It is not easy to write about a mother, the one who gave you life, especially when that mother means so many things to so many people, but I will attempt to do mine justice today in light of Mother’s Day.

Mom is a devout Christian and her faith is her anchor in this life to the point where it has become an anchor in mine as well. Her relationship with God is one that inspires many, myself included, to cultivate theirs. I often seek advice from Mom and somewhere in her reply she always emphasises that one ought to live a Christ-like life, one where you do good because you strive to be good in every moment — doing good as a way of life.

My mother is the embodiment of ubuntu. Ubuntu roughly translates to grace and humanity towards others. Anyone who has ever met my mom can testify that she has a golden heart. She has taught me to choose to love and to stand by that choice. Mom’s love has healing power. When she loves you, she cares, respects, supports, and holds you in good light. She not only respects and cares for people but also for nature. She taught my siblings and me to care for plants and flowers and to preserve the physical places we live in.

Growing up, our house was always full. Siblings, cousins, friends, people from church, you name it. Not that we were so wealthy, but because my mother’s love was always overflowing. Mom is a kind and gentle soul. She taught us that urugo ni urugendwa (a home is one that has company). No matter how many people were in our house at any given time, everyone there felt at home. She created an environment of respect and love for anyone who came under her care.

I love cooking for the people I love and not to brag, I make tasty meals. Food has always been a love language in our household. Mom has a rule that no one should ever leave our house hungry. That meant that we always left a little bit of leftovers for a passenger. It also meant that when we made mistakes, we were first fed before we were punished. I once asked her why she had this firm belief around food and she told me that when she was growing up in the midst of political unrest and insecurities, most people lacked basic needs to survive and make better choices for themselves.

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I am often a trusted confidant for people who barely know me. Most say that I listen without judgment and that I give them sound advice. This is a quality I’ve inherited from my mother. I’ve borne witness to the way she holds others. How she is able to embody care and grace before even opening her mouth. Whoever reaches out to her, be it her family, a colleague, or the gardener, she makes time for them. It doesn’t matter if she has to be on the phone at home only uttering “I hear you, my dear,” encouraging the speaker to unload their heart. One of my favourite things about her is her ever-radiant smile.

Mom is no angel, I must warn you. And like any mother and daughter, mom and I often quarrel like a cat and a dog. We do not always agree on everything. In fact, we often have heated conversations. At no point, regardless of how bad the misunderstanding is, does her love and respect for me vanish. My mother has taught me to fight with love and care. She has taught me that fighting is a language that doesn’t negate the pre-established relationship. She has taught me that building any relationship requires work and it requires showing up even for fights. She has taught me to pause when I have nothing kind to say and to revisit conversations when I can.

On this Mother’s Day, I am reminded yet again of the wonderful woman I was gifted to journey this earth with. As the saying goes the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, I hope that I inherit all your great qualities for Lord knows moms are big feet to fill.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers — teens mothers, single mothers, grieving mothers, disabled mothers, and to those who have lost their mothers.

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