By Bayo Oluwasanmi
May 10, the second Sunday of May was Mother’s Day in North America and Canada. Mother’s Day is a day which gives children the opportunity to express their appreciation, gratitude as well as love to their mothers. It is a day for children to commemorate motherhood.
Mother’s Day is something everyone can relate to. Though celebrated at different times in different countries, the celebration cuts across regions, religions, castes, cultures, genders, and financial status. This is one of the most if not the most universal celebration. It’s devastating that our Chibok girls for the second time since their captivity are not part of this celebration.
For Nigerian mothers in North America and Canada and by extension of the human family, mothers throughout the world on this special day are estranged by the loss of Chibok girls. It surely must be a difficult, painful experience. Mother’s Day is therefore a reminder to all mothers in the world especially our Chibok mothers of what they don’t have – their children. It is hard for these mothers to see the future if they can’t see past today.
As we celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day, consider this: God chose mothers not fathers to bear responsibility of providing physical bodies for children through the miraculous process of pregnancy and birth. It is our mothers not our fathers who carry the greatest burden in life.
Our mothers think day and night about our well-being. They’re the first to praise us and comfort us. They’re the first to protect us when we’re in danger. They’re the ones who carried us and borne the pains of pregnancy and childbirth. They’re the ones who continue to carry us in their hearts. Mothers are everything to us. They kiss away our wounds. We run to them to a warm hug and love. For everything that we need we call mother.
Being a mother means participating in God’s greatest miracle. It is in this context that one can actually empathize and sympathize with our grieving Chibok mothers for the loss of their children to Boko Haram. Appreciating the uniqueness of motherhood, Thomas S. Monson said: “One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”
But how do we celebrate a Mother’s Day without our Chibok girls when thoughts of them in a Mother’s Day brings us pain, torment, and anguish? Mother’s Day for women who have lost their children for whatever reason and more so to Boko Haram abductors is unlike any other day of the year. There is an old Jewish saying: “God could not be everywhere at once, so he gave each child a mother.” The pain of loss may be especially poignant for our Chibok mothers. It’s a hard Mother’s Day to celebrate.
Our Chibok mothers may feel incomplete, sad, helpless, hopeless, and lonely as mothers without their children, though they’re among the heroes of motherhood. They’re a sisterhood of women who have learned so much the hard way. They know that life doesn’t hold guarantees. They know that love isn’t about what you get, but what you give.
These mothers have endured over 365 sleepless nights of recurring nightmares, dark days, and still counting in what seems impossible and difficult circumstances and yet they’re still standing. No doubt, Julie B. Beck spoke on their behalf when she said “there is no limit to what a mother can accomplish, righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so.”
Motherhood is a natural and very strong bond between a mother and a child. We all have emotions binding us to our mothers. Mother’s Day is the day that celebrates the essence of a mother that none of us can afford to miss. Each Mother’s Day celebrated without the Chibok girls is done with a twinge of sadness.
It is not hard to imagine what these mothers are going through during the festive period in celebrating the reason for their existence without their girls. I can see them stand frozen with their mouths open and tears streaming down their faces. Each Mother’s Day brings a bittersweet memories filled with trauma of abuse and rape of abandoned and abducted children.
April 15, 2014 over 200 girls were kidnapped from the government secondary school Chibok, Borno State. For months, President Goodluck Jonathan the chief security officer of Nigeria denied the abduction of the girls by keeping a deafening silence hoping that over time the issue will peter out. But thanks to the “loudmouthed” Dr. Oby Ezekwesili who took up the gauntlet and launched #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Ever since, the campaign has gone viral.
As one of 2015 100 most influential people in the world, TIME magazine said without Oby, the awareness created about the abducted Chibok girls would have taken even more time. “Some people will say she is too loudmouthed. The loud mouth is needed. People hear it,” TIME said. “Even before she became the champion of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Ezekwesili was already a leading voice in Nigerian politics.”
Mothers are the focal point of our lives, the greatest divinity on earth. They’re the greatest blessing of God on us. There is no way we can ever really thank our mothers especially the mothers of our abducted girls.
To all our Chibok mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!