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Mama used to sit at the kitchen table, spoon in her hands and she would drum to the beat of her favourite song “saving the best for last”…she loved that song; I suppose that in some ways, the song actually summed up her life story: A life that has been quite hard but still rewarding and pleasant to some degree.

True…I guess there had to be more to this life than the one she has lived for so long. As tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks, you could still see the joy in her eyes. The glittering and the faraway look always made me believe that mama had another life somewhere; somewhere far faraway from our small semi-detached house in North London.

She used to say that one day she would be there; that place when we were all grown up and big…big in our lives and our own individual world. When that day would come she would sit back and remember her dream of this special place and time when the best had been saved for last, just for her. I used to ask mama “Are you okay?” she would smile and say yes baby, am just fine; just dreaming.

I guess it’s the hope she had in our future that kept that small fire burning inside her. If you had to look at life through her eyes, you would be forced to have hope in a better tomorrow. Mama had a dislocated back disk from the severe beatings she received from dad.

Dad had to be possessed to be who he was. He usually came back home from work like a wounded tiger! We were like his enemy; at least that’s how he made us feel. All mama had to do was ask for something, anything we needed for school and he would bark and bellow and the entire house thundered with his voice.

We were scared of him! Besides greeting him after his return from work, it would take a miracle to utter a single word to him. You never know what you would say that could trigger a beating. We never understood why he was always angry or why he had to be our dad. All we knew were the physical, emotional and mental abuse received from him. We all had the scars to constantly remind us.

I reckon it was pure luck that we came to live in London. If we had remained back home in Nigeria, we would be motherless by now. I’m grateful that this is all behind us now. Looking back to those times, I wonder how we ever managed to survive such a period of our life.

Uncertainty was all my sisters and I could count on. That we even completed our secondary education is all thanks to the dedication of mama. She is a true mother. She taught us with her life and sacrifice for us that hope is a special thing to have and keep.
Today all grown up, I smile when I look at mama, every line, and contour of her face and the deep look in her eyes told their own story of courage, strength and determination in the face of adversity. She came through! She was an over-comer. We were her dream and she made us come true.

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