At 10 years of age, my mother gave me up for adoption.
Only they didn’t call it adoption and it wasn’t really “giving me up” because we maintained contact and did not cut the surname ties and everything else. I mean, I kept my father, my two brothers and her gifts, especially the one she gave me in my late twenties. My relationship with this one gift was not one of love at first sight. It was a two-piece skirt suit and it hung in the wardrobe for a full year before my love for it blossomed well enough for me to start wearing it. In my mind’s eye I can still see its top, with a collar, two pockets, short sleeves, buttons that ran from the neck right down to the waist. I think the skirt, with its pockets and buttons, was made to twirl. I loved its colour too. It could have been a shade hovering between pistachio, screaming green and olive green. Now in my fifties, I still cherish my mother’s gift, so much that I had someone make me a replica of that outfit.
Adoption gave me the gift of two mothers
With my real eyes I have the privilege of seeing another remarkable gift from my mother. I think the reason why they didn’t call it “adoption” is because my mother was handing me over to her sister. My mother is the oldest in a family of six sisters and this aunt is the fifth. The two-mother situation could have been difficult because the two sisters were different. Take their modus operandi for example. I remember the time, when I was still a teacher, that I tried to intercept my mother at the gate of our school because my gut told me I was in trouble. She would not hear of it and she marched right past me into the schoolyard to confront me about my wrongs in the staff room! Needless to say, I remained the butt of my colleagues’ jokes until I left the school. My aunt on the other hand, who while also fierce, has preferred to haul me – and many others who crossed the line – over the coals in a one-on-one setting.
I learnt the value of family
These women’s mothering skills rubbed off on me somewhat. I will forever be grateful to them. Their sense of family and helping one another will stay with me long after the second outfit has frayed and grayed. Their different strengths continue to enable me to be a mother to my own two daughters and many other children that I am privileged to come into contact with.
I celebrate you mme, if you can hear me, and I celebrate you mmane.
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