By Yomi Garnett

I lost my mother at 9am on the 11th Day of March in 1989. She was only 47 years old. She was a Princess of the Obaro Royal House of Alu-Igbagun in Kogi State of Nigeria. She was beautiful. She was svelte. She was chic. She was elegant. She was the epitome of sheer feminine grace, and unalloyed allure. She would look at me, give me a wicked wink, and say, “Yomi, one day some beautiful woman will take you away from me. Let us prepare you for her. Come!”

With that she would launch onto the intricacies of skin care, hair grooming and body care. By the time Princess Alice Titilayo was through with me, I had been transformed into a totally sophisticated, consistently well-groomed and perfectly well-appointed Gentleman of Impeccable Taste!

It is with totally consuming nostalgia that I remember her constant refrains:
“Yomi, a gentleman speaks impeccably at all times.”
“Yomi, a gentleman treats a lady like a Queen at all times.”
“Yomi, a gentleman combines the colors of his clothes to perfect visual taste.”
“Yomi, a gentleman is urbane, cultured and polished at all times,”
“Yomi, a gentleman leaves a tip for the waiter after exemplary service.”
“Yomi, a gentleman is simply that: A gentleman for all seasons.”

Today is Mother’s Day. I celebrate her. And I celebrate all the beautiful women and mothers of the world. I celebrate you all with this simple treatise on the traits of the Mother of Purpose, as exemplified by my own mother:

  1. She adapts to change with infinite ease.
    She accepts, in good faith, that there are times when things may not necessarily work out as she quite expected. She refuses to be affected negatively by such circumstances. Rather, being proactively flexible, she adapts in order to move forward.

  2. She does not complain.
    She recognizes that complaining is not only an exercise in futility, but also drains her of valuable spiritual energy that should be deployed to seeking creative solutions to the problem.

  3. She insists on deploying her time to productive pursuits.
    She is inclined to proper time management. She is prompt to attending to her child’s needs. She plans her time time productively for the effective accomplishment of her goals for her children.

  4. She is self-motivated.
    Possessing a strong sense of personal drive, she is capable of taking the initiative without the need for prompting by others.

  5. She is always ready to go the extra mile.
    She will do anything to nurture her children, and make them bask in the love of authentic parenthood.

  6. She is always willing to lend a helping hand.
    Realizing that no one can exist as an island, she understands that everybody needs help at some point, and as long as she is able, she rides on a vehicle of compassion to continue to lend a helping hand to her children, even after they have left home.

  7. She freely forgives.
    She resolutely refuses to hold a grudge, nor does she resent those who have hurt her in the past. She is more inclined to chalk up the entire episode to experience, and thank them for making her a stronger person.

  8. She is happy about, and celebrates the success of her children.
    She consistently prays for, and is ecstatic about the success of her children, and the children of other mothers.

  9. She employs every obstacle as a learning platform.
    Whenever she is faced with a challenge, she sees it as an opportunity to learn and grow, being only too aware that, in any adversity of whatever magnitude, there is the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

  10. She loves unconditionally.
    She knows that God, in His basic essence is love. She knows that, without love, she is nothing. She knows that loving unconditionally is the key to true happiness, because of which, she is happiest when the people she loves are happy.

  11. She is willing to let go.
    She realizes that dwelling in the past is totally unproductive, so she can freely let go of what she can’t change, and focuses instead on changing what she is able to change.

  12. She is fearless.
    She knows for a fact that courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. And she knows that courage can only be developed by acting courageously anytime courage is called for. Therefore, she chooses to be strong, and overcome fear with inner strength and positivity.

  13. She is able to see things from a different perspective.
    She refuses to be stuck with just one perspective in trying to resolve an issue, because she knows that, at times, a broader vision is required for her to have a clearer view of her present location, and her ultimate destination.

  14. She fully comprehends her strengths, and her weaknesses.
    She appreciatively recognizes what she is good at and polishes those strengths to the point of excellence. She humbly acknowledges her weaknesses, and she works hard to improve on them.

  15. She compassionately feels the pain of others.
    She is compassionate to human suffering. She recognizes that compassion actually involves putting herself in another’s shoes, imagining what it would be like to feel another’s pain, and taking the focus off herself for a moment, she feels love for the person.

  16. She is content.
    She is grateful for what she has, and thankful to the people who have helped her along the way. She also knows that it is contentment that makes one rich, and discontent that makes one poor.

  17. She never gives up.
    Realizing that she must build her castle one brick at a time, giving up becomes a non-existent option for her. She knows that, as long as she perseveres, she will eventually reap the glittering dividends of an indomitable spirit.

  18. She believes totally in herself.
    Having developed a totally positive self-image, she knows that despite the ups and downs of life, she will eventually achieve her goals and vision to become the magnificent person she is destined to be.

  19. She loves herself.
    Indeed, she loves herself totally, and unconditionally. She knows that, for others to love her, she has to love herself first.

Yomi Garnett, MD

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