Going the Distance: Book explores sacrifices mothers make for their children

Going the Distance: Book explores sacrifices mothers make for their children

'Going the Distance' author Joyce Murigi during her book's launch at Serena Hotel in Nairobi on August 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Collins Omulo | Nation Media Group

Italian actress Sophia Loren once said: “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

The classic Hollywood star’s quote aptly captures the theme of Going the Distance: A Mom’s Steadfast Support of her Teen’s Dreams; a book by Joyce Murigi.

The debut book by Ms Murigi, a career woman, is a non-fiction narration of how far parents, especially mothers, are willing to go to support their children’s happiness and dreams; packed in 11 chapters. It talks of tough choices, courage and unwavering love from a mother, supported by a strong family.

Written in the first person, the book traces the journey of Ms Murigi’s last born child, David, as he begins his life in the land of “opportunities” in 2016 with the dream of being the next Tiger Woods. But as fate would have it, David’s stay in the United States  would not be as smooth sailing as the Murigis had hoped.

David, 13 at the time, left Kenya for the US in 2016 to study golf at the International Junior Golf Academy in South Carolina.

He would then be transferred to Saddlebrook Preparatory School in Florida the following year and it is at this school that life would take a turn for the worse for the teenager.

David would fall sick after hurricane Irma struck Florida and this would set in events that would turn his family’s usual short visits into close to three years of a mother’s sacrifice.

Not responding to treatment and fast losing interest in school and golf practice, Ms Murigi had to make the difficult choice between her business, friends and the rest of the family; and taking care of her child. She chose the higher calling of motherhood.

A month trial in January 2018 did not work. And in March same year, the journey of perseverance and sacrificial love of a mother would begin.

In her own words, her husband’s, Francis, love for David and David’s youthful adventures would test her strong will, plunging her into uncertain waters in which loneliness would be a constant companion. However, constant prayers and a strong family kept her going.

In chapter six, the author paints a picture of her childhood, most probably to show why it was probably an easy choice to leave the comforts of her life in Kenya and travel miles to support her son.

She narrates how she missed a mother’s love while growing up as her mother and her step father treated her differently.

“We can never get prepared enough for life’s surprises, big or small. Looking back at my childhood. though, I see how much the inner child still influences my behaviour and personality today,” she writes.

The author’s sacrifice would be worthwhile in the end as David would graduate in June, 2020 with a 3.4 GPA score and she would return to the country in August, 2020. David is now looking forward to life in a university either in Canada or the UK.

“Motherhood is a wonderful privilege. But it’s almost impossible to talk about motherhood without talking about sacrifice which should be made in love so that it ceases to be a grudging duty and becomes a joyful honour,” she advises parents.

In the words of Gaspard Mermillod, a Swiss Cardinal: “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”