I want the world to remember this remarkable woman Adetoun Comfort Banwo (nee Oyebola). I often rarely post about my mum online because 13 years after her passing on to glory, emotions still run high whenever I remember how much I miss my mum. My mum was a lot to me and to so many people who knew her. Those who have read my I FLY chapter within the best selling I FLY book and my latest book ( Befriending Adversity) will notice that my mum was mentioned. She was a huge part of my life. Her death to me personally was the beginning of adversity. Quite coincidentally, I coach individuals on adversity in life and business today.
One of the poignant memories of my mum was when I was in secondary school, I didn’t get any awards that particular year but my mum always made it her point of duty to attend all our school events. So after the end of the award ceremony that day, I was so ashamed to walk towards my mum so I hid in the crowd of students. My mum found me out and gave me a big hug! Due to the fact that she was such a disciplinarian, I was expecting some sort of reprimand and not a hug that day!
She then said ‘ Bisi, I know how bright you are and I know that you are capable of performing better academically so don’t worry about this year’. Happy tears filled my eyes and we held each other without caring if other parents, teachers and children were watching!
The following year, I did so well that my awards were presented by the state governor of Lagos state at the time. I did this for my mum. I just wanted to make my mum proud. I owe this to my mum for the faith she had in me and all her children. She was accepting of our flaws, that meant so much to me.
These are some of the things I want the world to remember about my unforgettable mother:
She was a really beautiful person inside and out: She had the sort of physical beauty that made people look whenever she walked pass! My primary and secondary schools friend often teased me that I looked nothing like my mum lolz
She was super industrious and hardworking: Yes, my mum was born into a royal family and married to an engineer (my dad) but I admire the fact that she started her own business. She did her best to ensure that she was not a liability to anyone. I was watching my mum with admiration through her sweat and tears. This is the reason why I just smile when people tell me that I work too hard right now. I can’t be a daughter of Adetoun and be lazy. I have my mother’s genes in me, so naturally bound to be energetic!
She was a really spiritual person: She loved God and she had such a deep connection with her spirituality. Fasting and praying was part of my growing up thanks to my mum. I have to admit that I sometimes sense that my mother’s prayers are still sustaining me till today! Breakthroughs happen from time to time, it has to be my mother’s prayers holding me tight and not letting me fall.
She loved fashion: My mum taught me about the importance of presenting yourself properly at all times. Whether she was happy or sad, whenever the occasion called, my mum would dress up and show up! Growing up, even our school socks had to be super clean because my mum hated shabby dressing or unkempt appearance. She was such a popular person among her peers for this reason. She wasn’t ashamed of standing out with her huge gele! Mu was was extroverted and she was proudly so.
She was super jovial and playful: my childhood was a happy one thanks to my mother. She would sit us down and tell us funny stories about her own growing up. Some of her stories were clearly fictional but she would often insist that they were real haha! Adetoun was such a playful person and I honestly think if more parents spent time dancing and singing to their children, we will have less unhappy people in the world. My mum wanted us to be happy no matter what. Music and dancing was a such a huge part of our lives. People saw my mum as a strong, no-nonsense person but at home, she was really down to earth and ab occasional comedian to her children! How can I forget how she knelt down in front of the TV when Agbanj Darego won. She was crying and speaking in tongues begging God to make her own children successful. All of us at home were just laughing at her! She had a larger than life personality and she was so extra sometimes! Like when the super eagles won a particular match, my mum bought lots of bottles of pepsi and told us to distribute them to the neighbors lolz! She was such an emotional person and she often made us laugh!
My mum was super caring to a fault: She doted on us (her children) and even took on other people’s children as hers. I grew up seeing my mum care for people that I wasn’t even biologically related to. That was the sort of personality she had. She confided in me about her desire to start an orphanage when God blesses her. Sadly she never lived to see that happen. I hope that I can make you proud mummy. Through my Joy and Joe foundation, my husband and I have made lots of charitable donations to families of children with special needs in Nigeria. Till date, I still get emails from people thanking us for our generosity but I feel that we have only scratched the surface. Our aspiration is to do bigger charitable deeds and I hope that my late mum is smiling down on us. When I was in the boarding school, my mum made it her point of duty to cook delicious meals and my school friends loved my mum for her cooking! When I got into the university, my mum travelled to school with me for the first couple of weeks and I can remember telling her that I was the only University student who had their mum accompany them to school daily. According to her, she was worried that I was going to miss my way or she was simply worried that I was only 17 when I got into the University so she didn’t think that I was mature enough to cope on my own!!! This woman took motherhood to another level. She was so obsessed with our welfare and tears still feel my eyes when I imagine how painful it must feel when God called her home suddenly.
My mum was very emotional: I honestly can’t count how many times that I have seen her cry. She was a very strong woman yet for some reasons, she also cried a lot. Whenever she was happy, she would cry tears of joy and whenever she was sad, she would also cry a lot. I sometimes didn’t understand her for this reason growing up but I do now. Adetoun, your Labour has not been in vain. Though I miss you dearly, I know that you are in the best place now. With the level of turmoil in our present world, I can’t say if you’re missing out on anything. Continue to rest in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m glad that I flew to Switzerland to spend that memorable weekend with you before you died.
Again, you cooked for Mayor and I and told us lots of stories about your experiences in that country. We went to church together and danced so much as if we owned the church! That image of you standing at the train station, wiping your tears with a corner of your dress as my train departed will stay with me forever. As my train moved further away from you, the physical distance between us widened until I couldn’t see you at all. I was slightly puzzled that you were crying so hard as I returned to the UK but I now understand. That was the very last time we saw each other and I wonder if your crying meant that you knew what was coming. I have too many questions Adetoun. I can honestly say that I wonder why you left us so early 13 years ago. I miss you so much beautiful soul. Thanks so much for being my mother Princess Adetoun Omo Oba. The world will not forget your name!