It was a busy Saturday morning. In the usual hustle and bustle of the Lagos spirit, men and women, boys and girls, whirled through nooks and crannies of Lagos- on foot, on wheels, or being chauffeured.
I saw this woman through the small opening of the "Keke-Marwa" I was riding in. I don't know why I noticed her. But I did. She was carrying a baby, maybe on their first or second outing. The mother looked elegant in her Iro and Buba lace dressing. The baby? Fresh. Though she had a shawl covering him, I could still see his face. The cuddle revealed how really new the baby was-- I'm sure he was less than three months or a little older by days to weeks.
Why is this woman stressing this baby through hectic Lagos. Stay home woman! My thoughts. I'm always pained when I see nursing mothers or pregnant women "jumping Danfo"-- rowdy public transport. Well. They must commute. Life goes on.
Back to the story. The elegantly dressed woman tried to make a quick pass through the road- away from an annoyingly parked car. You know those cars parked on busy narrow streets. But just as she made a move, another car--approaching from the same side of the road also wanted to make a quick dash through the building traffic. I really can't explain how it happened in text. But I think the driver did not look on the side of the road where she was. His attention was on his side-- avoiding those Okadas and Keke-Marwa that 'threatened' to hit his side-mirror.
He didn't see the woman with the baby. Or maybe he thought he was far from her. As she stepped out to squeeze past the other parked car, the other driver zoomed into the road. He was far enough to avoid hitting or scratching the parked vehicle but close enough to sandwich the nursing mother between the two cars.
The woman tried to scream for help. Those who saw the dilemma tried to wave down the driver. The hot blooded lad in confusion pressed down his accelerator some more. He didn't stop.
From where I was, I waved at the driver- "stop stop" but that didn't help.
So mouth agape, totally terrified, I watched the most beautiful thing I have ever seen since I was introduced to the concept of motherhood. The woman, crushed between two cars, held on to her baby. She spun and spun and spun as the car squeezed through...Holding on to her baby. I imagined the baby falling out of her grip all through the few seconds. But no such thing happened!
When the driver eventually succeeded in driving through, all he did was wave in apology. I still don't think he knew what happened-- the magnitude of the panic for those who watched on helplessly in shock. He was in a hurry, not interested in finding out what went wrong. The woman who i'm sure was in pain by now stood strong and cursed at him in yoruba language. One or two other pedestrians who saw what happened gathered around.
The knee-level of her skirt was stained. From the mark you could tell the pressure was not a friendly brush from a vehicle. I don't know where she got the strength to still stand strong.
I could still see the baby. He was still sleeping on his mother's shoulder. Oblivious of how a Mother's love has just enveloped him through what would have been a tragedy. Imagine if out of fear, panic or pain his mother had let go. I don't even want to imagine how that would have ended.
If it was a designer's bag that she was holding, she would have let go in pain. If it was a crate or two of eggs she was hawking, she would have let go and tried to rescue herself. But it was a baby. She didn't let him slip. I saw her face form in different ways to express her agony. But still she just let the moment pass, her legs can be crushed as long as her baby is fine. How she was able to hold him so firmly as she spun her way through, I cannot tell. Mothers are dynamic and strong.
God empowers mothers to be extraordinary. More women just need to step into that grace.
The life lesson I took away from the woman is: God entrusts us with children. When we become mothers, we must never let go-- no matter what life throws at us. Hold on, trust God and grow in grace.
And to us, as we learn and prepare to be ready. May God bless us with a good heart.
May we live love, always!
Foto credit: http://www.kindredcommunity.com/resources/child-rights-links/