In our male-oriented world, the hidden power of womanhood is often underestimated. Yea, it is a man's world. Power, raw power, bravado and brawn rule the world. It is a world of muscles and biceps and of course, these were the special attributes of men. Men rule the world. The man is at the apogee of the society. He defines it. He determines what goes on therein. He sets and dictates the pace. Because he has the power, it is his world and he rules it. It is very easy to see and feel the power of men. It is all there for all to see. There is no hiding it. There is no cover to it. It is always on full display and nature has been modelled to accommodate this reality.
But womanhood has its own power. It has its own allure and beauty. The power of womanhood is often hidden and whenever and wherever it had been positively displayed, it had often trumped the raw, naked and open power of men. Yea, women gat power too! Unlike the power of men, it is often not too easy to see the power of women. This factor itself has often proven to consume those that underestimate the power of women. Empires have been wrecked by the power of women. Great men have been vassaled by the power of women. Kings and dominions have been toppled by the power of women. They fight not with guns, spears and bayonets yet, they have often proved decisive in determining even the fate of powerful men and empires, and of course, history.
In recent past years, women have often misconstrued their own powers to mean contesting for forte with men. They have measured their own strength on how they square up to men and display their own non-existent biceps and muscles. These were the days of noisome clanging for women equality with men-whatever that meant-the age of feminism! It was when women would rather see themselves in men's mirror, when they struggled to breathe enough hot airs to equal men's and when they abandoned the characteristics that define women to seek to become men. The folly of that era was that women sacrificed their greatest strengths to compete poorly in spheres they are not naturally fitted for.
But, perhaps, women came to the realisation that with their emotions and tears, they have conquered humanity. They suddenly came to the incontestable fact that women rule the world by those qualities that made them to be hitherto referred to as the weaker sex. Women must have suddenly came to the fact that they will not conquer men by measuring height with them but by stooping and deploying their reservoir of emotions to trap men and finish them off. This capacity to play the softer parts to conquer men has been the reason for the conquest of great empires and strong men in history. Run the check yourself!
Not all women have powers. Sone are mere empty cymbals. Not all women know how to deploy their natural powers to good use. Mothers are a special genre of womanhood who naturally are bonded to their offsprings by the bond of creation. In this role, a woman stands to wield extraordinary power over creation. But it is an irony that many women are bad mothers and by this, they lose the ability to use their God given powers to good effect. It sounds somehow strange that some women are bad mothers yet we have more women in this category than we have good mothers. Mothers have special vibes that bind them to their children and indeed the larger society. This motherly vibe grants women wider spheres to operate. It has an expansive capacity to widen its horizon and make mothers more powerful and effective.
My mother, my heroine, the matriarch of our race, my best specimen of a mother, Ezinne Paulina Chinyere Oparah, was a woman. She never sought to be like a man for the long period of time I knew her as my mother till she passed on on April 26, 2016. She was a quintessential woman; with all the hidden strengths and strong characters a typical good woman possesses. She was not only a woman; she was also a mother in the best variant possible. She was calm, subtle, humble, obedient and measured. She never stood toe to toe with my father or any other man. She never sought to compete with my father or any other man. She never sought equality with my father or any other man. She busied herself with her enormous and powerful roles as dutiful wife and dedicated mother. She tended to the needs of her husband, my father, and her children, grand children, sons and daughters in law, relations and other people that crossed her path. She was never possessed by the distractive idol of feminism but saw in her natural roles, the immense capacity to exert much influence on her husband, her children and indeed mankind. In this way, she was a very effective mother who exuded millions of watts of vibe.
To bring myself to write about my mother in the past was indeed a tough task. To get myself to pen this tribute was so difficult because the memories of my mother pulls on my heart string so powerfully that I still cannot fathom her in the past. Her passing was fleeting itself. Yes, my mother was ageing gracefully. The once robust and strong woman was getting bent and frail with age-related infirmity but she was still as crystal as the mother I had known since infancy. There was no forewarning of of her end as she embarked on the six-days terminal excursion to the hospital that ended her earthly sojourn on that sunny afternoon of Tuesday, April 26, 2016. She was the constant I had known since I hit cognition. During the last Mothers' Day celebration, our Parish Priest in my Lagos parish, after Mass, asked every other person except mothers to stand up and sing Prince Nicco Mbarga's ageless ode to womanhood, "Sweet Mother" to our mothers. I sang and sang and sang; for my mother as all aspects of the life of sacrifice she lived for me and my nine other siblings, our wives and husbands, our children and grand children, came gushing to my mind. I didn't know it was like a valedictory song to my mother! But in all, my mother's life was a thanksgiving of sorts. Hers was a bountiful harvest that defines a life well lived! My mother was indeed a success!
My mother was a solid compliment to my father. She was indeed moulded from his ribs. Just as a woman, my mother was just softer but still built with the same solid, stoic and impenetrable principles my father was built of. How my father met my mother, I don't know but all who got to know that match agree that it was a match made in heaven. My mother oozed the vibes of a mother to help shape our lives. She was not just a woman, but our mother; our mother! Together with my father, she imbibed all of us with rock solid principles that stands us in good stead to meet the challenges thrown by a more intricate world and more complicated humanity. With my father, my mother instilled discipline, diligence, hard work, integrity on us. They left us a vast heritage of truth and integrity and forewarned us that nothing could be achieved in life through the easy way. Put differently, we must work hard for everything that must come our way. There are no short cuts, they are no apiam ways. Every thing must come with sweat and determination.
My parents made us all to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. They had little means in terms of money or property but they had unquantifiable investments in solid principles that have helped us to this day. With their very limited fiscal means, they ensured all of us were adequately educated and equipped to face life's many challenges. They steadfastly brought us through the straight and narrow way and suffered us not to stray from that same difficult way. My mother was a humble woman who taught us self contentment, who bequeathed us with adequate innate capacities to excel wherever we find ourselves. My parents were very humble but uncompromising in the defence of people's rights and the pursuit of truth and justice. They made us know that whoever promoted the truth suffers diverse persecutions but that we should not be deterred by such afflictions. They taught us the beauty of unity and these they erected in our family through undisputed Christian upbringing. They taught us to respect but not fear any man and this we have upheld to this day. They taught us that good name is far greater than riches and for this, all of us, their offsprings have remained resolute in the pursuit of egalitarianism and the equality of all men.
I can exhaust a voluminous book to talk about my mother but till death, her vibe of motherhood remained a permanent umbilical cord that bond us together. It still endures as her crystal memories have replaced her physical presence. My mother, just like my father, was an uncompromising disciplinarian who never spared the rod in the delicate art of bringing up her ten children. I remember in our younger days, whenever we stray, our father, the unsmiling hard man he was, would often let his whip crack. My mother will urge him on for a while and then offer us respite from our father's trashing with 'ozuela' ( it is enough). She will practically ofer herself as a body shield to arrest my father's penchant to whip sense into us and immediately pull us by our ears to a quiet corner to offer a tortuous rebuke that will leave you wondering if it was not better to let the whip finish the punishment than endure our mother's tongue lashing. That was the combined therapy with which our parents brought us up. There was no room or means to pamper so one had to learn to arrest himself or else, our parents will do the arresting for us in a hard way. You can beat a mother's vibe! The long period she differed deprivation and went hungry to see us through school and responsible adulthood form fond memories of her, deeply etched in our hearts as we bid her an earthly farewell!
Physically, my mother's chapter will be closed when she is eventually interred on May 27th 2016. But then, like Caesar, who was adjudged mightier in death than in life, my mother, just like my fatter will continue to have an elevated presence in our hearts and in our family. Her motherly vibes will continue transmitting to us attributes to success. Her motherly vibes will continue urging us on to fulfill a mandate to pursue social justice and truth in a world that is fast getting intolerant to these sacred canons. Her motherly vibe will remain an indelible imprimatur in our family, our race and our dynasty. One promise we will make to you and our father is that we will never depart from the sacred paths yup and our father charted for us. We shall remain committed to truth, justice, egalitarianism and integrity, as you willed us to be.
My mother, our matriarch, our pride fades off physically like the morning star but her memory will remain for ever. Go in peace, Mma, laa n'udo Nwanyi Ukwu, Goodnight till we meet on resurrection morning. Amen!
Peter Claver Oparah
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