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Hlengiwe Binda Ntimba
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You are not my mother

21 February 2014, 12:44

Growing up my mother was very strict; I used to wish that other parents who were relaxed about certain things were my parents.  Sometimes I dreamt I lived in a mansion and I got everything I asked for instead of the structured life that had boundaries.   I would visit friends and before we even started having a conversation my sister would come fetch me, not for anything important – my mom felt more comfortable knowing where we were, what and with whom we were doing it with.

Fast forward 15 years I have adopted twins and the sensible adult in me knows that although right now they want to follow me everywhere I go, do everything with me and mimic everything I do, one day they will be teenagers and they will want to do things on their own without my input or advice.  It is my duty as a mother to guide, protect and nurture them through the adolescent stage but I am already anxious about that process.

They will slam doors; cry, scream and they will push the boundary and tell me the ‘you are not my mother’ story.  If this does happen I pray that I am reminded that when I was a teenager and I sometimes didn't like my mom much I had the same feelings.  

My responsibility is to teach them that adoption is just one fact about their lives and is no excuse for them to disrespect others and themselves.  It will never be an excuse for them not to succeed in life and it will certainly not be an excuse for them to feel unloved because as their mother I make sure that my face lights up when I am with them, I kiss and hug them so much that they ask me to stop sometimes, I notice every scratch they bring from day care, I cheer them on when they do well and even when they don’t do so well.  I am always on their side and their dad - well he is worse than me.  If it were up to him they would not even fall and scratch a knee.

Your are not my mom or dad will hurt but it will not stop us from loving them because we were once where they will be at that time and felt exactly the same way about our parents.  It could also be very different; they could go through this stage and not even be bothered by all that I am worried about and I might never have to deal with it.  As for me – I can only hope for the latter.

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