The second oldest of five kids, my mother was an inquisitive and adventuresome child.
She’d often bring home the stray dogs of the neighbourhood, much to the chagrin of my grandparents, Philomena and Francis. If there was an animal that needed saving, Mom would jump right in. In fact, this habit of hers is still present today and I must admit, she’s passed it on to me.
Something else she’s passed on to me? A love of travel and a natural curiousity about the world. My parents immigrated to Canada in 1972 and in 1993 she returned to her homeland of Guyana for the first time since she moved away. Since that first trip, my mother has returned at least a half a dozen times. She had fallen back in love with her home country and whenever time and money allow, she returns for yet another trip.
Unlike me, who loves cities and urban areas, mom loves the countryside and wildnerness. Instead of spending a week in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana and the city she grew up in, my mother goes to the savannah to spend time on a cousin’s farm in Lethem and to see the rodeo; she goes to Karanambu Ranch in the Rupununi to see the giant river otters and sleep in a hammock under a benab; she even portages up a river, through the Guyanese portion of the Amazon Rainforest, and camps out in the bush where Howler monkeys act as her alarm clock in the morning. My mother is like Mowgli from The Jungle Book.
We may not get along all the time (we’re both stubborn as mules), she absolutely HATES my tattoos, and we often have different (and clashing) viewpoints on a majority of topics, but at the end of the day she’s still my Mommy. She embraces my writing, is often fearful of my travelling but gets excited nonetheless, and she’s appreciative when I’m able to cut our farm’s worth of lawn in one day.
Ma — happy birthday, old girl. Only a few more years before you can retire (and I promise I’ll be out of student debt and moved out of the house by then ;))!