Mama would talk and tell a story of her childhood and young adult experiences whenever me and my brothers would impose some inconveniences around the house and how to get those around and settle all other sort of stuff. Her storytelling part is both entertaining and rich with life lessons based on her first hand experiences. I imagine that shared moment with her being parental and just taking the time to hear us out. Her tone changes to soft and caring. Subtle joys and smiles can be felt too as she continues to speak. She doesn’t animate much. She just speaks on and on and it affects me.
This lengthy story rich conversation often happens when we are caught in the middle of the dining table, almost finished with our dinners, about to step out to bring our dishes to the sink and then, bam, blackout!
Without TV and computer to wane our frustration over the blackout, we would huddle ourselves into our small living area and continue to talk about anything. Mama would then get her storytelling from where she has left off or if there’s one thing that catches her while the rest of us talk she’ll make sure to complement that. Expect for sure now that she’ll inject another line of wisdom and thoughtful rich speech about life in general.
She often tells how tough it was while she’s growing up. Having a father that’s a farmer and a mother that’s an entrepreneur in her own right raising all seven of them was really a challenge. Being the eldest child she became her mother’s handmaiden when it comes to household chores, babysitting her younger siblings and even going to the town’s market to sell some of the produce from the farm. She recounts how she would wake up early in the morning and walk taking the dirty clothes to a nearby stream to be laundered before going to school that same morning.
These snippets of life experiences that Mama would impart on us is a testament that she dreamed of a quality, more so a convenient life for us compared to her. She pointed that on why she really worked her way to finish college even while working. She sacrificed being away from family to render services at a household of her aunt. Sending herself to college was the only way she sees to help her parents and siblings get by and improve their living condition if she graduates with a degree. Soon enough, she became a teacher.
My heart goes to you, Mama. You’re such a toughie. Happy Birthday! I love you very much.