By Lebogang Xolo, a Chemical Engineer, deeply in luv with photography, a damn good wife, but most importantly a blessed mommy of 2. Visit her blog.
This mother’s day brings with it a lot of appreciation, contentment and closure in my life. I can confidently say I have come full circle. My biological mother gave birth to me at the age of 27. For many, that’s mature enough to raise your offspring. Throughout her pregnancy she stayed with her sister – my aunt – who was married and had 4 children. She was single and made a choice to let me be raised by my aunt. So from birth I was raised by my mother’s sister. I can’t pinpoint the exact time I figured out my aunt was not my mother, maybe because I never felt it. My brothers and sisters (cousins) always treated me like family, no discussions. They used to trick me into giving them my food, played a lot of pranks on me, and spoiled me rotten – the usual last born dynamics. My biological mom was always there, but all my siblings referred to her as auntie, and so did I. I remember though how she would spend her last cent on me. Around the age of 8 my mother met a man, got married and they had 2 children. So technically I’m the first born but was raised as the last born.
During my teen years I developed a lot of resentment. A mixture of teenage hormones, and my perfectionist nature made for a disaster: ‘Why was I the only one not raised by her own mom?’ ‘Was I a mistake?’. You know that saying about hurting the ones closest to you – I lived by it. My poor aunt was on the receiving end. I grew up, got married and now have 2 kids of my own. Nothing will humble you more than motherhood. Out of nowhere you develop compassion and this immense love which you can’t even explain. ‘SELFISH’ falls out of the equation and is replaced by gratitude and unconditional giving. Everything stops for your children.
I realized what a skewed perception of my mother I had had. I thought she didn’t love me enough to give me up, but it was actually the contrary. She loved me so much that she put my needs first. She made absolutely sure that I grew up in a stable household, surrounded by people who loved me. I learned what marriage is supposed to be like through my aunt and uncle who were married for 40 years. I was taught to be a strong black independent woman who puts God first. My brothers treated me like royalty and I don’t search for love in all the wrong places. My sisters gave the most non-judgmental unconditional love.
To the mother who gave me life
Thank you for putting me first. You made very hard choices which might have been painful then. Today I stand tall and proudly say that I am who I am because of you. Like Moses from the Bible, I was not abandoned but driven to a higher purpose in life. You gave me a second chance in life.
To the mother who raised me
Thank you for loving me like your own. I gave you such a hard time growing up, I just kept testing you. Not once though did you try to give me back, you never even mentioned this. You referred to me as your baby and that made me feel absolutely loved and that I belonged. Your lessons, I will carry with me through my life. I hope you look at me and feel proud of the woman I have become, because of you.
To the moms who don’t feel appreciated
You feel like you keep on giving and you get nothing in return. Deep down you are appreciated. Most times people don’t know what they have until it’s gone. Just keep giving your best and don’t stop nurturing and showering your children with love. All this will be worth it someday.
To that mom who adopted a child and worries if she did the right thing
The mom who feels that there’s no connection and maybe, just maybe, you are not enough as a mother. Trust me when I say, you are more than enough. There’s more to parenting than blood, there’s love. Be Pharaoh’s daughter, who knew that Moses was a Hebrew, but still rescued him, loved him so much and raised him as her own.