This Mother’s Day, I want to do things a little differently. I want to tell you why my mom doesn’t deserve my love.
My mom didn’t spend enough time with my sister and I growing up. There was a period of time when she never picked us up from school. We were in Ghana, so there were no school busses for those wondering. Instead, she hired multiple cab drivers to pick my sister and me up from school everyday. Most of the cab drivers were too busy making money, so they would often forget about my sister and me and leave us waiting for hours at school.
Eventually, my mom started picking us up from school, but even then, there was a day I vividly remember. School let out at 4 p.m. as usual, and parents usually pick up their kids by 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. at the latest. On this day, my sister and I waited for my mom for hours. We waited and waited, and we had no clue if she had just forgotten about us or if something had happened to her. This was before cell phones, so we couldn’t have called her. It was 6 p.m., then 7 p.m. There was no sign of her. It was just my sister and I waiting in the parking lot. As it got dark, I started crying, and then she started crying. Eventually a Good Samaritan passing by saw us and took us home.
During the week, we had very few opportunities to spend time with mom after school. We had a maid at home who cooked us dinner and I guess spent time with us.
When I was in the third grade, I hurt my right leg and developed a bone infection called Osteomyelitis. I was hospitalized for six months. I spent some nights alone in the hospital ward while other kids had their families around. I had three surgeries on the same leg. I remember my bed being in a location of the ward where the roof had some damage, so whenever it rained, the water would slowly drip in my area. I remember a rainy night when my mom wasn’t around, and the nurses couldn’t have cared less to move by bed. The entire 6 months in the hospital was one of the worst times of my life but nights when my mom wasn’t by my side were the most difficult.
If I ended this blog post here, you all would think I was describing a mom who didn’t have enough time for her children. You would think I had some animosity towards my mom. The fact of the matter is I didn’t give you the entire contexts of the incidents I described above.
First of all, my dad was in America trying to get us here eventually, but it took a long time. In fact, what I didn’t tell you was every incident I described above was during the 6 to 10 year period when my mom had to take care of my sister and me in Ghana without my dad because he was in the United States working hard to eventually get us here. Even though my dad was still very supportive and supported the family financially, my mom had to play the part of a single parent for a significant period of time.
Remember when I said my mom never picked my sister and me from school but rather hired incompetent cab drivers? Well, what I didn’t tell you was that she was in law school at the time while working and trying to take care of two kids by herself. She was superwoman, but let’s be real, she couldn’t be at multiple places at the same time. She probably had class when we needed to be picked up from school, so her only choice was to pay a cab driver to pick her children up and hope we weren’t kidnapped or in a cab with a drunk driver. She just had to lean on her faith and believe that God would protect us all.
Remember when I said my mom finally started picking us up from school but forgot about my sister and me on one occasion? And you recall me saying a Good Samaritan gave my sister and me a ride home at 8 p.m. when we were all alone in a dark parking lot at school? Well, what I didn’t tell you was that my mom was actually in another region of the country at a conference she was responsible for. She was at a conference she had to organize for the judicial system and was hoping she could leave and come pick us up on time. She was rushing to pick us up. So while my sister and I were sitting alone in the dark waiting for mom, she was risking her life rushing to pick us up because she had to do by herself. She could never forget about us, and I can guarantee that she probably dropped everything she had to do and sped back to Accra to pick us up. She made it to the school seconds after the Good Samaritan had given us a ride home.
Remember when I said my sister and I didn’t see our mom much during weeknights? Well, what I didn’t tell you was she was either in law school, working late, at a conference she was responsible for or serving the church. Yes, even when she was alone and had a lot on her plate, she still went to church every Sunday, went to prayer meetings during the week, hosted Bible study at our house and served the church and served God like no other. I don’t know how she did it. God blessed her for her faithfulness and continues to bless her today. What an amazing woman. Even with her busy schedule, she still made sure we made it home from school, had a home-cooked meal every night, did our homework and spent time with us when she could. She put God first even with her incredibly busy schedule. I vividly remember my mom waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. every morning to pray. She still does that today no matter how much sleep she got the previous night.
Oh, I’m not finished. Remember when I said I was in the hospital for 6 months with the bone infection? Well, what I didn’t tell you was my mom actually spent more nights SITTING in a chair next to my bed than she spent in a bed at home. I just explained how busy my mom was right? Well, now add sleepless nights and a son who was always sick to the equation. My mom would spend the night next to me in the hospital, go to work, go to church, take care of my sister at home and come back to the hospital. FOR 6 MONTHS! The nights my mom wasn’t at the hospital meant she was at a law conference she was responsible for planning or at an event she for sure couldn’t miss. The night it rained and my mom wasn’t by my side, she knew that the nurses probably wouldn’t care much about moving my bed, so my mom actually told me many years later that she spent that entire night crying because she knew I was alone with a leaking ceiling above me. She would have rushed through the storm to come to the hospital is she could, and I know that. I honestly don’t think I would have a right leg today if it wasn’t for the time, money, prayer and care my mom gave me. I could never ever repay her enough for what she did for me. She went through hell, she fought nurses, and she sat in the waiting room through all three of my surgeries just praying till I got out. I don’t think I ever saw my mom eat, sleep or get angry during those six months I was in the hospital. But I definitely saw her cry, pray and always next to me when I woke up in pain.
On this Mother’s Day, I have two messages I want to you to share.
The first one is to say thank you to the most amazing mother in the world. Her Lordship, Mrs. Patience Mills-Tetteh. A God-fearing woman who did it all by herself. With all the tests and the trials she went through, she overcame and is now a living testimony of a woman who trusted God, raised her children very well, took care of a son with Sickle Cell Anemia and accomplished her dreams of becoming a lawyer and a judge. I love her so much, and nothing I can do or say could ever repay her for what she has done and continues to do for me. The reason this blog is titled “My Mom Doesn’t Deserve My Love” is because she actually deserves more than just my love. She deserves my entire life. If I had to give up my life for my mom, I would in a heartbeat. I was also hoping the title would get you to read the blog, so I guess it worked.
My second message is this: Don’t allow a day to pass you by without appreciating your mother. Ever so often, I hear people talk about what mom didn’t do, or how she didn’t give them the childhood they wanted or how their mom wronged them in some form or fashion. But my first response to someone who has some animosity towards his or her mother is usually to ask what was going on with mom at the time. See, we all hold mothers to such high expectations that we expect them to be perfect. We forget that their only human, and sometimes they go through things for us that we have no idea about.
Never ever diminish the job your mom did to care for you (if she did). A lot of mothers go through so much behind the scenes but yet they never complain or ask for help. They just do what they need to do to give their children a better life than they had.
I could have chosen to describe the times my mom wasn’t able to do it all without giving you the entire context of what was going on behind the scenes. The fact is that we can all pick and choose what part of our stories we want to tell. Your mom might not have been able to do everything for you or given you the best life, but do you know what she went through for you? Just because you don’t know what she went through doesn’t mean she didn’t.
A mom’s love is like God’s love. Sometimes we go through tough times and question why God has forsaken us. We get angry and forget all the times when God has been there and what He has done for us. Yes, even though He gives us tests and puts us through situations we don’t understand, we have to remember that He is working behind the scenes to prepare a huge blessing for us. He will never put us through anything we can’t handle. Even though we hurt God, He never stops loving us. This is exactly how I describe a mother’s love. Sometimes she can’t do it all, but behind the scenes you have no idea what she has given up to provide for you. You can hurt your mom many times, but she never stops loving you. If you’re reading this and you are holding on to the times your mother couldn’t do it all for you, I want to encourage you to focus on the good times. Your mom may not be perfect, but she did something right if you’re still alive today. So my message to you is to appreciate your mother. Love her while you still can and be there for her. Love her for the little things. The things she does but never complains. The things you expect from her without any acknowledgement.
If you choose to only remember the times your mother couldn’t be superwoman, then you’re missing the point.
And for those of you who might truly have a genuine reason why you do not have a good relationship with your mother, I encourage you to forgive her and pray for her. Like I said, you never know what she was/is going through behind the scenes.
This Mother’s Day, I encourage you to say thank you to your mom and remember the little things she did for you that we all take for granted. Don’t pick and choose what you want to remember. Put everything in context.
Thank you mama Pat for all you have done and continue to do for me. I love you, mom! I dedicate this blog post to you! I wish I could be in Ghana to take to out on a nice lunch or dinner date, but remember that I pray for you everyday, and I thank God for making you my mother.
You deserve more than just my love. I owe everything I have to God and you!