The parent and child bond that is timeless

By Nina Steele 

My elderly mother who I had not seen for a good few years has come to visit us from Africa for the past 3 weeks and will be staying for another week. Living with her again has been an eye opener and an experience I will hold and cherish for the rest of my life. You see, I left the Ivory Coast 17 years ago in search of a better life here in the UK and during that time, many things have changed both on my side and that of those I left behind, including of course my mother. The major change is that unfortunately my country of birth has been unstable since 2002 when war broke out and many people lost their lives. As a result, I have not been able to go back as much as I would have liked and so the last time I saw my mother was in 2008. So bringing her over here to spend a month with my husband and I has been both cathartic and fantastic!

We haven’t lived together for that amount of time since the late 80s, when I was sent away to live with her brother and so we had to learn each other’s ways again and obviously after living in the UK for the past 17 years, needless to say that my ways have become very westernized. Of course my mother too has changed a great deal, for example, where a few years ago, she was still trying to convince me that we should carry on trying for a child, now she is resigned to the fact that her only daughter will not be giving her the grandchildren she so craved. For an African woman with 7 children of her own, this is quite a change of heart! Living with us, she has also come to see how much love and contentment there is in our life and seeing her daughter so happy has reinforced in her the new found wisdom that not everyone is destined to have children, unlike what she was brought up to believe.

What struck me most while she has been staying with us is how much love we still have for each other after all these years. I found myself in floods of tears when it dawn on me that she would be leaving us soon and it took me days to put myself together and accept that this is the way of life. Nothing last for ever and as painful as this realisation can be, this gives added weight to the wisdom that we should enjoy every moment and focus on the blessings that are already part of our lives, as opposed to making negativity the overriding feature. I see life as a gift that is there for us to enjoy and I am determined to enjoy that gift every day at a time. My mother’s visit has opened my eyes even more to how precious life is and I am immensely grateful for it. To live a life full of bitterness and negativity because our life has not taken the path that we had expected is a waste of that gift. To accept one’s path wholeheartedly is the only way we can enjoy this beautiful gift. Yes I was not able to become a mother myself, but I am still someone’s daughter and so I have and still experience that parent and child bond that is timeless. This is another food for thought for anyone still struggling to come to terms with not having children because they cannot get over the idea that they will never experience this very bond. That bond has always been there and you share it with your own parents. Yes some parent and child relationships are anything but loving but that bond still exists. I am glad that mine is a bond that brings me joy most of the time and I am sure that the same is true for many other people around the world.



  1. Great article! I concur that we should make the most of life and not dwell too much on those things that make us unhappy.

  2. Well said! Focusing in what we have to be grateful for is far more powerful and uplifting than dwelling on what we do not have that is out of our control.

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