Who are some of the people who have inspired you in life and why? How have they been able to do so – is it by words, actions or very simply by being themselves?
Well today, I am inspired to introduce you to someone very special who has had a strong influence on my life just by being who she is – my mom.
Before we go any further, please permit me to put it out there that mom has raised 7 children (7 born from her womb and many others whom she's a mother to).
Yes 7! I am her first child, our youngest just turned 26. I am sure you agree with me that for this alone Ma Celine Abeng as she's popularly known deserves a serious round of applause! Mom is also grandma to 14 grandchildren (as of now).
My mom has always been a huge source of inspiration for our family, friends and for me personally. Her wisdom, quiet strength and dedication to family and community work have been unfailing over the years.
In many ways, we are blessed by the examples mama continues to set. She is that mother who has encouraged us through life, unassumingly allowing us room to be ourselves no matter what, always reminding us of how wonderful we are and how well we are doing.
Even after dad's unexpected passing in a car accident in 2003, she remained calm and steadfast in the face of what I still consider a very devastating moment we went through.
As I grow older (and especially now that I'm a parent myself), I can truly appreciate how mom seldom makes it about herself, more about us and well-being. Hardly critical, she guides; and gently voices her opinions, never forcefully pushing an agenda/demands upon us.
I do not remember ever feeling less of who I am in the presence of my mom, or guilty for what I should'a already accomplished in life. I don't remember feeling judged, criticized or sensing disappointment regardless of the many ups and downs life has dealt us and some family misunderstandings we have gone through. Rather, there's always a sense of appreciation, of thankfulness and optimism.
As her child, even in instances when I sensed she may have wished certain things to have turned out differently, she's never allowed such feelings to stand in the way of unconditional love and light, or to breed conflict.
In a world where we sometimes feel overwhelmed by life's demands or put down by others even when doing our best; where true friendships are rare and few are genuinely there for us, a mom like mine is truly one of God's most cherished blessings.
As a parent, I hope to have a similar impact on my kids so that they may blossom into who God created them to be. I hope they never feel like I stood in their way, but that I was there to support their decisions and guide them as best I could as a parent.
My mom holds leadership positions in many organizations in and around the city of Bamenda where our family resides. She actively engages in a wide-range of community based efforts, most importantly toward the development of our village Aghem-Wum. A teacher by profession (now retired), I have watched mama teach, sensitize and organize around issues (ranging from water projects to cultural awareness) that have benefited our people.
My mom is that beaming example of love, hard-work and togetherness that we have been blessed to grow up with, bask in and hopefully pass on. As our first teacher and strongest example, mom's influence runs deep in our family. She's a powerful role model.
In my professional walk, I feel blessed to have named my first business 'Santa Celina' (started in 1999) after mom. Santa Celina was a cyber cafe located in Douala (the economic capital of Cameroon ) that my sister and I managed; but had to sell when we both had to travel out of the country. That cafe which opened up many doors for me was the foundation of my journey as an entrepreneur.
Today, like I do everyday, I pause to honor my mom and to thank her for being who she is and has always been.
As we continue to pray for God's abundant blessings upon mom and all she does and engages in, I encourage you to reach out to those who have impacted your life in one way or another just to say "thank you".
You don't have to wait for mother's day or father's day, friendship day or mentor's day, etc … make it today and as often as you can – they will feel the love and you will too.
Thank you for reading and cheers to your success!