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Lessons From My Mama: What Is Love?

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On 8th April, my papa left for his further studies. My mama says when you are given powers to read it is like you become an alcoholic; you can’t stop. Not even love can stop you.

The day after my papa left, my mama kept checking her phone, as if she was waiting to win a lottery. When that Whatsapp message came from my papa, telling her he had arrived in Germany, mama was thrilled and sad at the same time. It dawned on her that life will not be the same again, at least not for the next three or four years. Her other half would be miles away. This decision was the hardest my parents had to make.

Even at 10 months, I could see the anxiety building up before the journey. They were both so worried about the COVID-19 test. “Honey, what if you a-r-r-r-r-r-re positive and not cleared to travel?” Mama must have asked papa this question over 1000 times. She knew how important it was for papa to take up that opportunity; she knew how much papa needed this and how important it was for the three of us. But did mama want papa to travel?  She cried more than I did the week before the travel day!

“How will I manage Richter without you? What about my job? And the home?”, she would ask.

Papa would always respond with great conviction, “Purity, you are a strong woman; you will manage”.

I admire how papa believes in mama; he treats her like a goddess. This is an excellent lesson to us, males. Women deserve to be treated with love and need to be given leadership positions and roles even in their homes.

It is now over two weeks since papa left and I think mama is handling things well.

Papa was right.

She is an iron lady, like many other women in this country. The likes of Justice Mumbi Ngugi, Faith Mumo, the Late Lydia Ngina, the late Florence Kaguna…

But my nights are not very interesting nowadays. When papa was around, he would share stories from the Ameru tribe and the Njuri-Ncheke. Some with so much exaggeration that everyone in the house disregarded them. Everyone but me. Mama would question their authenticity, but papa kept going on. I enjoyed his stories so much.

If papa was not speaking about Ameru he would be concerned about the Kenya Power national grid. He talks about how Kenya is the highest producer of renewable energies in Africa with so much passion. This is what he loves the most; it is his research area for the next 3 years.

Now my circle of friends has reduced to only mama and me at night. Lately, I have been giving her sleepless nights. She is still trying to sleep train me. “Richter you are now a big boy and you should be sleeping the whole night,” she says. She has been trying this for the last month, but I can’t sleep without my milk. I can’t sleep without her cuddling me, without her reminding me how much she loves me. Am I wrong to want that from her? Do you think I am selfish? Is that not my right? Sleep training, my mama says, is very traumatizing. I cry and she mustn’t cuddle me or breastfeed me. But she does. And I love her for that…so much.

As we figure out how to survive while papa is away, I begin to understand what love is; making sacrifices for the ones you love. I also learn what men should do to support women and why they should trust in their capabilities.

Also read: Lessons From My Mama: Values and Life Skills

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