Johnson Babalola
December 24, 2023

What is the essence of Merry Mum?

LH, a remarkable 10-year-old, possesses a keen mind that observes the intricacies of his surroundings. On this particular day, he finds himself in the car with his mother, embarking on a Christmas shopping expedition. Despite the lengthy drive, he cherishes these moments spent with his mother, proudly declaring to anyone who will listen that she is his best friend.

However, today is unlike the usual car rides filled with playful games. His mother, engrossed in a series of phone calls, navigates through a myriad of emotions. LH eavesdrops on conversations resonating through the car speakers. The first call, from Grandma Edna, brings news of Grandpa Jo still being on life support but showing signs of improvement after a recent fall. LH recalls the anguish his mother felt during that challenging period, as she had rushed to be by Grandma and Grandpa’s side, returning only days ago.

Subsequent calls unfold a spectrum of emotions. Auntie P joyously shares news of her son securing a good job, praising amidst his mother’s amens. A heartbreaking call follows, with his mother consoling a schoolmate who has just lost her son. Auntie X’s grief is palpable, questioning the reasons for such pain under God’s watchful eye. LH witnesses his mother’s empathy, silently praying for the call to conclude.

Uncle Y’s call injects a ray of joy, announcing the arrival of twins in the family. His mother shares in the celebration, promising a post-Christmas visit. Despite LH’s hope for a moment of respite, another call arrives, this time from his mother’s colleague. The colleague’s life has been upended as his wife walked out, leaving him to care for three young children. LH contemplates whether his mother should consider a counseling venture, given the multitude of stories shared.

“Mom, people are really going through so much,” LH remarks during a break from the calls. “Yes, my dear. Life is full of ups and downs. When one is happy, another is sad,” responds his mother. LH, grappling with the paradox of the holiday season, questions, “So, if people are going through so much, then what is merry about this time of the year then?” His mother imparts a profound perspective, “My dear son, nobody promised us a hitch-free life. At some point, we will go through situations that will shake our faith and everything else. While going through such, we must stay unbroken while acknowledging the situation. We must be thankful for life and the ability to overcome our issues. While at it, we must do everything to avoid falling into depression and be cheerful. My prayer, my dear son, is that those experiencing one pain or the other at this time of the year be equipped with the ability to overcome the pains and that those that seem to have it all together not have any reason to experience pain, and if they do, to be prepared to deal with it and overcome it.”

“Amen, Mum.” And as LH utters this heartfelt prayer, may it resonate with all those facing trials during the end-of-year holidays, offering solace, strength, and the assurance that amidst the challenges, there is the potential for triumph and joy.

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.