StoryCorps: 'A Little Piece Of Mommy On Earth': The Gifts Their Late Mom Left Behind Ibukun Owolabi's mom died when he was just 2 weeks old, so his then-teenage sister, Alice, helped raise him instead. Now a decade later, they recall what she left them: a name and a legacy of love.
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'A Little Piece Of Mommy On Earth': The Gifts Their Late Mom Left Behind

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'A Little Piece Of Mommy On Earth': The Gifts Their Late Mom Left Behind

'A Little Piece Of Mommy On Earth': The Gifts Their Late Mom Left Behind

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps - loved ones question each other. And on this Friday before the Fourth of July weekend, we're going to hear from a 10-year-old boy who wanted to know more about his mom, an immigrant from Nigeria.

Ibukun Owolabi lost his mother, Rosemary, when he was just 2 weeks old. It then fell to Ibukun's teenage sister Alice to help raise him. A decade later, Alice brought her brother to StoryCorps so that he could find out more about their mother.

ALICE MITCHELL: It's still really hard to talk about her. Her passing was around the same time as you being born, so it's, like...

IBUKUN: A happy moment and a sad moment.

MITCHELL: Yeah. But in the two weeks you guys were together, she was always kissing you and always holding you. She did love you a lot. Do you think that you two have any similarities?

IBUKUN: Yeah, I probably get my stubbornness from her.

MITCHELL: Definitely, you got that from mommy. She wanted you to have a Nigerian first name. And we were like, let's just make it easy and give him an English name. So everybody decided on Jacob. But she was like my son's name is Ibukunoluwa. And your name means blessing from God. Do you think mommy made the right choice in naming you?

IBUKUN: Well, I like my name but not really other people do.

MITCHELL: Wait, what do you mean?

IBUKUN: Oh, well, they just make fun of it.

MITCHELL: But would you want us to change it?

IBUKUN: No.

MITCHELL: With your name, just anything in life, if she had an opinion, she wasn't going to back down.

Well, Ibukun, this is the longest conversation we've had about mommy, so if there's anything you ever wanted to ask...

IBUKUN: I can ask it now?

MITCHELL: Yeah.

IBUKUN: OK, what was your favorite memory of mommy?

MITCHELL: I have a lot. I remember, I was like 10, I was in fourth grade. Wait, how old are you?

IBUKUN: 10.

MITCHELL: Yeah.

IBUKUN: I skipped kindergarten so...

MITCHELL: Well, excuse me.

IBUKUN: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: She was a nurse. She worked the night shift, and so she came home really late. I, like, came over and I took off her shoes and I gave her a foot massage. I remember she was telling the person on the phone how nurturing I was. And now I'm a teacher. And, like, any time somebody's like oh, why are you a teacher? I'm like I'm nurturing (laughter). That's exactly what mommy said about me.

IBUKUN: Well, I feel a little depressed that she's not here to say what she wants to say about me.

MITCHELL: She'd probably just be standing back, nodding her head, being like I did that. I did that.

IBUKUN: (Laughter).

MITCHELL: You're like a little piece mommy on Earth. So I just want you to really understand who you are and where you come from.

INSKEEP: That's Alice Mitchell (ph) with her 10-year-old brother Ibukun Owolabi in New York. Their conversation will be archived in the Library of Congress.

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