May 16, 2012 – I had some time to myself a few weeks ago and my mind took me back to my childhood.
Funny how time flies because it all felt like yesterday, as I could remember some of the experiences vividly. Most importantly, I remembered the times I had to go to my mother whenever something came up, wondering how she would take it.
People tell me how strong they think I am because of my experiences, and the fact that I survived a lot of things but I tell them ‘wait till you see my mom’. She is one woman I am sure you would love to meet. I say this because I grew up knowing so much about life and learning about the most important thing: ‘LOVE’
I had a conversation with my sisters about my mom and all the things we remembered while growing up. It was amazing how we could remember vividly the wonderful things she used to do that have helped us bring joy and laughter to our homes.
We remembered the special girlie dresses and shoes she bought for us during the holidays, especially at Christmas. It was fun all the way because she would shop for days, then come home with decorations and ask everybody to try and design their favourite parts of the house.
My older sisters remembered the times when she would take them all into the kitchen, put the metal comb in the gas fire, and one by one stretched their hair, because then, there was nothing like relaxer. That was the height of enjoyment as a girl at that time, because it made you become instantly popular. I laughed my heart out when my sisters talked about the stretching comb era, because I was not a part of that… (wink wink).
You see, my mother had five girls and you know what it means to take care of your girls and make them look trendy all the time. One is hard enough, trust me, I know how it can because I have two, but five is a lot of work.
Chief Mrs Maria Theresa Damasus is the original strong, beautiful, elegant, incredible African woman. I have always prayed that God would make me at least half the woman that she is.
She taught us to be satisfied with what we have and who we are. At that time I did not fully understand, but as I grew older I realised that it contributed to who I became. People who really know me can attest to the fact that I don’t try to be who I am not, and I don’t crave for things I cannot afford. It helped me a lot because as an entertainer who has been to places and met people, it is pretty easy to fall into temptation, because you want to live an ostentatious life when you cannot afford it.
My sisters are so amazing. They taught me a lot of things my mom taught them. It might interest you to know that regardless of who I am today, it does not affect me when I am with my sisters, trust me. The level of respect I have for them is such that I cannot misbehave or say certain things in their presence. That is how my mother brought us up. She was the best wife any man could ever ask for, so I can proudly say that my late father was a lucky man.
Our house was a haven to us. I say this because you would expect a lot of fights and noise in a house filled with girls, but there were no fights, no stress, and it was a very conducive environment to grow and flourish. According to my oldest sister, Shirley, “she ( my mother) created a happy home for us. She is our friend, sister, mother and confidant. She stood firmly behind us, made sure we grew up with self-confidence. We could be whatever we wanted to be, no limitations to ambitions, no pressure.”
Contrary to what most people tell you, I can honestly say that my mum is my confidant. Truth is I can tell her anything, even things I cannot say to my sisters or my best friend. She would never judge me or make me regret the fact that I told her anything. My mum lost her only son in 1991 and we all thought that was the end. We watched her go through so much pain, but in all of that, she did her best to shield us away from her emotional battles. She also lost her father who was her best friend some years later. Then, just like me she lost her husband recently. I cannot begin to tell you how my relationship made me tell God that if He can give me a marriage like that, I will never give up on love. We were fortunate to come from a home filled with so much love and care. I never saw them argue because they respected us that much and were careful not to teach us the wrong things.
Even when it was obvious that my mom was hurting or upset, she would sing and talk about her childhood. It was not until I grew much older that she told me about marriage and the fact that children must not see animosity between their parents. No matter how bad it gets; sort it out in your bedroom but make sure they don’t hear your voices.
She also taught me that man and wife must never carry a fight over to the next day. That was a bit hard, I will not lie, but I found that it worked like magic. My mother would put a book on my head to try to get me to walk straight on a line. Of course I failed that test so many times, but I kept on trying. She would scream if I pronounced TH as T, give you a serious look if you don’t close your legs properly like a lady or if she heard a sound while you were chewing. At that time, it was not fun at all, but it helped in the long run.
She used to be an award winning opera singer and a stage actress, and I am so grateful to her for exposing me to all kinds of music and movies. My father loved music and movies too, so we had loads of Betamax tapes and records we used to play on turntables, from the sixties to modern.
I can go on and on but the most important thing is that I love my mother, my role model, my mentor and MY FRIEND.
Chief Mrs Maria Theresa Damasus is 70 today, Wednesday 9, May. Pray for my mum and wish her well for me. I urge you to write out the beautiful things you can remember about your mom and send them to her if she is alive. If she is not, you can still write it and send to me (email@example.com) if you would like me to publish it. Let us celebrate out mothers today.
Quote: Train up a child in the way he should grow and when he is old he will not depart from it.