Two weeks ago Liam came home with a bean wrapped in some damp cotton, in a polystyrene cup which said “return by 6 May, don’t forget your bean needs water and sunlight.”
I knew this class project well. I had done it myself back when I was in Standard One all those years ago. He was initially quite thrilled with the whole idea, but after day 3 and no signs of life, his enthusiasm started to wane. The cotton wool started to turn mouldy, even though we were dutifully watering and keeping it in the sunlight. On a group Whatsapp chat my mother and sister were horrified at our indifference towards our non growing bean. My mother declared that she would come with a few new beans and she and Liam would tend them together, because I clearly was mucking around. My sister couldn’t believe my competitiveness in the classroom did not extend to the growing of this wretched bean…
Anyway, my mother and father arrived last week from Durban… and guess what came along… 4 new beans, laying in their damp cotton wool, all the way from Durban, on a Mango flight. Have I told you how my mother is the best granny in the world? Firstly, she was not impressed with the polystyrene cup received from the school. She was convinced that our current bean was not getting enough sunlight. Secondly, she and Liam took to monitoring these beans like they were going to grow into beanstalks and make us rich. They were moved from windowsill to windowsill during the day, following the sunlight. They were probably prayed over, if I know my mother.
And within a day or two, they began to sprout. This made everyone VERY happy. Even cynical little me who was not interested in this project to begin with. So this morning we proudly took our beans to school. And let me tell you… ours were THE best! I did have to tell Teacher the whole story about how these beans were actually sacred, they had taken a plane ride from Durban and how Granny and Liam were actually the caretakers of the beans and I had very little to do with the whole thing. She thought the whole story was hilarious.
Anyway, this post is more about my mother, than it is about the beans. I won’t lie, I was happy to see my son proud as punch with his bean this morning, and he probably would have had a dead bean along with the majority of his class, had my mother not insisted on doing this properly. And that’s just how she is. She doesn’t want to see us disappointed EVER. You know what else she did this weekend? She made me walk two malls flat because she had promised the kids that she would get them an egg timer to monitor their teeth brushing. They were so excited by this idea, even though I’m SURE the excitement over this timer will last 0.3 minutes. Anyway, my mother didn’t want just any timer.. she wanted an hour glass timer. You know the one where the sand filters through the glass? Do you know how difficult it is to find one of these old fashioned timers? There were plenty of timers in all the shops we went into, but she wanted the hour glass… yesterday we eventually found one, literally in the last shop we walked into. And that’s just how she is. She is selfless. And it’s such a unique quality in people these days. Selflessness. Most people do just enough. I know for myself, I don’t like to be inconvenienced and I do my bit and I feel good about doing my bit and then that’s it. I don’t like to feel streeeeeetched when helping others, and my excuse is usually TIME. I don’t have TIME to do this and that, so let me give some money. Or let me make some excuse to my kids because I don’t have TIME to walk through 100 shops looking for this thing they wanted. Or let me donate all my old clothes, and give to my church and feel good about having helped. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. But isn’t it lovely when you realise just how much effort and thought and love and kindness went into something that someone did for you? My mother still posts birthday cards to all of us. Even her children and grandchildren in Australia. Handwritten birthday cards. She bakes our favourite treats when we go home, even though she isn’t able to stand for very long periods because of her back and other aches and pains. She spends hours and hours with her grandchildren, accommodating their every whim and desire. Spoiling them with TIME and attention. She will make up our beds when she is visiting OUR house. Even when Zoleka is at work! Oh and she sends my helper air time, who does that? She brings toys and treats for our dog! She sews stuff and mends stuff around the house. Like she travels alllll the way from Durban with her sewing machine to mend stuff that I just don’t have TIME to mend. She is selfless. I can’t tell you the things she has done for us, there isn’t enough room in all of cyberspace. And not things that necessarily cost her financially (although don’t get me started on the stuff she uses her meager pension on – again, for OTHERS) but things that she knows would make our lives easier, or make us happy. And it’s not restricted to people she loves. She is like this with complete strangers too. Did I tell you she got bitten by a dog the other month on one of her missions to visit someone in need? But do you think that stopped her? No.
She is selfless. If she can help you, she will. Whether you think you need help or not. She is a modern day saint and when I think of the Apostles of old, I think she would have been like one of them. Preaching the Gospel wherever she went, but more so, showing the true Christ through her selflessness. If you met her, I promise you would love her. You just would.