Ii am the Mother

Basudha Modak
Posted July 9, 2018 from South Africa

Every time I go out with my two daughters, people stare at my younger one and then  they almost always stare at me.I can almost hear their thoughts, “This lady is old enough to be her grand mom, how is she the mother? Is she adopted? ”

  I have a sweet lovable 7 year old and with my elder daughter already working, she is the person who takes care of her needs, visiting school meetings, taking her out on playdates all the mom things. My old bones groan with the years of carrying both of them, one after the other, on my back and continuing to work as a domestic worker.. At one time to make ends meet I had to work extra shifts to help continue with my elder ones education.

   I wanted them educated so that they have the dignity in society that I always lacked and still do. The fact that the elder would one day be paying the younger’s school fees never entered my mind. I still never know what to say to the teachers or the other moms of my daughter’s school. They always appear so smart and well turned out even at six in the morning..

  I know cooking, cleaning and I am wonderful in making a little money go a long way .But I still do not have any fancy clothes , and when my elder insists on taking me out to restaurants I feel awkward and ill at ease and the food prices makes me sick enough to not be able to eat much.

I just wish that the boy my elder goes around with changes soon. He stares at me very time he comes in, and never enters the house which is immaculately well kept. I wonder how much my daughter has told about me. I have never hidden my work from her, and lots of family responsibilities have fallen on her, as it is just the three of us always stuck together.

My n has already started having lots of questions, why she looks more like her sister than me, why is she light skinned, we are all dark. A time will come when we have to tell the girl about her father, but I will lose my only work if I tell it to her now..

 She will get some money when she turns eighteen as that is the only clause I expected from her father. The fathers parent were very clear about not acknowledging the mistakes of their son, as rightly so, the onus is always with the girl ,isn’t it still?

The one secret I hopefully want to carry to my grave is the fact that he raped my only daughter as she was returning from school. She was pretty, smart and sharp in class, but she refused to acknowledge the boy in any way.  She knew that society would never accept her as my daughter till she educates herself.

 The boy couldn’t take a no, and my younger is a product of that.  Yes she is my grandchild, but since birth I have looked after her fed her, carried her, stayed awake endless nights like all moms, as my daughter continued her education. My religion and my shame prevented me from doing what girls would have done today. I had to prevent my daughter from acknowledging her as her own.

The younger is too young but she understands that she gets more love from both of us, her logic being because my elder is so grown up.  I will always regret that I couldn’t guide her better, but when I see the happiness in their eyes, my heart brims over.    

 Today I am hopeful that she is getting an education and better choices will be hers to make when the time calls for it. I just hope to see my daughters be with people who understand and accept them , along with  love  them like I have done.. they will always have each other’s back to take care of.  I wish for them to never compromise like I had to for just putting food on the table and a roof over their heads. I am happy as I am and life has given me the best I could wish for, even if it took a long time for it to happen.  

Comments 6

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Jill Langhus
Jul 09, 2018
Jul 09, 2018

Hi Basudha. Thanks for sharing your story again. Looking forward to seeing more stories and posts from you.

Have a good day!

Stephanie Mah
Jul 09, 2018
Jul 09, 2018

Amazing story. thanks for sharing. Keep up my dear sister.

Tamarack Verrall
Nov 27, 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Dear Modak,

You have been through so much, and have been paving the way for your daughters to grow into strong women. What you have faced is all too common with women, as you said yourself so truly, "the onus is always with the girl, isn’t it still". You have handled the rape of your daughter and the birth of your granddaughter with such love. I have met women here in Canada who have been in a similar situation. I am so glad to read that your life feels full and is giving you such well deserved happiness.

In sisterhood,

Ngala Nadege
Jan 17, 2019
Jan 17, 2019

Thank you for sharing

J Brenda Lanyero
Feb 19, 2019
Feb 19, 2019

Hi Modak,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a strong woman.

Beth Lacey
Apr 26, 2019
Apr 26, 2019

Such a sad story. You are making so many sacrifices to ensure she has a good life.