I want to be a mommy so my son can write me nice letters like this! Alas, I have a long way to go before then…Or maybe not 'alas' maybe that's a good thing….

    Your mother sounds absolutely wonderful and I'm sure she's proud of you no matter what you do…Happy birthday to her 🙂


  21. WOW! this is so touching…especially as it comes from a guy. Most of us don't appreciate those whom we love till they are no more…please make sure this blog entry reaches her o so she knows how much she REALLY means to

    Anyhoo, the way you ended is was really funny…."I’m still working on the grand child angle……kindly do not bring it up when I call you later….. Thanks for understanding.."




  22. I just know that you will be a fabulous dad and husband (When the woman that God has chosen comes along) You know why? Cos u can always tell how a man will be, by the way he talks about/ treats his mother. It's not cliche, it's a fact. Happy Belated birthday, Mrs. 'RustGeek' 🙂


  23. I know this is veeeery late, but I just had to say a belated happy birthday to Mama RustGeek…hope she had a fun day and was surrounded by all her loved ones (plus u over the phone…)


  24. Awwww….beautiful…your Mommy echoes many of ours from this era…Bring back old time Motherhood!
    God bless your family,


  25. I resemble that comment! Great to meet you too! I'm following you, but I'm brand new so not quite sure how all that works, but I'll figure it all out eventually. God bless 🙂


  26. This is so touching, I am inspired to be a good mum with what u've written. Please tell me u showed her this letter. She so deserves it even if for the tears of joy she'll shed. Happy Birthday to her and congrats to u for having her


  27. even though you're not mushy… this is mushy in *your* way… and it's wonderful… I think that one day you should print it out and send it to her. You dont know the effect this would have on her…
    We thank God for wonderful God-fearing mothers.. they are truly gems in this world!


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