Mothering Without a Mother – Send Me The Manual

Mothering Without a Mother – Send Me The Manual

Mothering Without a Mother has been put into a series that shall be posted here once in a while. In honour of Mother’s Day this weekend, I decided to hit up a long-lost loved one through my repurposed Apostrophe archives. One for the creative writing readers to savor. Bet 🙂

My word is my guard, a prisoner of words unsaid. The chains that bind me to my writings have set me free again. Sent me fleeing again. I dropped a question on death’s plate, I got a munching beyond all other fruit of life. I have measured out my life with coffee spoons, and it is of solid weight by long fingers. I couldn’t ask for anything else but a sign. A sign that no matter how long mum has not talked to me, how long dad has not laughed with me, how wide the evening is spread out against the sky, how unfortunate the falcon cannot hear the falconer, I shall hack this motherhood thing without them.

I had no unflinching desire to rip into this level of discreet. Nobody would willingly sit back and watch me travel into several pathways of my seemingly infinite imagination after recollecting myself in big luxurious swaths of serenity. This mom thing is my new home. I managed to wedge myself in that comfortable spot alright. A spot only my mother could fill. Oh, the irony.

I am tired. Of missing my mother with a ferocity that carves into my gut. Of hearing my mom this my mom that chatter from fellow humans with maternal advantage. They shower their mothers with living praises, I shower you with letters of dying memories. All I’m left with. I mean who would blame them anyway? Mothers are the greatest thing that can ever happen to anyone’s life, right? Instead, death chose you.

In my otherworldly, we live just the two of us. Every morning is a promise for better days. We are wreathed in smiles and with a glimmer of hope that we shall survive for eternity. We sit by the fire at night, having endless conversations from women empowerment to sports to caregiving in motherhood, to social life to mood swings, to significant others…

Reality snaps back, it dawns on me that I was just writing my dreams on a website. I am a dreamer of all impossibilities known to mankind. Every trial to fit into the society pulls me back to the harsh truth that I am a loner who lost her best friend, you! I overlook chances, simply because you are not here. You have the guidelines with you. A huge responsibility to throw onto someone unavailable – lazy on my part. I saunter for miles to seek for your intervention but all I spot is an abyss of shadows. I do afford plastic smiles though. So please Mama Lila, talk to Mama Mandla. Tell me if the choir is practising, if Solomon finally settled down, who are the latest arrivals from the rest of the world, when is the second coming.. anything.

Before I seethe at how motherhood is overwhelming, enlighten me on how eternity calms your soul. Talk to me. How is dad pulling through? It’s been 8 years now. I imagine both of you strolling holding hands along the streets of 7th heaven, gawking at each other then he pulls off his signature laugh! I miss Him, how we would fall about laughing whenever he pronounces something with a heavy accent.

You never replied to the other engagement letter. I bet you were so busy, that I took inventory of my life in might-be-wedded-bliss and did it for you…

“Her gown, a perfect fit. She had designed it herself I was sure. A mixture of modern and medieval, of the retro-relevant and wildly fanciful. The room she was in, a mess. It bothered me as to why her crew was compelled to leave her alone in that filth. It was a large straggling building by the looks of it, very old in the centre. Not a place one would fancy mouthing soft congratulations. I gazed around, an odor of age and regret pervaded the whole crumbling building. Her outdoorsy youth would cringe at this obvious contrast on display.


My perfectionist genes were under massive threat. Suffice it to say, the room had the measured elegance of something you would look at lovingly only when under the influence of something lethal. A quiet desperation that could so easily be lifted with just a little bit of courage. There should be some glorious epiphany in all of this, but this one here was real struggle.


We know more than we can tell. I had not seen my daughter for almost a year. To be brutally honest, I lost track of her. 16 solid years of queuing up every evening at the Watch Tower (as we’d call it) to catch a glimpse of what’s happening on the other side of the road took a toll on me. Although it reeked of selfishness on my part, it was sensible to do that.


I let her down in so many unthinkable ways, I chose afterlife. I observed her pubescence from a distance. A seamless transition to full womanhood turned chaotic and miserable. Right when she needed me most, I bailed out. To watch her go through the motions was not a plan. She had to heal and move on without me. I reached out but felt the separation of an invisible chasm. That there was the cue to head back to my reality.”

Life has robbed us the chance to talk about this eye to eye. Today I had an eerie dream that the world was ending. Our house was tumbling down like the August House in censure, everyone was running for their lives but I couldn’t abandon you. I vowed to stick with you. You looked fatigued and sickly. I wanted to break down, but you asked me to be strong. Seeing you again was euphoric, I was elated. You asked me if I was hungry if I craved to devour your delicious chapatis. With much effort, you tried to get up but in vain. I wanted to hold you forever. Then I saw dad! He was lying somewhere, I stretched out my arms to hug him but he disappeared.

My hands were stroking your right cheek whilst you kept looking at me. It’s like you saw how I badly wanted to speak with you. I know my eyes told the story. I was sapping my tears in your silky taffeta gown asking myself endless questions. No sooner had you whispered something to my left ear for the right to hear, than I WOKE UP! I feel you were going to tell me that you love me so much, well I love you too. Over and over again.

My corky stretched phallanges can’t reach you,

neither can my hoarse froggy quakes stir you

my every step forward cannot bring me into your vicinity,

neither however culverted,

can my nose breathe in your fragrance anymore,

so widely and wildly opened and lighted,

my pupils won’t see you,

not as of your being miles afar,

not as of the valleys and hills between,

not as of the changing winds

you aren’t wailing loud enough

and we remain orphaned,

despite our parenting in this world.

Dreams reveal truths and half-truths but was it all a lie? I chose this medium knowing too well it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I gambled, it paid off, for plenty years, now my anxious self is back at it. Why should I write you an Apostrophe anyway? I had no intentions whatsoever of dusting your place with my craft. The ideal world expects that I grieved enough, demands that I grow the hell up and strike out on my own.

Yet, a dark cloud lingers trying to squeeze the life out of me and shake my hopeful faith. I show no emotion. Such a young at heart lady carries so much burden that she’s willing not to share. Such a bubbly being has shut herself out of the fun with excess force strangling life with bare hands that should otherwise be embracing all the love surrounding her.

“I have no desire to be comforted by the fantasy that my parents are now peacefully re-united.”

I’m confident that if I pull a Wikileaks on these mails, heads will roll. Like I cared. You were my urban high, the reason why I still am consumed by these thoughts. A search party is assembling for counsel. Relying on my network for ideas has me dumbing down so send me the manual for a woman who happens to be with child and writes on the Internet.

Happy Mother’s Day.



  1. Bellah
    May 10, 2018 / 9:05 pm


    • lila
      May 11, 2018 / 11:34 am

      To you as well

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