Once a year women in the United States are celebrated specially on Mother's Day. Even though, I love to receive gifts and be celebrated on this day by my wonderful husband and sons, this day has special meaning to me. It is a day that I love to take time to thank God for his grace upon my life.
Every one is deserving of God's grace but in my case, the love that God has for me is such that you read of only in the Holy book.
WHAT iS SO SPECIAL ABOUT MY CASE?
To answer that question, I will have to quote you one of my favorite bible passages. Psalm 71:7, "I am a wonder to many but you are my strong refuge". Whenever I think of this passage, I want to break out in a dance and praise God.
Do you want to know why?
God has made me a wonder with the gift of motherhood. I know there are several ways you can become a mother, every woman has the ability to be a mother, if they can take up the role of a nurturer and provider. You do not have to be a birth mother to be a mother.
In my case, the Lord not only decided to make me a nurturer but he made it possible that I will join millions of women all over the world to deliver my own children.
To understand how miraculous this special gift is you really need to hear my story.
My name is Chi chi Iro, I am living and thriving with cerebral palsy, a condition that makes me walk with a wobbly gait. Cerebral palsy affected the right side of my body, which causes me to walk with a pronounced limp.
Growing up in Nigeria with a disability my chances were limited, most people expected nothing much from me but I was a big dreamer and my dreams took me to places my weak leg could not get to.
God sent me a great man, my husband of 24 years , my friend and father of my Sons. When we met, I was too afraid to call the dreams to reality , Di m as I call him saw great strength in me and encouraged me.
First came Chidera now 23 meaning whatever God has written will come to pass, then Somtochukwu 21 asking you to praise God with us and when it looked like that was it. The Lord sent strength through Ikechi 19 and finally we found our resting place with gratitude when Kelechi 17 came.
I hope by now you understand why Mother's Day is so special to me.
When we had our first Son in Nigeria with just fifteen minutes of labor, most people did not believe it was true.
I still remember my cousin's wife. She made a careless and insensitive comment.
"WOW! Chinwe so when they count mothers now they will count you? Sometimes my husband and I will remember that comment and laugh.
When mothers are counted on Mother's Day I will be counted 1,2,3 and 4 times.
Like my Igbo Christian mothers will chant
"Ndi Nne Mama! Isokwa! Esokwamu o!
Kele re m chi m Biko.
Soro m Kele chukwu.
Please praise the Lord with us for his goodness endures forever.
As a mother living with disabilities, I have the challenge of providing my husband and Sons with the motherly nurturing and care they require. It was far from easy raising four sons that were hardly two years apart but with a loving husband by my side, we were able to pull through. When the boys were younger, intimacy between was non existent, not because we did not know how or what to do,it was Just not practical, from the 4 boys being in the bed with us till the oldest was 6 because that was the sort of parents we chose to be to mere tiredness , by the time I finish dinner and wash the plates and clean the house, I will remember I have to pack their bags for the next day,. While I am doing this , Daddy may help out by giving the kids a bath so we do not have to do it in the morning. Sometimes he will catch a nap while I do the work. Do not be deceived, I am far from being the perfect wife. Whenever this happens I will nag and complain but still do the chores. Looking back now the poor guy was tired, he had been doing chauffeur the whole day while juggling the pressures of work. Then by the time, I put the kids in bed, I will tiptoe to my spot praying that his snore will be permanent in Jesus name . Sometimes Jesus will not answer and you know what will follow "that request" I will not readily give in not because I do not want to but because I am spent and like we say "And that was how the fight started". I plead with you to be patient and hang in there. Now we mostly have one child at home, the one child basically lives upstairs and we live downstairs. We have all the time and liberty to get up to any mischief we desire, now the only thing that can stop us is old age and when that happens we may hold hands. Our lives now is totally different from what it was 10 -15 years ago.
My primary concern was making our home as normal as can be and not letting my children feel they needed to take care of me or that they had a mother that was defective.
Until recently it was an endless roller coaster of chores, there was no resting moment, at a point it was full time work, cleaning, cooking and homework. Sports I left entirely for their Dad.
Today the boys are grown, their needs are totally different but a mother's job is never done.
Now I am more like the intercessor and the adviser. Raising these boys was quite an experience but I always told myself "if you think of the difficulties you will quit.
It takes a certain level of insanity to have four children in the United States.
MY MESSAGE TO ALL MOTHERS.
Count it all as joy. Motherhood is a privilege not given many. There are some mothers that are nurturing children living with disabilities that cannot give anything to them in return yet they give their all. Remember your children will grow some day. Do not complain when you cannot get a break, if I could do what I did with my disabilities you can do much more.
Change your perspective, stop being frustrated , you prayed for this role. So many women are praying for God to give them a child that will let them exercise their maternal instincts even if they are adopted.
All you need with your children, is to do your best. There is no competition , your family will love you no matter your short comings. Let go of the guilt that you are not doing enough. In my home country, Nigeria you will see a mentally challenged mother nurse a child to the best of her ability and succeed . All that is needed is the best you can give. Your love is enough.
I was one unique mother, I did everything my way. Some months ago, my friend Gina who was big help when I had Kelechi describes how I used to hold the babies, they were chubby, I usually picked them up in this very awkward manner, you will hold your breath thinking I will drop them but I never dropped them.
If you know the mannerisms of people living with cerebral palsy, sometimes we grip too hard. I guess I grabbed the boys so hard as babies when I held them yet they never complained that was the grip of the Mother they knew from when they were in the womb. It was a familiar grip, they knew no other.
TO OUR HUSBANDS
Did you know it takes so much for a woman to be a mother to you and your children? Please appreciate her and all she does by making her burden lighter. This you can do by helping out when you can. She will do more when she feels loved.
The next time you see one woman limping on the streets of Dallas with 5 handsome men behind her, That must be me.
What does Mother's Day mean to you?