This month is the beginning of my 2016 reflection (how cringe does that sound already) and I was thinking about how far i have come in terms of my relationship with my family this year. And in listing all the things that I am grateful for, i couldn’t not think about my mum. I have tried to avoid writing about this because I have this notion where 1) i’m not moist and hate being overly emotional (badman ah we dat) and 2) Family is the relationship we live in but rarely talk about. But i kid you not, when I am compelled to write about things, a lot of random sentences that relate to that thing form in my head and i just have to let it out.
I am like the opposite to my mum in some aspects; I’m overly assertive, expressive and impatient. She’s like super patient gentle and observant. I speak my mind whenever I feel like it, my mum always knows the right time to get a message across. I can barely hold back when i’m pissed off, and my mum knows how to bite her tongue. We share the same name, her name is Temi-Tope, we call her Tops for short. Her name means, what God has done, is enough to give thanks; and that is literally the epitome of her being. My mum is just enough of everything which is refreshing, shes super funny like tears rolling down your face crouched over funny (although I wish that she’d understand that people aren’t laughing at her but more her wit). Sometimes when shes being unbearably funny, I have to snap-chat her because we all need to laugh at her antics. We can giggle for days.
We look like sisters AND I always get told this. “Is that your big sister?!” – no its my mum. Shes super pretty and I will insert a picture somewhere to prove it. So much so that on my graduation day instead of people congratulating me, people were telling me that my mum is “peng” (means overly attractive). She is just like my sister, she has the widest smile ever and she always smiles for the both of us. Her teeth are nearly perfectly aligned a stark contrast to my mix and match set. She says that the secret to her youthfulness is not eating the food that I eat (rolls eyes) and the joy of the Lord. She’s right about the joy. I have never met anyone as patient and content as her. And although I am the loud and blunt one out of the two of us. I wish that I had her patience.
Sometimes I feel like her big sister, but she has taught me that you are never too old or two wise to receive advice or encouragement. My mum comes to all my events, and leaves so visibly inspired and proud and I love her for believing in my dreams. Its almost as though she lives vicariously through me because she isn’t a risk taker. My mum doesn’t like risks she can encourage you to chase your dreams but she won’t encourage herself to chase her own. This has been frustrating for me because if you know me you’d know that i count self confidence, risk and belief as attributes that should be innate in everyone. So sometimes I do snap at her for not taking a risk or applying for a job but she has taught me how to genuinely uplift people – its not everyone that you can snap at and expect to see results. You need to understand the person that you are dealing with. Some people need to see what they are capable of. My mum is a social worker so she works with a lot of vulnerable adults and she loves her job but never took the managerial position that she was more than qualified and experienced for although it has been offered to her 3 times in the past 7 years. She didn’t take it because she was scared of responsibility and being in charge, and although she used us-her three now young adult children- as an excuse (stating that she wouldn’t have time for us although in reality she was already always at work) i knew what the real reason was.
But in all of this she has taught me so much about herself and myself that recently I thought that she needs to be the way she is for me to learn. She applied for a much better role in her field the other month and she got it, in another company and all. In her own time. Because all of us took it upon ourselves to invest time, get her CV done and finally list her 20 years of experience on paper. (Which was the longest and most time consuming 2 days of my summer). All she needed was that little push of support.
Sometimes I assume that my parents should be the most perfect people forgetting that they are human and also have issues or habits that they haven’t dealt with. We forget to give them time because we are too busy taking from them. Forget to genuinely ask whats up because we have build a wall between us under the guise of “parent child relationship”. But like everyone sometimes they just need someone to encourage them and open up to. A friend.
This year I have been working on being a better friend to my mum and not coupling my mum and dad as the same person. Because they are not, in actual fact my parents are complete opposites if you ask me. It’s all well and good graduating and doing my masters but there are other ways to make my mum happy other than gifts and my accomplishments. I feel like shes her most proud of me when I invest time into her or just have a conversation with her where she can express her wildest ideas and hopes to me. A space where she can just be. Working on myself and caring for my self and space doesn’t mean that I should solely focus on myself. Creating a space to love appreciate and accommodate those dear to you is self care also because by understanding and accepting them, you are helping them be a better person towards you also.
This week my mum turns 46 and honestly I wouldn’t wish for a better support system.