Being mama to seven kids is indescribable. The joy, chaos and sheer madness of my life is something. Though overwhelming at times, I still would not trade this for anything else.
I live a life on a treadmill and as years crept by my most common mantra has been, “I’M SO TIRED.”
I say this so much so often, that one day out in Ambrose Park, I stopped in my tracks. It was on one of my walks during which I have my daily one on one with the Father.
It dawned on me at that moment that I reinforced and gave much power to fatigue, that I became hostage to the same fatigue by my ever so loyal and persistent declaration. Amusing, is how something so real in one’s life is made ever so powerful by the daily acknowledgement it’s given. From that moment, I decided I would do my best to use the positive to describe my very glaring reality. Yes, I do get tired, but the affirmations did not help eliminate or change the situation.
My day mostly begins at 5am. It has been this way for quite a long while. 5am is when morning devotion is done. As years went by the practice stuck. Mind you, most times I would just lie in bed and ponder on the day’s chores, appointments and work. By the time I eventually got up, it would be 6am when my high schooler’s begin their daily routine for school.
They leave home by 6:30 to catch the school bus for 6:45, and that is when I get up and head to Ambrose Park. It usually takes 30 minutes to do the two mile walk, that’s eight times around the park. This is my most valued time. Time to catch up with those questions and requests placed before the Father; and also listen intently to perhaps ‘hear’ a response. Crazy, yeah, but we all have our moments.
By the time I pull into the drive, it’s usually 7:05am. If I’m lucky, Eyo’s alarm got her up, and she’s getting ready for her little cousin’s arrival so they can take the five minute walk to school together.
“Good morning mama.” Eyo would call out as I head towards my room to prepare for work. By 7:25, Eyo and Jordan are grabbing granola bars or juice downstairs and their “bye” I hear from my room. Minutes later, it’s about 8:10am and I’m ready to head out. But not before making sure the twins are up and getting ready for middle school. They are usually the last to leave because school starts at 9am.
So there you have it, the family’s daily grind except for the few odd days when life happens. As I drive to work in traffic which sometimes takes twenty-five to thirty minutes, I visualize how to tackle tasks awaiting me and then the mental fatigue begins.
As the day runs its course, if I’m lucky, work stays within the confines of the office. If not, I find myself out in the field which entails driving numerous miles to meet with clients. This aspect of my work makes me miss my home country, where I’m able to afford a driver…
Returning home from work, I still have to satisfy the duty of mother, wife and everything else. One of the most consuming aspects of my world is cooking. I cook every single day. My children eat for England, and they don’t play!
Heading through the door I head straight for the kitchen. I wash my hands and work my magic. By the time I’m done, it’s about 7:45 or 8pm. everyone comes and takes a seat and within minutes, they clean out the lot. They hold no prisoners; both them and their papa. Around this time I make myself comfortable on the sofa and would be passed out within a microsecond. No one wakes me because once woken, I may not sleep again until the wee hours…
Despite the craziness of my world, there are days which stand out and leave me glowing inside. This particular day was somewhat off. I was returning home from work; tired and irritable. I was out to bite heads off. I barely drove into the driveway when a splatter of rain hit the windscreen. I got into the house before the skies turned gravel grey and a heavy downpour ensued.
An hour went by of rain drumming against the rooftop. The kids were starving and didn’t want the jellof rice from yesterday.
“Why can’t we just go to McDonald? Please mama?” Eyo was their mouthpiece. I didn’t relish the idea of parting with $30, besides it was still coming down hard— I had an excuse.
“But we all have wellies mama and umbrellas too.” Eyo quipped. I shot her a daggered gaze. A tidal wave was surging inside me. I grabbed my umbrella and ran back outside with giggling voices following behind me.
Still feeling sore about having to go out in the rain, I headed out as I normally would and tried to adjust the wiper blades to give better visibility. Within a few minutes I was parked outside the restaurant.
“We said McDonald mama, not Burger king!”
Eyo exclaimed and I shot her a cold stare. The twins whispered to keep quiet. “…we’re getting food, that’s all that matters.”
I turned off the engine and the girls jumped out. I grabbed my umbrella and embraced the rain. Instead of going through the doors, the girls were headed back towards me accompanied by a young man with a broken umbrella. He struggled against the wind and rain to keep the umbrella above his head.
“Please mama can we help him?”
The twins said in unison. Was he homeless and needed food? A closer look told me otherwise. He was well dressed and probably between twenty-four or five. This could be Philip, my oldest child asking for help.
“Good evening ma’am. Please I need help to push my car. It’s stuck in a ditch right there.” He pointed to a blue car on the far right, about four minutes away.
“Lead the way.” I said and we all followed him without any shade against the wind or rain. The combination of these two elements had contorted our umbrellas into a fine mess. By the time we had our hands on the rear of the car, we were drenched and shivering.
The young man got in behind the wheel. It was a Chevy Impala, a new car by the looks of it. I told him to place the gear in neutral while we pushed. We pushed and pushed, but the car was like a deep-rooted stump in the middle of a tick forest. It would not budge. The young man got out and tried to push with us, still no joy.
It was still coming down heavy, and we were all out of breath. I asked if he had AAA, but he shook his head. I thought of calling their papa, but he was in Humble Texas for a meeting. Frustrated and tired, the young man resolved to call a wrecker, which would mean a bill nearing $270 which he didn’t have.
The most disheartening aspect of this entire incident was that people drove past us without stopping to help. No one saw it fit to stop and help a woman with three young kids and a young man. I became infuriated, and much more determined that we succeed. I was thinking the girls would be too cold and ready to give up. They were keen on making sure the young man got home. Tai, one of the twins suggested we pushed backwards and this time, he should actually start the car.
The young man got back into the car, and it was then we noticed the right passenger side tire was stuck between a deep ditch and the road curb. It was filled with muddy water. The engine turned and was put in reverse. We pushed with all the strength we had left. The wheel just spun without any grip, splashing muddy water everywhere. Those closest to the tire caught most of it, but something else happened.
“It moved! The car moved! Push! push!” Tai Screamed.
The scream sparked life in us and we pushed. Like magic, the car moved clear of the ditch and came to a stop on level ground. The shouts of joy and laughter that followed were like the sun had come out to brighten and warm a dreary day. The girls hugged each other and the young man joined them in a group hug. He was glowing.
He walked over to me and gave me hug. “Thank you so much ma’am. I asked quite a lot of people for help, but they all said they were in a hurry. My name is Steven Brady; I’ll never forget today, or you and your girls.” I smiled and shook his hands. “It was our pleasure Steven Brady, now go home before you catch your death!”
He laughed and got into his car, waved once more and joined Hwy 6 south, and soon, he was out of our sight.
We shuddered when we got into Burger king. It was like walking into an ice box and our clothes clung like glue to us. A middle aged Spanish woman walked up to us and gave us a whole roll of paper towel. “We watched what you did Ma’am, we couldn’t come out to help, but you and your kids did a really good thing out there. I’ve turned the air off so you don’t feel too cold okay.”
We smiled and thanked her. The paper towel helped. We dried off as best as we could, and then placed our orders. As I watched my children eat minutes later, they were back to their usual selves. Laughing, talking about school, their friends and pretending the straw wrappers were snot. Typically of children, they had moved on and never gave the incident a second thought. I was still in awe of what had just happened. I looked at my watch and realized it had taken us a good 35 minutes to free Steven Hollis’ car.
When they had eaten and taken soda refills for the road, Kenny, the other twin said, “Mama, do you think perhaps, we ended up here instead of going to McDonald’s, just so we could help Steven?”
Her words jolted me and I nodded. A warm feeling grew inside me, filling me with pride. Yeah, this is my kid alright! I laughed out loud.
“You bet baby, you bet!” I said.