Super Mawi. I would never have thought that this is where I would be at 34. With a daughter so full of life who literally defines mine. No jokes. This is the story of a little girl who taught me what my role as a mother is, in just 20 minutes.
This weekend a very creative mom on my mom group asked us if we wanted to partake in (yet another) Corona/ Stay Home/ Lockdown challenge. I readily accepted because well, I love these things and I also like that Mambo and I get to do something fun together, for a platform that is as much hers as it is mine. I speak of the Instagram page, of course.
Time to think. The brief was that we are superheroes and we can make up our own outfits. Challenge accepted. Now. There are pretty standard superhero outfits out there that instantly turn you into a superhero. All manner of figure-hugging bright colored spandex, masks, cat ears, red capes, gold boots, ripped shorts, lightning bolts- tones. One problem. We have none in our house save for a Superman T-shirt I bought your father one Christmas. Bless that guy, he has so many socks, t-shirts and mugs… I digress. So I accepted another personal challenge. I would make something meaningful for both of us.
My basic go to has always been black. So I picked out our black outfits and laid them out. Thinking about shoes was interesting, because though we both possess wellington’s, I much preferred our adventure shoes. If anyone knows Mambo and I well, you will know it’s a good adventure day when we are in our Chuck Taylor All Stars (she wears size 6 now, I wear 5. Just in case anyone feels like making a brand donation). So I laid those out too. Now for the capes. This took me a little time. I thought of the red, the lightning bolts, and even if they were completely necessary at all. They were, and I had the perfect idea. I have a cupboard full of African print cloth from all over. I will not get into the politics of where they are manufactured or even how the Germans and Dutch marketed something to us that is someone else’s. Let’s look at now. Now, as what we have and how these cloths are identified- now. They are ours. We are African and I want my child to be proud of her cape, not as a girl, as an African. I wanted her cape to be genuine and authentic and something that I hope she will pick up and understand in the future when she needs to make a statement.
The cloth I picked out for Mambo was actually given to her by a superhero aunt, Mona. Who brought the fabric to another superhero aunt Michelle’s 30th birthday. I will never forget that magical weekend. It was absolutely amazing. I will tell you all about Mona one day Mambo, how she held my hand unknowingly through a complete jungle, and made a small part of my journey epic. Hopefully though, by the time you read these, she will have already blessed your life in so many more ways than one small chitenge that probably meant more to all of us than she intended. That was the special cape for you. Just know that there is love in that cape. That you are loved. Though that cape does not define you, it is authentically yours.
Mine was a special selection to match yours, that came from my own mom. It is one of two that I got from one of her trips to Mozambique and I have had it for over 10 years now. That kapulana has bereka’d you, and covered both you and Muvaki. It has accompanied me on many travels in my life. Kept me safe from the elements, been spread on the floor to sit on at picnics and still mostly functions as a head wrap to protect my hair. It’s mostly my crown. Fitting. It’s definitely a necessary item for a superhero outfit.
I walked out and asked your father what he thought.
Tatenda’s demeanour is generally disinterested, but he obliges. I believe this guy really loves me, for all the times I have disturbed him when I need a picture taken (or 10) and he does so, gently, patiently, even waiting to make sure I like the pictures. He knows I will provide some sort of a brief and he can exercise some kind of artistic freedom.
He thought for a minute and then said, ‘You both have goggles, why don’t you add those?’ Genius. Within 5 minutes you and I were running around outside, goggles on our eyes, capes fluttering in the wind.
If I could freeze moments from life, this would be one of those. We have been up many nights this week because you have been coughing badly. The year is 2020, the month of our Lord April, and by now you may have learnt in history class of THE COVID19. I still don’t know what impact it will have on us in the future, but it’s a trying time. This is why you have not yet been to the doctor. Grateful for Aunty Phu and Aunty Lesedi’s Doctor friend Bongi who have literally held my hand through this.
Anyway. If I could freeze this moment, I would. The sound of your voice (complete with phlegm stuck in your throat) and your laughter is still ringing in my ears. You were so excited. Best of all, you really believed we were superheroes on the case. In your mind, superheroes fly and run around. I was happy to be your co-pilot. You ran until I was uncomfortable. Thinking about your almost 3 year old chest and what we would have to endure in the evening when it was time for medicines and a story left me anxious.
This incredibly simple get-up and simple activity that lasted all of 20 minutes was enough for you to be Super Mawi, me to be Super Mommy and for us to be on the case. I am honored to always be on the case, by your side, for as long as you need me.