The plan to surprise Mrs. Bolatito Makanjuola on her 72nd birthday was executed with clinical precision. All thanks to her daughter, Dr. Olamide Alabi and siblings for pulling off the unique moment.
Exclusive invites were sent to close family, friends and acquaintances who all gathered at the Esplanade banquet and conference center, Cordova, Tennessee. Guests enjoyed maximum entertainment including live music by Asikoh Jide, Stand up comedy by Femi Obama and assortment of continental cuisine.
TRIBUTE by Olamide Alabi: Mum, I use your story all the time to counsel couples going through a rough time. You supported Dad’s vision of becoming a lawyer and for so many years, you became the bread winner. You single handedly paid our Staff School fees of 55 Naira x 4, (which was a lot of money in the 70’s), you shouldered many responsibilities and never for a second lose your respect for your husband. All but one of your children holds a master’s degree. What a wonderful way to build a strong future for your family.
My Mum gave birth to six biological children, lost one and raised more than seven. There was never a time, we didn’t have numerous family members live with us, majority were from my Dad’s side but we didn’t know the difference.
My Mum is generous, loving, kind hearted and her children and grandchildren think the world of her. She is so giving, she gives her time, her food, her money, her possessions, she really lives by the ‘what is mine is yours’ rule.
There are so many stories of her sacrifices that I will never forget, but one especially stands out. In 1990, my Dad drove her car; Toyota Panel Van (OY 24 BD), to the Faculty of Agric to check my Rain semester results, within minutes of getting to the premises of Fac of Agric, robbers stole my Mum’s Shalake, where it was parked. The car was never found, (my results that semester were not worth losing a car over), and Mum never for once blamed my Dad for driving her car or questioned why he didn’t drive his own Igala. She was more worried about his state of mind. Talk about sacrifice. And my Dad loved and doted on her, he was never shy about hugging and kissing her, even in our presence. Lesson learnt: There is no way you will put a man first all the time and he will not reciprocate, unless he is mentally ill.
Mum is a prayer warrior. She fasts one day a week for as long as I can remember. For your 70th, you didn’t want us to throw you a party, all you wanted was to go Umrah and pray.
I love you very much and I’m sorry Mum for some of our minor spat. Why would anyone disagree with someone with so many sterling qualities? Iya Lamide cannot keep a secret, so she trusts everybody with her stories. To make matters worse, I married a very private man, who guards his stories jealously. For example, when he became a Professor at the age of 40, he specifically requested not to share the news with anyone in Nigeria, unfortunately, Iya Lamide was visiting then, and she shared the news with only one person, needless to say that congratulatory messages were flying in from Naija the follow day, even though my Mum only told one person, who probably worked at Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria.
I love you all the same Mum. Happy Birthday. I cannot equal you in nobility. Less so can I ever climb your heights of sacrifice. But I know that I will never forget, for the length of my days, that I am blessed with a mother who is extraordinary in every way.
by Tosan Aduayi in Memphis, TN – 9033091172