By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
THERE are no cards, gifts, or any material items for that matter, that can express the love a child has for their mother.
This sentiment shared by the Bahamian women who spoke to Tribune Woman ahead of Mother’s Day this Sunday.
Speaking about their “mommies”, they talked about the adventures they shared and the lessons they were taught in childhood.
Asked what her mother means to her ‘Happy Foods’ founder and host Sasha Lightbourne simply said, “Everything.”
The TV show producer said she sees her mother, Virgil Lightbourne, as the nucleus and the heartbeat of the Lightbourne family.
“Without her I am nothing. In many ways I am very much like her, so everyone likes to say. And so much of who I am is because of the phenomenal woman that my mother is. She is a huge part of my success as well as my older brother’s success. Because of her, and our father of course, I think we are the successful citizens that we are,” said Sasha.
Her mother taught her how to be strong, how to never give up and “to just keep swimming”. Sasha said she was always told that the world is her oyster, and that she had the backing of her family and God.
Like Sasha, Raquel Pinder’s mother, Kena Deveaux, is also the strength of her family. A two-time breast cancer survivor and mother of four girls, including Raquel, Mrs Deveaux always provided the best and taught valuable lessons pertaining to life and God.
“So many times life just happened to be a little more than expected, but she showed love with a smile,” said Raquel, founder of the Beauty Beyond Feelings organisation.
“I remember every morning on the way to school she would anoint me with oil and pray God’s protection over me. She would start her prayer like this, ‘Lord as I come to you today, not on the strength of my own, but in the strength of your son Jesus’... and she would finish with her request and thanksgiving. Today, I start my prayer with the same pattern as she did back then. I know what beauty means because she’s my mother.”
Raquel said her mother taught her to never stop praying because it changes things; she also fostered her daughter’s belief in her self-worth. Raquel said she will never know what it means to stand alone because her mom has taught her to know that God is always beside her.
Meanwhile, Hollaback! Bahamas Director and activist Alicia Wallace said her mother, Jill Wallace, has personified many of the values and virtues which she herself now is working on within herself and which she wants to share with others.
Alicia said her mother is never too tired to listen, to push her, or to show up when needed, and she somehow manages to strike the perfect balance between acknowledgement of her capacity as a human being and a resolve to defy perceived limitations.
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen her endure more loss and pain than I could have imagined, and marvelled at her ability to live with both strength and vulnerability – a testament to the dichotomy of black Caribbean womanhood. There’s no one who believes in me more, challenges me more, cheers me on more, clears the way more or champions me more than my mum. Named Atlantis’ Employee of the Year, my mum is a shining example of resilience, dedication and blooming where planted. She is what it means to be more,” said Alicia.
“She told me more than once, ‘You’d better never love anyone better than you love yourself.’ This has become a critical part of my life and a statement I frequently revisit to ensure that I do no harm to myself or the people around me as I advocate for the rights of others.”
Vernique “Nikki Jae” Henfield said her mother, Elaine Jennifer Henfield, is an absolute blessing in her life. The lifestyle blogger said from the moment she entered this world, her mom has and is still fulfilling the mother role in an exceptional manner.
“If it is in God’s will, when I become a mother, I will exemplify the love and nurture the same way my mother did. She is my best friend, confident, advisor and more. It is hard not to love such a genuine, selfless individual. As a child, my mother taught me the importance of reverence to God and to trust Him on a daily basis. She also instilled in me the importance of gaining an education. She ensured that I successfully completed all levels of education, from pre-school to university. She reminded me to give without expecting to receive and to treat others with respect,” said Nikki Jae.
As for me, Alesha Cadet, the song “Mother” by R&B singer Ashanti perfectly depicts my relationship with my ‘Superwoman’ – Betty Cadet-Deal. She has taught me strength, gave me guidance, and whenever faith was lost she was there to find it. The song’s lyrics say, “And all because a mother’s love is unconditional, with all my heart and my soul, I thank you and I love you.”
Above all things, I never have to look very far for inspiration because she will always be the epitome of how my two sisters and I should carry ourselves as young women. She builds me up on a daily basis with kind words and unconditional love, and she is indeed my “green light” for a lot decisions I make in life, encouraging me to always follow my heart and my dreams. Her opinion means the world to me.
Believe it or not, even as a single mother, nothing seemed hard for her, or a least that is the way she portrayed it. Whether it was getting us ready for school every morning, literally walking us to school for years, or staying up every night to assist with homework studies even after getting off a 11pm shift, my mom showed strength and still does even through my adulthood. Things were never really easy, but she did it all with ease. It was almost like she had a secret cape in the closet with an actual “S” emblazoned on it. She is my best friend, my pain reliever, my angel on earth, my confidant, and my Eleuthera island gal.