This blog chronicles my molt from "Naija Tailor" to "The New Me," as I strive to balance my roles as a wife and mom with a strong desire to reinvent myself and live optimally.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
My life as Remi's daughter
I got my first ever mother's day card this year :o)
It had me thinking about my mom and how much I miss her.
I find it remarkable that I have so many memories of her... She passed when I was 20 and I didn't like her very much in my teens, so I didn't listen to her much. Not having to deal with her "DRAMA" was one of the reasons I loved boarding school. She was ALWAYS up in my business!! She once called a guy I had just broken up with to tell him not to take me seriously as I "didn't know what I was doing". aaaarrrgh!! Who does that?! She said he was "husband material" I was 17.....
Remi was a force of nature!! Everybody knew her everywhere we went. She considered it her life's mission to stand up for folks who couldn't stand up for themselves. Case in point:
Many many years ago...I don't know exactly, lets just say '97 or 98 when fuel scarcity had become the norm in Nigeria. She was at a filling station when a random guy was accosted by some mobile policemen as he was leaving with his jerry can of fuel. They attempted to impound his "treasure"(which he had queued for hours for) on the grounds that it was illegal to carry fuel around in a jerry can. Classic case of "chancing"(like seniors in secondary school used to do to juniors). Of course my mom couldn't stand by and watch. She marched straight to the policemen and told them off for taking advantage of the guy, reminding them that because of their uniforms, they could easily have jumped the queue and gone straight to the pump. She made them return his jerry can of fuel and then gave one of them her keys, pointed out her car and had him drive it all the way to the front and fill her tank. She must've been feeling like VOLTRON.. Defender of the universe.
Now that I have children of my own, I realize what HUGE sacrifices she must have made, raising all five of us. Me especially, cos I was a VERY troublesome energetic child. She showed us tough love!! and is alive in my heart, almost 12 years later just like my dear friend reminded me when she replied my tweet earlier today.
“GBEMI!” Her voice rang out. “Are you sleeping? That seems to be all you do these days”
“This woman has come again oh!” I thought silently to myself. “I’m on holiday, am I not allowed to sleep anymore? I’m here now, why did u call me?” I asked her, giving her ‘the look’.
I want you to fix this weave for me. I don’t feel like going to the salon, she said.
“FIX WEAVE?? Me I don’t know how to fix it oh! You better just go the salon jeje”, I exclaimed, thinking “does this woman know what she’s saying”.
“Come and fix it jare! The thing is easy to fix. I watched the stylist closely the last time I was at the salon and I’m sure you can do it. Just weave the hair and sew the weave on. Don’t worry I’ll show you.”
“Hmm, if I spoil it, don’t shout oh!” I warned her.
“You won’t spoil it. I’ll guide you through the process.” She seemed confident, so we started.
Fast forward a few hours later and several warnings from her “if you prick me with that needle one more time, you’ll be in trouble” and my “sorry now, I didn’t do it on purpose”, we were done and then, she attempted to pay me.
“What’s that?” I asked her, really surprised. “Why would I take money from you for making your hair?”
“Bring your right hand here!” she commanded, putting N250 in it. She held on to my hand and said to me: “I am paying the same amount I paid the stylist a few weeks ago to teach you a lesson. This is so important; you must pass it on to your children. YOU CAN MAKE MONEY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IF YOU LEARN HOW TO DO THINGS WITH YOUR HANDS. School is important, but you must acquire skills. Learn all you can, because LEARNING IS A TREASURE TO TAKE WITH YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO. If you get robbed or ever lose everything, you can start afresh if you know how to do something. More importantly, you would never have to be at the mercy of anyone, because you can generate your own resources.”
This happened many years ago. I must have been 15 or 16. I don’t know the exact date, nor did I pay much attention to her words then, but they have gone on to shape my life and inform my career choices.
I have not only made a living from turning the gift God gave me into a skill, I have given the 7(and counting) people on my team the opportunity to earn a living and I have also made many women happy.
It’s exactly 10 years since you’ve been gone and I’ve been so busy following your advice, I only just found time to write this tribute now. You packed into 44 years what many cannot attempt in 100. I am privileged to have been born by you.
SHALOM OLUREMI OLUSOLA SODUNKE (22-10-1955 to 16-9-1999) RIP