As she greeted Iya Oyo by kneeling down on both knees, the young woman looked worried though she tried to force a smile.

I had never seen her before but she appeared to know exactly where she was heading. She simply strolled into the sitting room.

“That’s Morọ́mọkẹ́,” Iya Oyo said, as the young woman entered the sitting room. “She now calls herself Comfort. But I was at her naming ceremony about two or so decades ago. Morọ́mọkẹ́, the name they gave her is ironic. It means ‘I now have children to care for.’ She has been married for some five years and is unable to conceive.”

“How unfortunate,” I said. “Is five years a long time to wait after marriage?”

“Nowadays, yes,” Iya Oyo replied. “It wasn’t that way when we were younger. True, women wanted children, but there were always lots of children running around the compound, and these children didn’t discriminate. Whoever feeds them and looks after them is their favorite mother, not just the biological mother. People had several mothers in those days.”

Iya Oyo and I sat under the shade of the Ọdán tree outside, while Baba Oyo and the young woman were consulting in the sitting room.   

After what seemed like an eternity, they both came out, and as she departed, Baba Oyo intoned, “Olúwa yíò pèsè.”

She greeted us and left. Baba Oyo turned to us. “She is my friend’s daughter,” he said. “A shame she is struggling with fertility.”

“And you prayed for her with ‘Olúwa yíò pèsè,’” Iya Oyo remarked.

“Yes, I did,” Baba Oyo replied. “Is anything wrong with that?” He sauntered back into the sitting room without waiting for an answer.

Iya Oyo turned to me to explain her point: “Olúwa yíò pèsè is remarkable because Èsè is food you offer to the divinities to celebrate them.”

“Is that so?” I responded. “I doubt many people realize that.”

“To be specific,” Iya Oyo continued, “Èsè is food you give to the Ìyàmi, the Àjẹ́, to calm them down, to appease them.”

“How is èsè different from àsè?” I asked.

Iya Oyo said, “Both èsè and àsè are from the verb ‘sè’ meaning ‘to cook.’ But àsè means ‘feast for humans to consume.’ Ese, on the other hands, is ‘food that humans provide for the divine mothers, the Iyami, Osun, Yemoja,  to consume.’”

Instantly, I remembered the song we sang in church couple of weeks, which goes:

Oluwa yio pese (Oluwa will provide)

Fun gbogbo aini wa (For all our needs).

It was my mother’s favorite song. She sang it while she bathed me as a child, and it remains a favorite soundtrack as I move around daily.”

Picture shows me and my new mother, my granddaughter. She was born within days of the transition of my mother.

The moment I saw her, there was no doubt in my mind she is returned mother. It’s not just her physical look—her long and luxuriant hair, distinctive eyes, and nose formation. It’s also about her demeanor: patient, quiet, paying attention to details, saying little with words, and everything with her look, action and support.

It was my mother’s favorite song. She sang it while she bathed me as a child, and it remains a favorite soundtrack as I move around daily.”


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply