I love my mom. And how she embraced me when we first met and told me I wasn’t allowed to cry. I love her because of the tears in her eyes when I do. I love her because she brought me into her room, closed the door and tied three smooth strings of gold beads around my waist and told me I was now a woman. I love her because she claps her hands and sings a little song (“Afiya! Afiya!”) when I finish a whole meal and tells me one day I will have a fufu belly like her own. I love how she stops whatever she is doing in the morning to sit with me while I drink my tea. That hour when everyone else has left for work and school, that hour is our own. I love when she reminds me that after raising five boys, I was the daughter she has always been waiting for.

I love my dad. I love when he sticks his head in my window before the sun comes up, which is right above my head, and asks, “Why are you still sleeping?” I love him because of the pride in his shoulders, resulting from his respectable career. I love him because he scrunches his eyebrows and reminds me that Kofi and Yow are nothing but trouble. I love when he cracks a smile when I dance. I love that despite the troubled look on my mother's face when I tell her I will be home late, he smiles and tells me to be careful and have fun. And I love that moment every morning, when he walks out of the compound sharp as a knife, shined shoes and stiff tucked in shirt, stopping only to look over his shoulder to say, “Afiya.” Yes daddy? “I am going.” And he nods and goes on his way.

I love Kofi. Because once the sun has set, every Ghanaian looks just about the same to me, but when Kofi smiles I can find him anywhere. That smile is more contagious than the common cold and can charm his way out of anything. I love him because he dances more than he walks. I love him because he tells me I am beautiful. I love when I ask where daddy has gone on Friday nights, and he smirks and raises his shoulders. I lean in and wink and motion with my fist that he may be at the bar, which is followed by a thunder of laughter and a nod of agreement. I love that I know just by the scowl on his face that he is in trouble again. I love that although he is only 13 years old, he would fight just about anyone or anything to keep me safe.

I love Yow. I love him because when I come home and say “Hi, Yow.” He replies,“I am fine.” I love his chipped front tooth and the day I found out it was the result a failed attempt at the crab walk. I love that it took him a month to warm up to me, but now he yells “Afiya!” when I come home, as if it’s his new favorite song. I love when Kofi pulls up a stool behind me as I do my homework and works his thick fingers through my short choppy hair in an attempt to produce braids, and how Yow never ceases to inform me that it looks terrible. I love when Kofi gets in trouble at school and in turn has to weed the entire grounds. Yow would never dream of letting him do it on his own.


LAURA said…
Maria, your family is precious, and I love your descriptions.

Congrats for being an official member of the Peace Corps!

I will most def be a dedicated blog reader - many thoughts and prayers! :)

-laura hayes

Popular Posts