Oh, mama…

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My radiant mother striking a pose at the Palo Duro Park in West Texas. Just look at her.

She’s a wonder, my mother is. A beautifully bold Kenyan woman who has worked hard from day one and never stops. She’s got so much soul and story, and her laughter echoes out for miles. As I’ve grown up, I see more and more of myself in her. She refuses my expressed sentiment with statements like:

“Neema, you are about 90% your dad and 10% me.”

My father and I do indeed have a strong bond. I’m his only girl, and he’s this tender, sweet soul that I’ve always felt the need to protect. He’s also a bit of a dreamer and I relate to that. This coming from the girl who in 4th grade told her parents that her new room needed to be painted with a bright blue sky and clouds. But even in all of our similarities…

My spunk and sass come from my mother. Just listen to the following scene from this past summer:

So, early this morning, I’m talking to my mama … and she says something along the lines of: “You know, Neema, you really need to get more organized. I was searching through your purse to try and find the house keys earlier”…(insert my “You searched through my what now?” face here) “and it was terrible, that’s really not good.”

To which I reply indignantly : “Mama, now you know better than to search through another woman’s purse! I don’t think you should have done that!” as I begin to laugh, because she has that classic mischievous Murimi smirk on her face.

And I continue my grumbling as she calmly repeats (with a dark Oak headboard behind her, and the glow of her bedside lamp giving her a beautiful yet fear inducing Oz-like luminosity) : “But I did…but I just did…but I did.” While I’m like: “But mama—” “But I did.” “You know you—” “I already did.” And right before the scene ends: Bubbling laughter.

This is my life.

I get my child-likeness from her. My strong sense of loyalty from her. My charming “brattiness” and boldness from her.

The cheery light in my eyes is from her.

She’s a mahogany-framed gleam that exudes warmth and joy.

She feels like home to many.

Oh, mama…you know you and daddy call one another “dear” and “darling”…

But you are THE darling.

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