I uploaded a picture of myself on my blackberry profile and my cousin instantly commented on how much I looked like his mum.
To be honest with you, that was like the bestest compliment anyone could have paid me. My aunty Dupe was hot, stunning, tall, graceful, fashionable and a fully domesticated goddess. She cooked, gardened, hosted amazing parties – as far as I was concerned as a child, she was uber amazing and her love for her children was unequivocal. She was just a chilled mum and I loved that about her.
I told my cousin that was the best compliment he could ever pay me. Apart from the fact that she was pretty and elegant, I’ve always had a picture of her in mind when I imagine domesticated bliss. Her way about the kitchen was always an inspiration to me. I proceeded to tell him a little story of how I remembered her.
When I turned thirteen, she gave me a YSL Paris perfume. It was such a huge moment for me. Not only was it not a cheap body spray, it was an expensive perfume. It made me feel so grown up and spoilt.
Sadly, she passed away about six years later and I could never bring myself to throw away that perfume bottle. I kept it constantly on my dresser – empty as it was. When I moved from Lagos to London at twenty-one, I brought it along with me. To which my cousin responded hoarder, in the way one would say L-O-S-E-R. I wasn’t ashamed. I know I have hoarder tendencies but only of things that have sentimental value and parting with this I guess felt like I would be losing the constant reminder of her. I cherished the constant reminder that bottle was of her in my life so I couldn’t throw it away. However, when we moved to Cambridge we got rid of a lot so two and half years ago, I finally parted with it. It was a little bit tough to let go of it but clearly her memories live on in my heart.
She was by no means a saint, in fact she was a real as they come but as a human being, she had a great heart. When my mum was going through a divorce, my aunt was there not just to support her but to make her laugh. She made an unpleasant experience lighter somehow with her infectious laughter. And when she laughed, the whole world knew someone was laughing – right from the depth of her. She would throw her head back, and her shoulders would shake uncontrollably, often accompanied by tears of joy. That’s how I choose to remember her – pretty, elegant, tall, generous, joyful and sublime.
So this post is dedicated to my cousins, her children, and all my friends and a host of people who I’ve never met, whose mums are no longer with us. I hope you remember them today as special. I hope you remember them today as loving. I hope you count yourself blessed to have been birthed by her – faults and all. I hope today is a day to cherish those wonderful memories you have of your mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day.