I love beginnings. They are often not sterling at first but when you look back they can be so brilliant. Like the beginning with my mother in-law. She celebrated her 76th birthday on Christmas mass eve. We celebrated it yesterday. As I took pictures of her, I reminisced a little of how we first met, 8 years ago, in December 2012 at Charles’s De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. Yes we met at the airport. She had travelled all the way from Nigeria to be with me and my daughter as we were all alone in Paris. I was working at that time at UNESCO and had no help watching my daughter. She became my every thing, starting with our first Christmas together in a tiny studio apartment in Paris. We have lived together ever since. I always tell people that I am able to have a career as a global researcher because she is at my side. I owe a lot to her and even if I tried, I would never be able to repay her for all she has done and all she continues to do as the mama of our home.

So yesterday we laughed and remembered the beginning. There were so many beginnings for her then she recalled. It was the first time she had ever gotten on an airplane. The first time she had ever travelled outside Nigeria. The first time in Paris, France. The first time meeting me her daughter in-law and her grand daughter Lotanna who was only 6 months old at that time. The first time navigating speaking English on a daily basis as my command of Igbo, her first language, was not up to par and so she tried her best with English. The first time going to Catholic mass in French especially as a devout Catholic, with an Igbo bible, my first sighting of one. We have come a long way together. I took many photos to celebrate her but this one below with Lotanna now 8 years old warmed my soul. Lotanna presented her hand written letter to mama and as she explained what it contained mama was filled with emotions. I was too. Here we are, 8 years later, and the baby, mama came to take care of, was now taking care of her, telling her how much she loved her with words she put together herself. I love this. Keep small beginnings in mind. They may seem small at first. But when you look back, they are truly brilliant.