“Jayden! Lenon! Hurry up you will be late for school” this voice would call us every morning when I and my younger brother were in the bathroom. We used to wake up at 5:am every school day and go to bath. Daily we would play games in the bathroom and forget we were supposed to be early for school. I was in Grade 4 and my young brother Lenon was in Grade one.
“Okay mum, we are almost done” I would always answer from the bathroom. This was my daily answer even if she called before we started bathing. Sometimes I and my brother would play games and forget we are in the bathroom to bath until my mother calls us. We would then just wipe ourselves and rush to our bedroom to put on uniforms.
We would leave the house at 7:am daily for school. It was always me in front, and then my brother Lenon and our mother would come out last to lock the doors. She always carried her shopping basket with her; everyday was a shopping day for my mum. I didn’t like her basket especially when sometimes she comes out of the car with it at our school. I felt embarrassed walking with my mum and her basket. She never seemed to be bothered by the basket herself.
The drive to school was always a hectic one with the morning traffic jams. My mother would always complain at how bad some drivers are caution us never to practice bad driving and shout at other drivers. The drive to school was always boring and I sometimes felt my mother was too soft I always wanted to shout at other drivers for delaying us but my mother would never allow that. I just felt some were taking advantage of her because she is a lady.
My mother would always carry a small diary with her. At first I wondered why she loved the small book so much. It was her daily planner, my mother would write everything she intended to do on the day.
I and my brother nicknamed our mum’s diary, ‘The Magic Book’. We stole it one day and sneaked around the house to have a look at it without her noticing us.
The daily routine was almost the same and my mother would go on her chores with a smile on her face, I wondered where the magic was coming from that kept her going. I hate doing the same thing over and over again but my mother would take us to school, go to the market, cook and pick us from school daily. She never showed she was tired or bored, she was always on track.
After dropping us at school my mum would go to the market. The market was busy and noisy and I hated it. Mum sometimes visit the market with me during the weekends. The market had hundreds of men and women selling fruits and vegetables, each one will be shouting from his or her stall to get a fair share of the customers. I hated the smell of rotten fruits and vegetables that always characterize the market, my mother was not bothered by the smell anymore or she would just ignore to just get what she wanted. The only thing I loved about going to the market was the free fruits could get from vendors marketing their fruits. I could collect these free samples for home.
Laundry was third on the diary. My mother would do our laundry daily. I always wondered why she does our laundry daily until one day I heard her complain to her friend about how filthy we were. She could not keep such dirt clothes in the house for a day. I remember one day when I and my brother went to the garden after school and it had just rained and we were playing on slippery ground and we fell down. We came into the house muddy and had to change clothes again before my mother noticed it. We wiped ourselves clean and went to the sitting room and play good boys watching TV. When she saw us in the sitting room she said nothing but from her looks we could see she had questions as to why we were in doors early that day.
On number four was gardening. My mother never employed someone to do her gardening; she loved her flowers and would attend to them herself. We were sometimes asked to water the garden and we would just water flowers close to the pathways and go.
I wonder if my mother would take a break and have lunch; it seems her day was full of her household chores. The diary didn’t specify time for lunch. My mum was that person who didn’t seem to like food so much. She was always the first one to finish eating and get up soon after eating to do the dishes and other household chores.
Picking us from school was always fifth or sixth on the list. It was fifth when she was not attending the women’s club. My mother would attend the club once a week; I am not sure what exactly the club was for but my mother wouldn’t miss one club meeting. The night before the club my mother would sleep late making scones or some cupcakes for the club.
She was always on time to pick us from school. Our school was strict on the pickup times, but I believe my mum was always early because of her love for us. The way she spent her day to make life comfortable for us was much of a sacrifice than just being part of her life as a woman. When I was young I didn’t realize it, it was when I began my first year in college that I began to appreciate my mother. I had to do everything for myself; I missed my mother big time.
My brother was always the first to get to the car. I would stay behind a bit saying bye to one or two of my friends. My mother always hugged us every day she picked us from school. She could ask how your day was with you on her chest. The warmth of her chest and the sweet scents of her perfume are still fresh in my mind. My mother talked to us all the way. She was my mentor I almost forgot to say. She would teach us life lessons and tell jokes.
“Remain yourself and live your own life. Never compare your life to anyone or imitate anyone” my mother would always say. These words were said a lot of times when we complain about a friend getting something nice or going out for a holiday that we didn’t.
The days my father picked us from school are also memorable. My father would remain in his seat and when you get to the car he would signal you to jump into the backseat. He would listen to his music all the way home and wouldn’t speak to us. He picked us from school a few days in a year but they were terrible. We could cradle on one side of the seat with Lenon and no one would talk all the way home.
My mother spent most of her evenings in the kitchen. Preparing dinner was something special to my mother that she never hired anyone to do it for her. When I was in high school I used to join my mother and help her cooking. I learnt a lot of recipes from her. I developed a passion for cooking through my mother’s teachings. I sometimes cook dinner for my family and my kids love dad’s meals.
My mother would then send us to sleep after diner. She used to read us bed time stories, but as we grew up we lost interest in the stories and she stopped bedtime story reading.
We never slept early as my mother would always emphasize. We could go in our bedroom, lock our door and play video games.
My mother’s day did not end after she has sent us to bed, we used to hear plates clutter in the kitchen, my mother doing the dishes. Most of the days my mother would end her day by making snacks for packing our lunch the following morning. It would be late in the night when she would retire to sleep. My brother and I would jump into the bed and pretend to be asleep when we hear our mother’s footsteps in the corridor.