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Being a Mother

I am missing my mum. When I told her that, she gave a wan smile and was silent. I knew why she smiled , both of us understood that, you see, we had not started really talking properly to each other until a few years back. We only had angry whispering conversations before . Both of us were confused then, it took her a long time before she could tell me about being jealous of me.
I was shocked when I learnt that one could be jealous about one’s own child. I was close to my dad. She accepted it as a natural thing and was even happy about it for me, but we left her out of the circle. She had left my father when she could no longer come to terms with her pain. When we finally talked about it, I understood the meaning of jealousy. I had felt left out sometimes too by my own children when they will discuss me, make their own plans and rarely considered putting me in the picture.
I used to fantasize being able to tell Dr. Phil if he has ever wondered about women like me who live in a completely different world. I mean for people like him we might as well live on Mars. Hey, might be a good idea for a study.
I am from a village you have never heard of before, if someone dropped you there, you would be well and truly lost. I have this awful habit of just wandering around in my head. Quite a lot of space and rooms. You know some doors are shut tight, I know what is behind some of the shut doors but it is not the day to talk about them. Okay before you give up on me altogether, I was telling you about me missing mum. Thank heavens I still remember. I have been known to carry on a conversation and never really finish it. It used to irritate my husband no end. He says while what I am saying might make sense when and if I finally get round to finishing it…okay alright, no need for you to sigh. What was I saying? Yeah, me missing my mum. I said it before, why did I miss her? ..Oh okay, might have to pause for a nanosecond…
We were talking you know and she said something about being jealous of me hmmm..me and dad right? Okay got it.
Can you be jealous of your child? Feel left out in a closed out relationship? I go through that you know. First was the extreme happiness of looking at those tiny fingers, making a silent vow to be everything to the child. You dream, you ache and your heart lifts when the child calls you ‘mama’. Those first steps, the first fall, first day at school and your dreams balloon out of shape as your heart feels too small to contain all your excitement and you whisper your love for your child softly to yourself. It is bigger than having a secret love affair. “this is my baby” you tell yourself and you feel you just owned the planet. You are a mother now.
It is not important if your husband is thinking of a second wife or in my mother’s case they were already two other women sharing him with her. Those nights when he gave you his wicked smile and asks you to share his bed, you must hold your breath and release it slowly so as not to show you are excited. Feels indecent for village women to show they can enjoy lovemaking.
In the tradition, you are expected to be cool, calm and reticent when your husband reaches for you or else you are suspected of being flirty and thus not to be trusted. Stay quiet under him and should you feel like exploding, sigh and turn your face to the side. Who ever heard of a village woman having an orgasm?. That word never existed, good girls don’t show their feelings. I stared and groaned, “mother, please, you mean you felt love for my dad”? I asked her shocked and suddenly irritated. I stared at her wonderingly, suddenly feeling guilty as well. I am a product of my village too.
Did she feel jealous of me as a mate, I mean as co-wife? My thoughts were riotous, could you be jealous of your own child? I was about to say no, when I remembered my reactions to my own children each time they came home on holidays and showed preference to stay with their older sister. My sudden sense of being alone, feeling used and dumped. I remember my eldest daughter’s confusion and pain as she wondered if she was doing something wrong. I understood , when we are asked to share what we never owned. We could not possess the child, it was right to love, it is however greater to let the child go when it is time to for the child to fly out of the nest.
So I gave my mum a real prayer of love and gently unknotted one more thread and strengthened my prayer for her. Her smile brightened and I felt the glow from the door in my mind as I closed it gently, our conversation today at an end. Mother passed fifteen years ago.

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Comments on: "Being a Mother" (2)

  1. Thoughtful piece, Mother. Love, by its very nature, it seems to me, is possessive. I’ve found, too, that I want my friend(s) to the exclusion of others. And while there is perhaps a higher level of love, that wilfully allow the love object to fly as it wishes without any feeling of, if not revulsion, reticence; I’m yet convinced that our obsession over the people we love is a respectable mark of true interest and love. That said, one should respect the liberty of the loved to love another, and to sometimes not requite the love.

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    • Thanks for your comment. Motherhood is a natural first instinctive love for all female species. Each child is not arbitrary and is a gift to the right mother. Possessiveness does not serve,but a natural feeling comes in when you are to assume a different relationship with the child. Every human being hopes to have love requited.

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