(Chinaka Justin Mbaeri)
At the point I was released with “billions of others” in the minutest form (sperm cell), I swam very fast with all my strength more than the other cells via the fallopian tube, located your egg cell and immediately fertilized it, and became whole. You knew I was a champion, and indeed, I’m. I won life’s race “ab initio” among billions of my fellows, some died on the way, some were so slow to locate your egg, others did not even know the location; however, I, being the smartest, strongest, healthiest, liveliest, most of all, the champion of them all, got united to you and you harboured me and gave me your flesh. You did not only give me life; you gave me life that is worth living. While in the womb, you often spoke to me whenever I stubbornly kicked as if I would jump out the next minute, I listened to you, recognized and understood your language and remained calm. You bore the pain I gave you in the womb; you loved me even before I was born. When I was born, many people marvelled and pondered on what my fate would be; some later said “our father (nna anyi) is back to life” due to some funny events surrounding my birth and later interaction with my grandfather at a tender age (which I cannot remember anyway); my dad even nick-named me “nnam” – “my father” (a name which he called me till his last breath owing to the belief that I’m his grandfather who came back to life. That’s by the way).
Mom, while growing up, you taught me how to walk. That very first moment I lifted my leg in an attempt to walk (like a giant stride) was an outstanding moment for the entire family – “Oh Chinaaa has made his first step…! Oh he has fallen…!!” It was like an event that drew the attention of the entire household, and I became the center of attraction (LOL). Indeed, you were always there to fasten my faltering steps, o Mommy. Like Mary, you pondered all these things in your heart. You showered me your love, which was not devoid of discipline. Till date, I’m a living testimony of your maternal love, training, and care. For this, I will live to celebrate you every day of my life.
Oh Mother! I revere you!
Together with dad, you sent me to the “world” to learn how to read and write. According to you, I started reading when I was two; however, be it an exaggeration or not, I would accept four years. At school, I excelled beyond my peers and you were always proud of me. I was the kind of child that made daddy say “yes, that is truly my son; when I was like him, I always came first in class…” (LOL). Oh mom, I acknowledge the fact that you and daddy played a quintessential role in my academic success; however, I acknowledge your role in a special way. You were a schoolteacher, and always challenged me academically; you gave me no breathing space…today I’m happy you did that.
O Mother, I salute you!!
Apart from academics, you taught me Christian morals and manners. You introduced me to the life of prayer from the earliest times. You introduced me to the Church’s doctrines and way of life. You taught me how to read the Bible, etc… Little did I know you were building and setting an early background for my Christian vocation. Today, I look back and appreciate your tremendous efforts with all my being. You’re indeed, a god-fearing woman.
Oh Mother, I honour you!!!
For the times I fell ill, you equally shared in the pain. It was as if the illness should fall upon you alone, and you did everything morally possible to see to my well-being.
You were always the rock that shielded me from the tough disciplines and rod of daddy. I remember often running to you whenever I was at wrong; although later, you disciplined me in your own way and made me realized my wrongs after protecting me.
You are aways patient with me and have a listening ear. Your daily prayers have kept me going.
Whenever I was hungry, I ran to you. Whenever I entered the house, the first question was “where is mommy”? Whenever I searched for a lost item, I often said “mommy, where is my textbook? Mommy do you have an idea about my missing wristwatch? Mommy, I’m looking for my shoes…” even as it was clear that you did not always have an idea where they were, yet you assisted me in the search. (chaii, I worried a lot o…lol). You continued to condone my excesses and showered me love in return.
O Mother, I extol you!!!!
When I came back home for holidays last year, it was another happy moment spending my time with you. You were often preoccupied with what I would eat etc. For you, I had lost weight, I had missed my native foods…I remember how you often filled my plate and asked me to eat and eat and eat, and gain shape…LOL (you really treated me like a king).
Conversing with you was also another beautiful moment. You were so happy to have me back, and I was equally happy too. At the time of returning to Brazil, the looks on your face appeared as if I should stay longer, you were already missing me, I felt and shared in your sentiment. However, it was necessary I returned, and so I left. Hope to meet you once more after this December. You’re indeed the best gift God had given to me; you were a blessing in abundance to me. In fact, when counting my blessings and achievements, I will count you a million times.
Oh Mother, I stand in awe before you!!!!!
Since you’d done all these for me and still doing more, tell me why won’t I sing your praises and celebrate you? I’m so proud of you. Thus, on this special day, I celebrate you (my first loved) like no other. No one on earth can occupy your position in my heart. Yes! No one, no not one! May the good Lord continually bless you all the days of your life, and keep you for me; continue to grant you good health of mind and body (esp. now that you’re in your 60s), and the strength to continue to reap the fruits of thy labour. Amen.
Oh Mommy, my African Queen, Nne m, I love you! I love you!! I love you!!!
Your son, Chinaaa (nnam)


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Chinaka Justin Mbaeri

A staunch Roman Catholic and an Apologist of the Christian faith. More about him here.

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