Sorry Mum - Ethiopis Tadesse

All through my girlhood, becoming like my mother was one of my worst fears. Yes, I know how harsh that sounds. Although I grew up with friends who absolutely adored their mothers, I could never do the same; she was an enigma to me and the emotions I felt towards her were a mixture of hate, anger and confusion. Please understand that I do not use these words lightly. 

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, the true reflection of hidden feelings. As a child, I remember that my mother avoided eye contact with me as best she could. I have no memory of her kissing me or embracing me in her arms. Even her smile was a rare, cherished spectacle. I remember that most of our conversations consisted of her warning me not to do one thing or the other and me cursing her under my breath.  I wouldn’t consider myself as having been a rebellious child, but I did have my moments; and whenever I acted out , my mother made sure I felt the consequences of my action, and then some. There were days where she would lock me out of the house and I had to sneak in and hide from her till morning, always using my father as a shield. And then there were those days when I had to serve as her punching bag. I was a small, skinny and severely insecure girl. I grew up scarred and misdirected in many ways, drawing false pity from my peers. 

My mother had a solid faith. Every morning and night, I watched her pray for hours; thanking and praising God for every meal and glass of water, attributing every good grade and school achievement to God’s grace, exalting Him for the safety and security of every member of our family... If there was anything that my mother forgot to cover, I'm sure God knows that in her heart she’s praising him even for the strands of hair that grew on our heads. On the other hand, I was not a true believer.  She had beat me on that front. If ever I felt the urge to pray, all my prayer was for my father; whenever my mother was mentioned, it was in the context of ‘God, why don’t you tell her to leave me the heck alone?’ Yup that’s how I used to talk to God. 

It is only now that I understand my mother for who she always was. I see that she is the strongest person alive.  She knew the Lord but she did not know how to physically express her love.  How could she when she had received that love from neither father nor mother, not even from her husband, my father. How could she smile when she was being betrayed and constantly ridiculed by those she held most dear to her? While she was on the brink of giving up and had a million things running through her mind, she had no other option but to put up with a difficult child. She could feel her children slipping away from her. All her walls were crumbling around her.  She was scared, angry and frustrated. She needed support but had no one to give it to her. 

But God’s timing is always perfect. She survived her worst nightmares. Through it all, praise to the Lord never left her lips. Even when her children could not see or feel her struggle, she remained true, never losing faith that one day we would grow up and understand her pain. And of course God did not fail her. She saw the glory of God in her days. I thank God for that. I thank Him that today, He has opened my eyes to see into my mother’s life. I curse the days when I was too young and naïve to see the truth. I could never quantify or repay what she has sacrificed for us. If I am half as strong as she was, I would consider myself lucky. I admire her.  I admire above all, her unwavering relationship with God despite the chaos in her home.  I am forever thankful to be a witness of God’s splendor. Becoming like my mother might have been one of my worst fears but it has now become one of my life’s missions.