Dear Mama- Thuku Muthui


When I committed to being a contributor to this Journal, I thought all will be easy and kick-ass stories will always be floating nearby all the time. After all, isn’t reading the main ingredient of writing? I thought. I welcomed the opportunity, did articles and saved them, my thoughts were a reality for a while. Then a dip in form came by. It was just a passing cloud, a migraine after a weekend of binging. Two weeks passed, deadline day was approaching still no idea was developing. Just then, I realized what was wearing me down- inadequate focus of purpose. It wasn’t just eating into my creativity but also some key aspects of life. Commitment, especially with the younger generation has been a virtue we fail to uphold. So as we celebrate our superheroes this month I wish to acknowledge the most committed person I know. She earns the right to be my everyday superhero.

We all don’t know how she did it but it was always done. Meticulously. She knew and knows everything. She is angry and happy at the same time. If she were a drink, I bet she would be a rare subtly matured scotch taken on the rocks. She would burn and soothe as she rolls down the throat. She is fearless, yet we all want to protect her because we are selfish. We want our breakfast ready on time and healthy. We think she has a responsibility of receiving our calls when we are down and a right not to call us when we are on that rendezvous at the Coast. All in all, she is our superhero as she does supernatural stuff, all for our good.

Mama is my all-time superhero because unlike my other alleged superheroes from movies, the West or the East, big names from Africa and household names in business and inventions, she is not a fable. This is so, because what we read or watch of the iconic characters is another person’s opinion. Mama is my superhero because as she writes her story, I read it. She makes mistakes but how she rises from them leaves me amused. A heroine because she is a story with two sides. Failure and success. She is the only superhero who talks to me, sees me and knows me.

Son, no matter how good you are in English and Biology a good grade in Mathematics will be equally important.” She told me in my third year of high school; that statement lives on to today when I am struggling to strike a balance in life. I may be doing well academically and physically but if my spiritual welfare is in dire need I will still have a struggle to win over.

Mama has a small garden where she grows her vegetables and not a moment have I seen it out of shape, not even when the scorching sun, the biting frost or the storm come by. She protects it, waters it, tends to it or in a single statement, she pours all her soul into it. The times I become complacent with what I have done, I just remember the small garden and wield all my power to do the best.

A traditional Christmas is quality time spent with family. Christmas is round the corner and I look forward to a Christmas with my superhero, she will be at her best trying to impress us with her cooking skills. I have to swear that waiting on her cockerel to cook is an intriguing experience. It cooks on low heat, and has to turn golden, and the meat to fall off the bone by itself. Do you smell four hours of waiting? This inspires patience, that is what we, the youth, the millennials really lack. Dare you make a mistake and check if the chicken is ready, before the third hour, you receive a mind lecture that could ruin your Christmas.

Most of our other superheroes are soft on us, pampering us with TLC but with Mama we go hard. Her recoil to bad behaviour is equal to the force. She has words that she brandishes like a sword. I, being a huge fan of Epic movies know that once a sword is drawn blood has to be shed. Her swords and daggers include words and phrases like, ‘Honestly’, ‘do you think that was right? Do you‘, and others brought out in the heat of the argument.

I look to the past and realize that she was hard on us in good faith that we would grow up properly in a rather disappointing and unfair world. She made it possible for us to survive public high schools back when ‘monolization’ was real; college when strikes brought the whole city to a standstill. Her incessant advice and prayers open possibilities for us. Mama’s idea of saving the world for us was not by being around us all time, coming to our rescue at our point of need like superman. She invested in our personality, our mindset and nurtured value in us that enables us to control our destiny.

She also conferred a quality control system, a standard I apply in life. If my superhero will not approve my conduct, then it is not worth it.

The two virtues that have rubbed off on me are commitment and patience. The two complement each other, if one is committed to a course, they can only be patient with it. In this millennium, delayed gratification sounds like a mammoth. We have instant coffee, microwaves, business incubation services and dating sites. The raw experience of waiting plus the beauty of struggle goes unfelt, like eating a chocolate ice cream way too fast.


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