Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 7: I am Her White Rose

I can't remember what my mother looks like now. But what I do remember is her smell, a simple and light melange of strawberries and Apples.  I think it was a perfume. She always tells me that I am her white rose. I didn't know what she meant by that and father usually gives me roses on valentines day and my birthday.

My 13th birthday was a feast, I mean there is nothing I would change about it. The clothes we wore, My sister and I were bought by my Father. Although he was not there, he made sure we looked good.  Mother looked good too so did my friends. The food were in this other, salad, some African juice, a big boil of couscous with tomato sauce (my favorite food at the time); beans with rice and many African traditional food. We had enough for the guests and eat the next morning. My mother cooked all these at a friend's house so I wouldn't be aware.

The party took place in a small garden outside the house we used to live in, it was not a typical garden because it was for everyone on the street. That's one of the beauty of living in a community like ours. We shared almost everything and that's what made the party special too. Everyone was on it and play their part so well I did not notice a thing.

The plan was my sister were to lure me there by pretending their was another party we had to attend. It did work but it was also strange because why would my sister insist we go to a party on my birthday?
I thought at the time but I was still oblivious to the fact that it could be my party. We entered the garden and I heard the loudest scream of "Joyeux Anniversaire!" (Happy birthday!). I almost cried but I was still in shock and shacking my head and laughing at the same time. Then my mother came close and said "Jouyeux Anniversaire my belle!" (Happy birthday beautiful!) and hugged me.

I felt loved, happy, very happy and thankful to have have my family and friends celebrating with me. We danced, ate and laughed  for many hours. I don't remember what time the party started or ended. I do remember the love and presents. The champagne I opened was well remembered too because I still have a picture of it. The feelings are still vivid but the memories a little fuzzy. It is by that one photo that I remember those details and it is true when they say "A picture is worth  thousands of words".

Years later I asked her "why am I a white rose?"
she said "Because you held us together", she continues "Without you, your sister wouldn't be here and for that you are my white rose".

White rose means virtue, unity and purity. I think there are many other meanings to it but this is what mother was talking about.

Mother loves us, she has and always will and that party was like her way of saying Thank you for been here my love. At least that's what it meant to me.

She still lives in my homeland and I talk to her every week but what wouldn't I do to hug her again. I miss my Mother.


  1. I love the way you framed your memoir with the story of your mother calling you her white rose, I think that's beautiful and adds an even more personal element to the story of your birthday party and your family in general. Even though you say that the memories are fuzzy, I can still feel like I'm there - like the smell of the feast and how happy and loved you felt. I think you did really well at conveying emotion.

    My critiques are mostly about organization and delivery of information. For instance, I'm unsure if your party is happening in the US or in Africa. In your first paragraph, saying that you didn't remember what your mother looked like - I thought the memoir was going to be about how she passed away, so I was ELATED to read that she is in your homeland. I think making it more clear up front that you guys are separated might clear up some confusion, for me at least. Also maybe a little more exposition about your life and situation. I think you've done a good job though because I'm genuinely interested in hearing more!

    Your memoir was very bittersweet, which I think is definitely has universal appeal because everyone can relate to it. The memory of your family/mother and that birthday is a happy one, but its also sad because you and your mom are separated. I think most people can relate, maybe not to the specific situation, but to being separated from someone they love. Its very sad, but also comforting.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Great job weaving in a dominant image to develop your story. I think most readers will be surprised to find that your mother is living and that you are simply recounting one memory of her. Nice job developing your voice; here and there, you might be able to strengthen connections to improve fluency.