She cradled the remote in her palm, pushing the buttons lightly and settled for her favourite channel. Her ebony skin is radiant in the low lighting. She notices me looking at her and the corner of her lips lift without much effort, settling into the familiar creases and folds that were gained from a lifetime of smiling and laughing as if she had no care in the world. The look in her eyes is one that I know very well, it's how she has looked at me for the most part of my life that I can remember, like I could do no wrong. She has a calming aura that is comforting. I marvel at her resilience and indomitable spirit, her ability to thrive even in the midst of challenges. This was particularly evident during the COVID lockdown periods. Even before the first index case was discovered in Nigeria, we had seen reports of a new strange illness spreading rapidly with a high mortality rate on the internet. It was worrying that the medical professionals had no specific cure or vaccines for it at the time and that it was highly contagious. It took a new turn when it was discovered that it could be spread to other countries and across continents by travellers. That was very scary and then countries started locking borders in a bid to contain the spread and prevent a global pandemic. There was widespread panic when our country announced its first COVID-19 case. Some used this opportunity to perpetuate fake news and peddle certain medications and supplements as the 'cure' and surefire way to prevent covid. It felt like Armageddon, people started preparing for the worse. In the midst of all this, my mother started gathering information about this illness and how best to prevent it. She enforced the use of face masks and put a curfew in place at home, limiting any unnecessary outing. She was particularly scared for me, I was more likely to be exposed to the virus in the hospital. The government tried to mitigate the spread of the virus by issuing guidelines and directives. Eventually, a lockdown was put in place and schools were shut down. Our reunion was a bittersweet moment, her arms reflexively opened in readiness for a hug and quickly snap shut. Physical contact was restricted in this new reality. I couldn't risk transmitting this disease to my family in case I was already infected, so I was isolated for 7 days. That didn't dampen my mom, she tried as much to include me in family activities and would speak with me for long hours. Asides the strain this period put on one's mental health, the economy also took a downturn. People lost their jobs and feeding became somewhat difficult. Mom would pack some fruits and other consumables to share to the community people. The COVID period was a difficult time but my family was able to pull through by staying together and due to the efforts of my superwoman, my mother.
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