Enate! Mother The cornerstone of the Ethiopian family. Where our stories begin and end. In Ethiopia, like most places around the world mothers are the cornerstone of the family. Mothers bare the children, are nurturing, supportive and have unconditional love for their children. The love between a mother and child are absolute. It is the type of love that no one else could ever possibly understand. For that reason mothers have always been protective of their children; ready to pounce on anyone who tries to harm her child.
My mother is Ethiopian. So my point of reference is only the Ethiopian mother. Ethiopian mothers are the ultimate care givers. My mother is always trying to feed me, clothe me, and do anything she can to make my life as easy as possible. She is a small petite woman but she has the strength of no other human being. She can look at you and strike fear inside of you. She is the sweetest person, but as a child and a young adult I know that if I do something to disappoint or anger her, her wrath will be unbearable. So I just don’t (or at least try not to). I keep mommy happy and she keeps me happy. I am always in awe at my mother’s unconditional love. She has sacrificed so much, in the name of love of her children. Not only that, she has also stepped in and played the role of mom to her nieces and nephews after her sister passed away. Of course no one could replace a mother, but she felt that she wanted to share her motherly love with them in their greatest times of need.
My mother, like so many other Ethiopian mothers, came to America a place she did not know or grow up and raised her children here. She had to learn a new culture, a new language and then had children in the United States. She didn’t know how American parents raised their children or what was going on in the houses of the other kids (and really she didn’t care). She didn’t care, she was going to raise her kids the best way she knew how….turns out her way was pretty darn good if I do say so myslef 🙂 ! She did know one thing, she was going to be sure that her kids knew where they came from, loved where they came from and were proud of where they came from. We went to school and she did not allow us to doubt ourselves or where we come from. She instilled self confidence in us. She loved us with all our flaws, and showed us what it meant to care for others. I watched her care for her family, friends and husband (my father). She showed me what it meant to be a woman that respects herself and others. She taught me what to wear and what not to wear. She showed me how to love unconditionally, and how to do things not because you expect something in return but because it was the right thing to do. She taught me the social norms and customs of the Ethiopian culture. She taught me how to blend into American culture. She taught me her native language and food and dance.
My mom never sat down and directly “taught” me all of the things I listed above. However, by watching her I learned all of the above. Her boldness and ability not to let anyone ever tell her what she can and cannot do has encouraged me to do the same. She challenges every obstacle put in her place and questions everything placed before her. She does not take no for an answer. She has taught me to do the same. She has taught me to think for myself, take risks and spread my wings and fly. Hearing her talk about her life experiences (those details are for another post at another time) gives me confidence that I can overcame any and all obstacles that may come my way in life. Knowing I have her genetic coding is the best thing ever! She is Amazing and I love her very much. To have come from such a great woman is a true blessing. I hope that thus far we have made her proud and in the future only make her prouder.
I could go on and on for days about my mom and all Ethiopian moms, but that’s enough for now. Share your thoughts memories and what your mom has done for you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommys, Especially mine! Thank you for all that you do, all that you’ve done!