she addresses me as ‘Rodah’ Yes, she yells ‘Rodah, lets go’ , ‘Rodah, where are my shoes?’ When I send her to you, she will come saying ‘Rodah says…’ She has never even considered calling me ‘Rawder’. We have come across people who consider this so wrong, and they keep telling her to call me ‘mom’. She gives them a killer smile and when we walk away she asks, ‘Rodah, what is wrong with this people?’ If she wakes up one morning calling me ‘mom’ I will take a few minutes to realize she is addressing me, it just sounds off.
When we started living together, it bothered me for a few minutes. What if I don’t get the respect? What if she never gets it and it confuses her for the rest of her life? What if she becomes an athlete and wins medals for Kenya, and I am not invited to Rio? I asked myself very many questions especially during our first year which was tough, getting to know each other and understand our family of two. We were totally strangers, we knew each other, but had never been ‘just the two of us’ for more than two days. My prayer was to know how to handle every situation, that she finds happiness under my tiny roof.
One day in school, she was told to write a composition about her mother. This is where I say ‘PEOPLE!!!!! SHE WROTE ALL ABOUT ME!! IT WAS ALL ME!!! SHE KNOWS FOR REAL AM HER MOTHER!!’ But I choose not to write that because I am a quite girl, collected and calm so let me compose myself and tell you this, ‘that was the best composition I have ever read’, she not only wrote about me, but wrote very nice things; the kind that gives me goose bumps, how I love reading, and praying, how I take her to nice places. Allow me not to reveal everything, It had all imaginable grammatical errors, but it gave me so much peace. She knows, I am her mother,and she silently observes what I do. Well if you insist, I am her role model.
My parents took great care of this great beauty for over six years. By great care I mean they did an amazing job! (They did not shave her hair!) So she knew my mother as ‘mom’ and my father as ‘dad’, for the times I spent with her, she heard everyone else calling me ‘Rodah’. I cannot sit her down and demand to be called ‘mom’, it doesn’t work that way. My mom enjoys the title, she has no idea there was a composition about ‘family’ and she was listed as ‘grandmother’ .
Using her words, ‘Rodah, why are people disturbed?’, why does she receive this lectures? Some find it so hilarious! We are so used to our lifestyle, being a parent is more than a title, it is more than a child yelling ‘mommy’. I believe there is much more, a parent is a verb not a noun. When you act it, the respect and love from your child is inevitable!