I am so accustomed to reading many inspiring stories on Facebook these days. Daily there is something positive and uplifting. After some telephone chats with a few Zimbabwean women who got signed copies of my new autobiography, I felt the world treated women badly. Then all of a sudden, I hear there are some women who enjoyed their motherhood and womanhood and lived in violent free relationships. Craig Packer writes about his mother and how his father supported her. I am posting this for all men in my continent of Africa to see what a mother can do when she is protected. Enjoy….Betty Makoni
By Craig Packer
A personal letter I wrote in honor of my mother’s birthday today. She turned 71
On this day in recent years, I’ve written on my personal page about how much I appreciate my mother and how grateful I am for all of the things she taught me, usually without sitting me down and saying, “Now I’m going to teach you something.” She teaches by example. She always has.
But today, I have a whole new appreciation for how fortunate my mother has been throughout her own life. We often call such things “small blessings.” But in the reality of our world, there is nothing “small” about these blessings at all.
My mother was born into a family that loved its daughters as much as its sons. They didn’t have much, but they had each other. Love abounded in her childhood days, even if she didn’t like being required to help do chores on the family farm.
My mother never had to face the pain and horror of having her genitalia cut. Many traditions visited her childhood; but fortunately this form of torture was not visited upon my mother.
My mother, at age 18, had the freedom to marry a man she loved rather than one who had been chosen for her out of political or social gain. She was never at risk of being sold to the highest bidder. And my grandparents never had to worry how they were going accumulate a dowry that would make my mother “worthy” of a potential husband who, after the deal was done, may have treated her like property or abused her.
My mother had received a quality education that prepared her to be a productive member of the workforce. She worked for the telephone company for several months before and after her wedding. She was an exceptional typist. But her first child arrived 10 months after my parents wed. Since my father was a good provider, she had the option to stop working and to take care of her new baby. Many other women didn’t have that option.
My mother was blessed that she married a good man–a good provider who not only loved her and respected her but also laughed with her and sought her counsel.
My mother gave birth to her three children in a hospital where there were well-trained doctors and nurses on hand to help if something went wrong. There were no guarantees, of course, but her prospects of surviving childbirth in the 1960s were certainly far better than her own mother’s–or those of women giving birth in certain parts of the world today.
My mother has never been forced to leave her home or her country because war, conflict, or ethnic cleansing threatened her life or the safety of her family.
My mother was always free to practice her religion openly and without fear of retribution or harm simply because of what she believed, how she practiced her faith, or where she worshiped.
My mother was always able to go to the doctor when she was sick–and I can attest to the fact that she has experienced very serious health issues, some of which date back to her teenage years and caused her terrible pain for days or weeks on end. Fortunately, in recent decades, doctors have been able to alleviate some of her health issues. Though others still rear their ugly head from time to time.
Today, my mother turns 71 years old. And there is no doubt in my mind that she has counted her life blessings. Yes, she has known hardship. Yes, she has known real pain. But she still counts her blessings–and she taught me to name them one by one.
But the reason I am writing this today is because I have a new appreciation for how her life blessings are related to my own life blessings. Had she not been so fortunate, my own life trajectory could have been altered in very real, very meaningful, and very profound ways.
To my mother, I love you with all my heart and wish you the very happiest of birthdays. Thank you for everything you have done for me and the manner in which you helped prepare me for life on my own. I have been, am, and shall always be truly blessed to call you my mother.