Growing up with rich kids was not an easy task for me. Though I was considered to be one of them, I knew deeply that was not true. I failed to appreciate where I came from and that was the beginning of my end.
My parents were blinded by love and refused to listen to any advice that was offered to them in their youth. As a result, they eloped, as young as they were, to a faraway land. My mother thought her lover was the best thing that had ever happened to her and allowed herself to be exploited. When my father found out later that she was pregnant, he left. And despite attempts by my mom to abort me, I succeeded in my quest to visit earth. My mother was so ashamed to go back to her parents and there was no money to cater for the two of us. That was how our poverty story began.
My mother did all sorts of activities to fend for us but it wasn’t enough. She was determined to give me the best she could offer. She enrolled me in a school close by.
There, I was quite popular because I was a brilliant kid and won most of the awards the school offered. Eventually, I managed to secure a scholarship which was a big relief to my struggling mother and me.
As poor as I was, I only associated with rich kids and had to lie several times to fit into their high circles. The difficult aspect was remembering every lie I told. I began hating my mum for our current situation. “If you had been wise enough, we wouldn’t have been poor,” I always told her but in tears she always lamented, “You won’t understand!”
I hated her more and more as the days went by and denied her several times in front of my friends. I remember she once visited me in Senior High School in tattered clothes and I told my friends that she was our househelp! I was bent on succeeding in life and punishing her for the pain she had caused me. As idiotic as it may sound now, I wanted to pay her back for not giving birth to me into a rich family and I made it known to her. She apologised several times but they all fell on deaf ears.
Sooner than later I realized my happiness was fading. My performance in school was gradually dwindling. I knew there was something wrong but I couldn’t find its roots. My scholarship was almost taken away but by a miracle I was given one more chance by the scholarship agency. I needed someone to talk to but I couldn’t spill out my heart to any of my friends because I was scared they might dig up my actual personality; I was afraid they would find out who I actually was. I needed help…serious help!
That was when I remembered I had a mother. I remembered how she used to be there for me and sacrificed for my survival. I wanted to open up to her but I was scared that she would react and pay me back for all the pain I had caused her. But one day, I mustered courage and let out all my worries to her. My sweet, forgiving mother embraced me and gave me the emotional support I needed and I became joyful, more joyful than I had been in so many years!
I realised that to be happy, you have to make a conscious effort to accept who you are. Happiness is not found only in wealth or abundance but also in the little things and the love that surrounds us. My joy was revived.
Back in school, I declared my real identity and asked for forgiveness from friends for all the lies I had told them. Though, I lost a few friends, I didn’t really care because I knew there was someone back at home who loved me despite my ingratitude and folly. Someone who accepted me just as I was. Someone who had sacrificed her all for my survival. I promised never to make her sad and afterwards I counted the joy of my mother a blessing in my life. That was a very wise decision, a decision that brought me enormous success.
The love my mother exhibited can be likened to the love of God. For our sins He sacrificed His only begotten son but human as we are, we fail to appreciate the worth of this sacrifice and concentrate on the world but just like my mother, He is ever faithful and will receive us once we turn back to Him.
Remember your first love.
Writer: K. Ofori
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