My favorite part of me is the bits of my Mother that she poured into me, the ones she left without realising, the responses and attitudes, reflexes of her being.
Her trademark smile and kindness, her giving spirit, her laugh. Since I was able to process other people’s words and internalise them, my favorite remark has been “You are/look/smile/act/speak just like Your mother”. My mother. Her Paco Rabanne® Ultra-violet spray on her neck on sunny Sunday mornings, her perfect pancakes on Saturdays, her trips around the globe, the knowledge and prowess that she glowed with. Her simplicity.
My favorite part of me is the fashion-forwardness that she passed down with every shirt and shoe she bought me. The humble and kind aura built around me, the heart-on-my-sleeve way that I express myself. The modesty she flaunted with an ease that made me envious. I would ask why, with her knowledge and ability, she did not have fancy things or a more outward and expressive personality: she’d answer with her dimple-smile and a chuckle. I was infuriated. Then I sat once, and observed, how without trying, people leaned towards her. She said little but spoke volumes and people looked upon her like they would an exquisite art piece that grew in beauty the longer one beheld it. I didn’t understand. And then I did. She was so full of love that the human nature driven by love found comfort around her. Around her build-up laugh, around her expressive face, around her adorable soft hands and her quiet confidence. Around the way she danced to songs at the fruit section of the Super Market, around how hard she worked even if it was at a simple task, around her shoulder-length hair and her teenie-weenie afro, around her being.
My favorite parts of my Mother are the parts that she doesn’t know I love. Her values in education and God. Her love for earthy colors and simple style. Her playlist of super-chill, soul lifting tunes. Her half-bent pinkie finger which trademarks us. Bits of her Mother that she doesn’t realise she carries. Traits of her Father too. Phrases from her siblings and cronies. Jokes from the eighties and nineties and, nowadays, the 2000s. Clap-backs that stump all four of her brilliant children. The pride she introduces her Family with, the joy that lights her up whenever she speaks of our God.
I used to be embarrassed of my Mother’s tears; I thought they showed sadness or unhappiness. Even when she cried during worship: handkerchief up in the air, praise pouring from her lips, I felt a sad tug in me. Then she passed this on to me too. And I found my eyes brimming and leaking every time something great happened. Be it a sad or a joyous occasion. When my siblings accomplished anything, when my best friends level up, during worship with my hands in the air, when laughing. My tears, my expression of emotion that I cannot put into words, this too, this is one of my favorite parts of me, my Mother, my Aunts, my Cousins, my Uncles, my siblings, me. From Emmanuella: Paco Rabanne® Ultra-violet spray on her neck, perfect pancakes, work trips to every continent, the knowledge and prowess that she glows with. Simplicity.
All the pieces of my Mother, the responses, attitudes and reflexes of her being. We cherish these.
-When in Rome.