I was getting my mum ready for this photoshoot I had planned; we were picking outfits from her wardrobe, picking the right wig she would wear, picking the right color of lipstick and whether or not she wants me to draw a pencil on her eyebrows when my dad entered her bedroom staring at us quizzically; wondering what we were up to.
‘’Omo mi fe se photoshoot fun mi,’’ she said. I had made a mess of her room trying to find the exact outfits I wanted her to wear. On a normal day, that would have been wrong. But on this day, I was allowed to make a mess of things just to find the perfect fit. She was excited for me; I was excited for her. Dad chuckled and left us to ourselves.
We did not use to have this intimacy – my mum and I – I was a little kid who feared her mother. She was disciplined and strict especially on me because I was the first child and only female of the family. The fear grew into contempt in my teenage years and presently into a sense of understanding that we are two different people who just need to find a common ground to learn what we like about each other. I am 24 now and our relationship has grown due to trust and my mum’s confidence in my search for independence. With me, I came to realize that my mum is growing up simultaneously as I am, she is no longer the woman I grew up with when I was 10. Family inter-relationship works better when you let go. It is from there the excitement begins.
My mum is a nurse, a midwife, and a psychiatric nurse. She works at the State government hospital in Osogbo, she has a master’s degree in social work and she is currently in the middle of getting her degree in nursing. Right now, she is one of those essential workers who have to go to their place of work regardless of the global lockdown. She is relentless in chasing her dreams which makes it impossible for me to become anything less in life. When you have a mother like that, it keeps you motivated. But what keeps me in awe of her is how her brain works. It is a calculative brain. She mentally prepares a list of the important stuff she needs to do and goes ahead to do those things. When I first told her about this shoot, she agreed after we picked a date. She enjoys using her free time to relax and bond with us, so you need to come up with a good reason why you want to disrupt her schedule. She must have agreed because it was me. I remember her telling my dad this after the shoot ‘’I have to support my daughter’s work’’.
I am sure my parents do not understand why I chose this route even though I studied something different in university. But they never made me feel like my ideas are not valid. She might not get the point of this shoot, but by god, she will show up and have a good time.
I found the dress I was looking for – a sparkling red and black dress made out of a fabric we both own – and I quickly arranged the accessories I wanted her to wear with it. My brother was going to be part of the shoot but he was not ready to get dressed until I was done with mum’s makeup. It was 11 in the morning, the sun was high in the sky, sweat was sticking on our skins, so we moved to our balcony to get prepared.
My brother is the only sibling I have, him and I grew up together for most of our lives. He has been my brother since I was four years old, so imagine the relationship we would have. It was mostly him and I hanging out at home, fighting, playing, watching movies together and our bond has really grown over the years. However, no matter how close we were, the bond my brother shares with my mother will always be greater than our bond. We all know mothers have a soft spot for their last child. I see it every time. Sometimes I point it out to my mum especially when she does not wish to admit it and sometimes, I just let it reveal itself. They act similarly – mother and son – it is uncanny. I really want to stress the qualities they both share but I don’t wish to ruin the intimacy. Does it happen to you too? Your impulse to keep some things as a secret not because it is bad or anything like that, but because you want it to remain special. You are the only one who knows these things about your family and unless it is a story worth sharing, you want it to remain with you. That’s the story of my life. It has been really difficult for me as a writer to balance my privacy with my literary ambition. i want to share more about my childhood, the ones I am comfortable sharing because I do believe that my stories matter. Man, I had a lot of beautiful memories and I do not want them to fade away in my mind. I want to write them out. I might just let myself go.
The photoshoot happened in our house. It was not like I had another choice; we were stuck at home due to the lockdown and I cannot afford a studio session right now. The backdrop was a DIY idea I got from a photographer I follow on Instagram @soggiesnuggles. She posted something similar on her page and she gave me tips on how to set it up by myself. (Shout out to creators who are helpful on social media). The photo/video shoot was the funniest I had ever experienced with anyone, and the fact that it was my family just made it so intimate. Mum did a great job adhering to my every direction, it was seamless. That was my plan. I did not want to make a montage of my mum with her staring straight into the camera with no smile on her face; trying to look serious. No. what I wanted to be a hearty yet natural piece I could come back to in ten years and see my mother and my brother in, truthfully. I wanted a piece that would depict the relationship between my mum and my brother. I wanted a photograph.With this video, I hope I would be able to show you some of that bond between them alongside their faces and their smiles and their goofiness. Mother’s Day appears almost every month of the year and sometimes I don’t remember, but I am really happy I made something just for her. I hope she likes it.
Happy Mother’s Day.
You can watch the video via this link below