My mother is not perfect but I'll celebrate her goodness
It is Mothers' Day on Sunday.
The gifting and sweet messages around the date always excites fond memories about my own mother.
The lady is lovable and has managed to bond our family with tears, compulsory prayers and a sweet alto whisper voice about everything that hurts her.
She has however, been distinctly dubious and mildly scandalous over the odd decades of our precious relationship.
I was the breadwinner at home for quite a few years. I would give her my bank card on payday and watch her slip it into her bosom and see the pride in her face as she appreciated that her years of raising me had ensured that she lives a dignified life.
Then one day, she did not return the card. My only worry was her whereabouts, and especially her safety.
Only, I would be confronted by her sisters (who have mostly been her wing men in her misadventures) with news of how temptation had led her to a casino with my salary and her luck ran out.
While she had not been a churchgoer for the best parts of my life, she eventually committed herself to Christianity and was honoured with membership in the church's women's brigade. We were all proud of her, she had found purpose in life.
That is until she offered to sell most of our family land to her church for only R2,500, without consulting us.
Then she called the entire congregation to bring a prayer for me at home, knowing very well that I am not Christian.
Thankfully, they thought my sister was the ailing Kwanele, and the entire sermon was directed at her.
I once had to pay off a Mashonisa debt for almost a year!
The debt ran until that awful man passed away.
I am bad with face recognition and did not really know the man very well. But he would call me out at the local tuck shop while I was busy buying a white loaf and airtime, and remind me that I still owe interest on my account. I still don't know how much my mother had borrowed, or where it all went.
But then she is the same woman who has been paying for my son's schooling and transport when I quit work out of her government pension grant.
She taught him prayer and read him the Bible, and a few other books.
She would wake up at 5am every day to make sure he was ready for school, and learned how to use Google on her phone, so she could assist him with homework.
Best of all, she was sitting outside the theatre when I gave birth, and volunteered to raise my son when I had to move to a different province in order to advance my career.
MaMhlongo is not perfect. But all her goodness and warmth has always outweighed her dodgy shenanigans.
This Sunday, I will celebrate all that she is, and especially her light.