If you call me a ladies’ man you wouldn’t be too far from the mark. I love and have very deep respect for women in spite of the widely held believe that women are largely full of vice. Maybe God loves me specially or something but I haven’t met any woman who didn’t leave some positive impact on my life. I have met and dealt with quite a number of women in my life and I testify that I have found no fault in women other that which separates Man from God (what the spiritual person would call flesh) and the fallibility which the other gender brings on the female specie. We all seem to exist to sometimes make one another fall and sometimes, pick one another up. I do not think that anyone of us- man or woman is a better mortal than the other.
The first woman I met in my life-my mother is exemplary. I am sure that is one of the most important reasons for the soft spot that I have for women. I do not know how my mother got so blessed but she leaves some lasting impact on anyone who encounters her.
My mother hardly knew her own mother. My maternal grandmother died when her daughter, the only one she would leave in the world was an infant, so you could not say that my mum had the love of a mother which could have prepared her to be a good mother. Or could it be that her parents were led to give her the name Omowumi? That name, which literarily means “I love my child”, is the totality of my mother’s life. She could and would do anything for her children. As I and my siblings grew up, we discovered that this woman wasn’t interested in her children alone; she invested as much as she invested in her own biological children on the children of other people. She is one woman whose daughters-in-law would want to live forever; she gives no trouble to anyone, she does her best to make people happy without asking for anything in return. Above all, she has the fear of God and goes every possible length to plant that in the life of anyone she encounters. My mother prays without ceasing, she makes no fuss about anything, insisting that nothing matters like “making Heaven”
Then I have a wife who could only have been God sent. Again, her name, which in Ibo literarily means “my own will be for me” sounds divinely inspired. I have wonderful sisters, the best anyone could wish for. I have a wonderful daughter, who makes me laugh all the time, one for whom I trust God for a great future. I have countless wonderful female friends who have touched me in indelible ways. I have worked with and for women that I cannot forget
That is not to say that there are no bad women. There are bad women but of course in the same measure in which there are bad men. I remember, always remember the paraphrase from William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride “…Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned” again, I do not think that is peculiar to women but even if it were, I can only pray not to incur the wrath of any woman.
I do want anything to change my impression of the woman as a being full of love, compassion and sacrifices. I do not want anything to blur the love that I have received from women, the sacrifice of the nine months, the near death experience in the “labour” room, the life-time sacrifice of watching the infant’s head, the countless hours of fear that a child would die from a myriad of causes, the years of watching the child grow and then handing over the love of this grown up child to another woman or handing over the life of sacrifice to the girl-child as the case calls for eternal gratitude. A woman’s life is filled with an unceasing demand for sacrifices.
My sincere wish is that my mother would never die but knowing the inevitability of the final call, I take solace in the Ann Taylor’s prayer in the poem “My Mother” that God spares my life to reward my mother’s care and that when she is “feeble, old and grey, my healthy arm shall be her stay. And I will soothe her pains away” I pray that all women, who have lived up to the charge of their divine calling, grow old in grace and find children, biological or otherwise to soothe their pain away when they are feeble, old and grey. That is what every woman deserves.
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