May 14, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
She is creative, smart, stubborn, jealous, and always annoys the hell out of me whenever she attempts to wake me up in the morning. But guess what? I love her unconditionally. That bright- eye, fat cheek, space teeth girl is my mother, and I would not trade her for the world.
Joycelyn Allison Rockcliffe is no ordinary woman. Her story is one that highlights struggle, strength, willpower, beauty, and as her name suggests, Joy.
Only recently mom recalled those days when she would put me on the bed beside her and listen to me cry until I fall asleep. She said that even when I fell asleep I would occasionally blurt out some screams. Mom was explaining to my niece (little Abena) that she had to do that to me for just about two days as she tried to get me familiar with her, but from the third day forth, I would creep to her bed and yell “Up, up.”
That was after she got into an accident over 25 years ago. It was in that vey accident that she lost her older sister Bernadette Wilburg and two other friends. While mom survived the horrific mishap, she suffered a broken pelvis and a pinched spine. After spending 40 days in the hospital, doctors gave up on her and sent her home. They told her that she would never be able to walk again. Today, I have to caution her about wining in front of the Yoruba Singers band when she sings.
Not only did mom defy the odds, she did so with grace and that is one instance where her stubborn nature paid off. Mom was headstrong that she was not going to die and leave her baby girl and her son who was just about six years old at the time. She was also determined that her daughter would not remain distant from her. Hence she made me stay on her bed with her, even against my will. It all paid off. Because when mom was learning to walk all over again, I started to make my first steps. We did it together. Some people bond over tea or wine, we did it over our learning experiences.
Over the years since, she has been an awesome mother and a standup role model. But, I must admit, I didn’t always see it that way.
Awesome was not the word going through my head when my mom sent me to school in those dark primary days without a pair of socks. This was a punishment because my ‘Tuesday socks’ were not in place. That day was horrible. Primary school children are mean. The children in the school bus that I used to travel in told me that I looked like a farmer.
Of course I could have worn the ‘Wednesday socks’ but noooo. Mom decided to punish me so that I could learn to be organized. Did it pay off? Well at least she tried. Don’t let us talk about how I felt about mom on those days when she combed my hair in the worst styles as another form of punishment. I can remember going to school with my hair in eight and nine plaits, cruel and unusual punishment. But mom knew I was vein, so it worked.
Awesome was not the word that came to mind on those many occasions when mom, as the officials would say, exercised corporal punishment; but as she would say, “dig some licks in she.”
Awesome was not the word that came to mind when she found out that I had a boyfriend, (who is now my husband) and used to find it useful to wake me up at 4:00 sometimes 5:00 in the morning to tell me how disappointed she was in me. But what can I say? She is my old gal and I had to live with her.
Excellent, awesome, classy, strong, beautiful were the words that came to mind every time she stood steadfast by my side during a struggle. Those are the words that came to mind when she forgave me for the many mistakes I have made. Even when I did not forgive myself, mom did.
Words of that nature came to mind when mommy stepped up to the plate for my wedding and made sure it turned out to be the special affair that I always wanted. And, oh was I happy to have her by my side last year when I was pregnant.
My mommy made cross buns for me in October and tried her best to satisfy all the other cravings that I demanded. Strange enough, mom experienced the pregnancy symptoms with me. Mom vomited on many occasions during my pregnancy. She experienced the mood swings (though I am not fully sure I am to blame that on the pregnancy) and when I was going through labour my dad had his full share of complaints about her back pain.
Now I have my own baby—Nairobi Campbell, I am beginning to understand motherhood and mom is still here guiding me through. I belong to my husband now and have the responsibility of my son, but I still feel like her baby girl. I still want to run to her when I have a problem and still enjoy sharing my happy moments with her. Even though I am here for him and will always be here for him, Mom also mothers Nairobi when I am at work; so does Sunita Samaroo, a true friend of mine, who also gets good mothering tips from mommy. She too will make a good mom one day.
The pros of my relationship with mom are too many to note. But trust me when I say I cannot ask for a better mom. The first commandment with a promise is to “honour thy mother and thy father so that your days may be long in the land thy God giveth thee.” I sincerely hope that I continue to honour my mom for the rest of my days. Of course we will fight and there will be days when we may not see eye to eye (even though she is just slightly taller than I am), but never will I ever stop saying to her, “I love you.”
Happy Mother’s Day babe, from me, Ato, little Abena, Nairobi and Sunita. We all appreciate the role you play in our lives.
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