This is little note of thanks is long overdue. There have been many moments to write it.
I probably should have written it on the 25th of January 1988 after deciding the only way to enter this world was through you, not around you.
Without even a courteous ‘excuse me’ or a civil ‘I am terribly sorry to bother you ma’am but if I could just get past, that would be great.’
Instead I chose to tear right through you, to arrive and do nothing except demand to be loved and fed. And changed.
All this and no offer of anything in return but sleepless nights, the odd smile and that lovely ‘new human smell.’
Maybe I should have started the letter when I was five and lost in a mall. How I could stand in the middle of a busy toy store in New York and shout ‘Muuuuuummm’ and somehow, of hundreds of kids you knew it was me and found me.
I could have penned it the first time you gave me a whooping so hard which my hiney, to this day, still feels the sting to the extent my brain remembers the lesson.
Respect your elders.
The old lady who I gave my seat to and the elderly gentleman whom I made time to assist even though I had ‘young thunder cat stuff to do’ thank you.
Maybe it was when you tried to teach me about the birds and the bees with the help of bubble bath. The effort was commendable, if not somewhat hilarious.
A good time to have possibly penned this was when you sent me to an amazing school in a far off fairy-tale land even when you were not sure where the money would come from. But like the magical creature you are, you made it appear out of thin air.
I suppose I could have written it when I was a teenager and my catch phrase was ‘you are ruining my life, you just don’t understand me’. Or possibly after I decided to go wandering the streets in London chasing a party thrown by friends and lying to you about where I was. You still to this day refuse to hear the story as you say it makes ‘your womb hurt’.
Then again I suppose I could have written a little more every time I went out to meet friends and you stayed awake waiting then pretended you were not checking at the window. When you would feign sleep or argue that you wanted to me catch up on your night time TV shows. I saw you peak through the curtain as I drove in. No shame in posting by the door.
I could have and at least brought about a draft when I pulled the ‘you never let me do anything’ when you stopped me going to that party where the next day on the news people died in a stampede.
Or when I did not speak to you for four days as you brought me to South Africa for the first time. You had again ‘ruined my life’ by taking me away from my friends. This is a country I have now called my home for 10 years all the while the rest of my peers fled their respective countries of higher education.
I could have penned it last Christmas when you insisted I come home. Again. When you insisted family was important, a value I know will always serve me well.
I could have jotted something down every time you gave me advice that changed my life and gave me hope. The times when you were so wise I thought it bordered on sorcery or clairvoyance. Every time you make a flash judgement on my life based in as much in love as misunderstanding of who have become.
But it has been said that procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday so I choose to pen it now when the next generation is coming.
When people who I mumbled ‘damn they just here to ruin my life’ with now send me messages going if this ‘child I am carrying ever back chats me, you must all descend on them like hell fire as my body is going through hell.’
Thus I pen it as I lose yet another partner in chardonnay to the miracle of morning sickness. As I now witness first hand women whom I knew could sleep through a house party waking at the slightest cough three doors down. As I see friends who would not share their last stick of gum with you give this tiny human they made everything.
When I witness the mistakes we will all make that will prove like you, we are not perfect but we do the damn hardest we can because our love is. As I realise this is a cycle that is as old as time.
In light of all this I say thank you mother to the woman who raised me. To everyone else who was blessed with an amazing mother I say do not be an ungrateful random grouping of cells and call the woman.
Love always (and imperfectly),