Okay, I’m back to “regular” programming.

Between being in Abuja early to see family, followed by wedding duties for #PG16, and then coming back and stressing over my visa interview, there was no way I was going to write anything on here. But all that’s done. The wedding was AWESOME: my homeboy Rho became Smeagol and got his Precious; while I discharged my best man duties to the best of my abilities. And I got my visa renewal approved. To God be the glory.

I was really looking forward to this trip for four major reasons: seeing my mother after 18 months (I know that’s not long, but still); meeting my first nephew; helping one of my best friends get married off; and renewing my visa. I can’t rank them in order, but each one was very dear to my heart.

My relationship with my mother is one that changed as I have changed. As a child I was closer to her than I was to my dad. This continued when I was made to “forego” my summer holiday to go work in my dad’s art making company as an 8 year old as punishment for doing something stupid (I’ve done a LOT of stupid things in my life). Basically as a kid, I felt my mum was more approachable and more compassionate. My childish brain translated this to mean she loved me more than my dad did.

As a teenager, I became more aware of myself as a person, and more analytical and critical of other people. At this stage of my life, I had stopped resenting my dad for making me lose all my holidays to working in his company. Our relationship had become one where I not only worked for him, but worked with him. All these made me more aware of both my parents’ strengths and weaknesses. As a result, my “know-it-all” teenage brain lost most of the awe I had for both of them; more so for my mum than for my dad.

As a young adult, I appreciated her love and concern – coming home to  “Femi ki lo ma je? (Yoruba for “Femi what do you want to eat?”) was lit!!!. But in many regards I perceived her concern as being a different shade of the “restriction” that I felt I experienced from my dad. I mean, I loved them both a lot, and I knew they both loved me, but I basically needed to be freed from their “constant supervision” to live my life. I was of the opinion that if they trusted in their ability to raise me, then they should trust that I received the proper “home training”. To put it succinctly, “I love you, but free me!”

And then I went to grad school and I was happy to finally be free. And just before my first semester exams my father passed away. All of a sudden things changed. A lot! My concern for my mother and how she would take this loss was paramount. But she surprised me, because from the day he died till this very moment I stay pushing these keys I’m once again in awe of my mother. See, I recognize her faults, I realize she’s just as human as the next person, but the kind of inner strength she showed us all has been incredible. While I know her faith played a strong role in this, just as it did for me, that knowledge hasn’t stopped me from appreciating how much mental, emotional and physical strength is packed in her petite body. I have learnt to see the love and concern in her proclivity for worry, and also learnt how to navigate through those tendencies in my communications with her; especially when I have issues bothering me.

So today, I’m thankful for my mama; for all her love, prayers, encouragement, discipline, compassion and strength over all these years. I would not be the man I am today without her. I love you mama!!!