Powerful, determined, hardworking, accommodating and loving. These are just some of the words that I could use to describe my mother Gladys, who changed her name to Gladness because she wanted to mark a new beginning in her life. After losing the love of her life and having to raise six children, the youngest,only 10 at the time, my mother grew a skin so tough that at times she forgets to smile. They say it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a strong woman to raise a village. My mother, I can imagine, knelt down to her God and with tears in her eyes, determined that she was going to raise those six children the best way she could. And she did. We didn’t have it all, we rationed food, we went to boarding school with a note (in red ink) explaining that she would be late with the terms fees, we sometimes went to the next grade with last year’s shoes, but somehow we stayed together, united. The spirit of family and togetherness is so important to her that every time one of us lives home, she ‘adopts’ a relative in need, sends them to school, helps them start a business and gives them a second shot at life. My mother is completely selfless, she spends all her time, day and night . working at a school she owns, she shops from charity shops, her idea of a good time is non alcoholic wine, banana bread and the home channel. She has worked tirelessly to achieve her dreams, something I admire greatly and I am yet to emulate.. As a young child, I remember her collecting books and writing term forecasts for a school she hadn’t even opened yet,. You never really know how much she is sacrificing till you see her building another extension to the house or retiling the floors. She is a woman on a mission, building a legacy for her children. My mother is also in school, at almost 60! You really cant help but hope that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Now that I am a mother and already throwing my hands in the air over one child, I wonder how did she raise six of us on her own? With God of course. You don’t need an alarm clock in our house, mom wakes us up with her singing out of tune praise songs in the living room. If you want to see her bad side, lose one of her gospel CD’s or call out her bad singing (sorry mom). Once the whole house is up and running, she retreats to her room and prays for the day. In her room are all kinds of stick it notes with our names on them and prayer requests alongside each name. What more could you ask for? If you are a member of her house, bible study on Wednesdays and Church on Sundays are compulsory and if you can sit with her in the front pew you get bonus points. If you want to truly know my mother, take a walk in the streets of Kitwe. Many will stop you, ask how she is, talk about how she helped them, how she is like a mother to them. My mother herself says that if dad woke up from the dead, he would never recognise the woman she has become and how much she has achieved. Now that I am a wife, I have fond memories of mom and how she treated her husband, with the respect of a king. My fathers birthdays are forever etched into my memory because they were such a lavish affair. My mother put on a spread for him year in year out, we had to ensure the house was spotless before he came home. Again, this is something I need to emulate. One of my favourite memories of mom is me writing my final Grade 12 exam, Chemistry. It was also my birthday and I couldn’t wait to leave the room and start my new life as a school leaver. I knew mom had no car at the time, so I hadn’t packed because I was sure she wouldn’t arrive till much later to pick me up. One of my friends took a bathroom break during the exam and came back smiling from ear to ear at me. She quickly whispered that my mom was in the visitors area. I was so happy that she had shown up so early, ready to usher me into the next era of my life. When I was in the hospital with labour pains, she was there all day and all night. I ended up having a C-section and the doctors narrated to me that I was still under when they took my daughter to mom and instead of holding my daughter, mom asked for her daughter, me. She demanded that they bring me out alive, and that they keep my daughter safe until she saw her daughter! She then knelt down outside the operating room and prayed for me. I laughed and cried as I am doing as I write this. I should mention that, before they started operating on me , I had seen angels in all white with large swords surrounding my bed. That was of course because of my mothers prayers. I hope I can be half the mother she is to me. Happy Mothers Day Gladness.