Mother Dearest

Mother Dearest

Mother Dearest

My Mother’s love and sacrifice is literally the reason that I am who I am today. My Super Mom is none other than Beatrice Okereke. Beatrice was born in a small village in Nigeria, West Africa. She got married at 16, and by the time she was 32, she had eight children! She sacrificed part of her childhood and her entire adult life for me and my five surviving siblings.

Life in Nigeria back when my Mother was raising her family was very hard. Raising six young children on a Methodist Minister’s meager salary (her husband, my father was a Methodist Minister) was an incredible challenge. I recall days, particularly during the Nigeria/Biafra war when we didn’t have enough to eat and when my mother would give up her portion for me and my siblings. Thinking back now, she was in her very early 20s during that war.

Mother never worked outside the home. She was the ultimate homemaker. My Dad was gone a lot and Mother was the glue that held us all together. She farmed, raised chicken, ran little kiosks, and sold snacks and soft drinks out of the house to help support the family. She owned nothing of value for quite a while – no TV, no refrigerator, no jewelry, and no fancy clothes. Her life revolved around her children.

Despite the hardship, Mother remained optimistic. She is the most understanding and supportive mother you could ever ask for. She believed that education was the way out, especially for me her oldest daughter. And so she encouraged me to do well in school. I, on the other hand, saw her circumstance and resolved, as a very young girl, that I would do my best to see that I had more options than my mother had. To that extent, my mother is my hero. She is the greatest source of encouragement and inspiration that I’ve had my entire life; the very foundation upon which I build.

Today Mother is 60 years old. She is here in the United States, visiting with me and my family in North Tustin. She will be with us for the rest of the year. Thanks to the American dream, I am fortunate to live a life today that my mother could never have imagined. Or may be she did imagine it. I hope that somehow Mother is able to look back, and then look at me and my siblings, and her 10 grandchildren and come away with the feeling that it was all worth it.

My Mother is an amazing woman. She is a Mother who keeps on mothering. In the few months that she’s been here with us, she has “taken over” running the household. With four kids and a full-time job, I have a different challenge of my own. Mother effectively fills in the gap. She helps my younger kids with their homework, and she does most of the chores at home! She has become so useful around the house that we all dread the day she’ll leave.

It has been a while since my mother and I were together on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day 2006 is therefore very special. I ask you to help me recognize my mother this Mother’s Day. It would mean the world to her and to me.


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