In the book of Exodus, chapter 20 verse 12, the word reads: “Honour thy father and thy mother…” In my home language, Tshivenda, those words are: “Hulisa khotsi au na mme au…” This verse has always been close to my heart because that is where my name, Hulisani, is derived from. Every day, in every way, is an opportunity to live up to my name, but just under a month ago I got to live up to it in a grand way. I honoured my mother with a trip to Mauritius to salute and celebrate her turning 60 in November of 2017.

This all began when I asked my mom, some time last year, if she could travel anywhere in the world, where would she go. Her answer, Mauritius. That was followed by asking her whether she wanted a grand party to celebrate her 60th birthday or a trip instead. She chose to get her first passport.

The day we went to Home Affairs to apply for her passport was quite emotional for me. Here I stood at age 29 having travelled all over the world because of the sacrifices this woman standing next to me had made. I couldn’t help but wonder about the dreams she had put on hold as a result of a system that intentionally oppressed them, killing them before they even had a chance to breathe. I shed a silent tear. The moment was bittersweet.

Fast-forward a few months later and it was the night before mommy’s big trip ! Sure, I was there, but this was all about her. Her childlike excitement was something special to witness, phone call after phone call she relayed her readiness to her sisters, telling them what she had packed, how we were going to arrive 2 hours before our flight because it was an international flight. For a moment our roles were reversed, I felt like a parent looking at her daughter with great pride and joy.

Here I stood at age 29 having travelled all over the world because of the sacrifices this woman standing next to me had made.

The big day finally came and we were off. Mommy had been on a plane before, so she handled that part of the trip like a pro. Except perhaps the part where she looked out the window and asked what was out there and I responded “it’s ALL water!” Not exactly something someone who is afraid of large masses of water wants to hear, lol!

We had an amazing trip! It felt like a real Mastercard ad, remember those? When they’d say the cost of this was X rand but the feeling, or this experience, priceless. There were so many priceless moments: bonding with my mother, hearing stories about me as a child that I’d never heard before, stories about her as a young woman and how she met my dad. I watched her conquer her fear of water – from refusing to go anywhere near the ocean, to allowing it to touch her toes, to eventually being brave enough to sit so the waves could wash over her body. I was blessed with the opportunity to fulfil a dream for my mother whilst she is still alive, I couldn’t possibly put a price on all of that.

That is what this trip was really about for me. The priceless moments, spending time together. And time is something we all have and I think as young people we don’t often make the time to spend with our loved ones, time to just be with them, time to make memories with them.  There’s a quote I love from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, it says: “In family relationships, love is really spelled T.I.M.E.”

Taking my mother on this trip and spending one-on-one time with her was not only me expressing my love for her but it was also the best 30th birthday gift I could give to myself.

In family relationships, ‘love’ is really spelled ‘t-i-m-e’. – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I know that I am very blessed and fortunate to have been able to show my mother love in such a grand way but I strongly believe that you don’t have to take your parent/s on an overseas trip to spend time with them and show them love. Taking them for lunch or you cooking lunch for them is love, taking them out for a picnic is love, taking them to the spa is love, spending a day with them just at home is love, buying them a dress for no particular reason or special occasion is love. I encourage you to not only tell your parents you love them but to show them, and because the former is not the norm for us as black people, the latter becomes that much more important.

Love & light