My mother is a soothsayer of some sort. Her words are so naturally laced with adages and idioms, each relaying a tale bitter or sweet, with hope that I would heed her words. Years and years have passed but her words have lingered through the different phases of my life, each proverb carrying more relevance given the circumstances endured. At a younger age I would nod as she spoke all in a false attempt to play the attentive child I barely was. That’s not to say I never heard with she said. She had said them too many times before! My ears were just more likely to itch for the latest gist from my similar-minded peers. My mother still repeats her favorite lines but I no longer experience the now-ancient inertia I felt back then because she was right all along.
“Enkay, treat yourself like royalty……If you don’t know no body else will”.
Come on, she even said that when I used a preferred chipped plate to serve my meals! It was an old dish, I know. But she didn’t want me using it even though I oozed of contentment. She wanted me to cultivate the habit of treating myself like a princess even in such supposedly minute details because, when it comes down to it, people consciously or unconsciously approach you based on the way they view you treating yourself. I probably replied, “Mummy, it is just a plate!” while nursing inaudible ramblings.
“This friend you are always going to visit, I have never seen her here o”, my mother would say. “Don’t keep visiting friends or people who do not return your visits”, she’d continue, vehemently waving her index finger at me. This particular saying always made me uncomfortable because I always assumed Taibat would surely visit me soon, at least before the holidays were over. Over seven years of ‘friendship’ and Taibat couldn’t even tell you the color of my roof. My mum was right. Again.
Around Mothering Sunday, I asked some friends to share their mothers’ favorite quotes, those wise lyrics we heard so often, some of which were all too predictable we sometimes took their depth for granted.
Here are their mothers’ lines:
Toyosi: Funny my mum also said the same on visiting friends. She also says you can become ANYTHING you want to be. But whatever you choose to do, be the best at it.
Jamila: My mother always says what an elder foresees the youth cannot even if they are on top of the highest mountain!
Yetunde: Well my mama always said “Ranti omo enti e wo se”. Translation: Remember the child of who you are wherever you go at all times. That’s what kept us in line.
Christie: My mother always said….you better listen to me!
Bomi: My mom said a lot of wise things, lots and lots…but to be honest the first that comes to mind, what she used to say repeatedly was “Keep Yourself Pure”!!! She said it all the time…lol! (enkay: Check out her fabulous website www.jollynotes.com for a sure dose of laughter and knowledge for inspirational living)
Wande: “Owuro lojo”. That literally means ‘the morning is the day’. Do what you need to do early in the morning or at least on time so you can get quite a lot accomplished for the day.
Buchi: Hard work never kills (enkay: my mum said that too *wink*)
Ray: My mum always told herself out loud, “Everyday and every way, I’m getting better and better” Another was “Never wish away a day because you’ll never get it back”. Oh she also said “Always wear clean underwear because you never know when you’ll get hit by a car”.
Always celebrate those sayings, both the comical and the potent. Share the wisdom with others. I tell you, they make for good entertainment. My siblings and I have nearly made it a habit re-enacting scenes of our parents saying their lines. Each session yields lots of laughter, either parent beaming on the side if present. I can’t recall how many sentences my dad started with, “My father/mother used to say……” It gets funnier hearing them but sometimes I hear one that I haven’t recalled in a long time and I’d think to myself, “I used to know that one”. If I kept it close to my heart maybe I would not have …………
Hopefully amidst the shrugs, pouts and frowns of yester-years we can claim to be older, wiser and proudly refined by our parents’ consistency. Some parents have passed on –bless their dear souls-, others were not even our biological parents but they held just as much significance in our upbringing. One day you and I will become those clanging cymbals, throbbing verbal beats, warnings of caution to our children. Some of you already sound just like your mamas and papas! I pray that at each step of the way our children make life decisions that show they not only heard but listened to us.
Do share your mother or father’s favorite quotes with us!
Photo credit: www.marleneoneill.com/miscpictures.html