“I wish my cold could get worse so I can have a baby too.”
That was my reaction when my mama walked in with our last born Tony that April afternoon, 1994. I never saw my mum’s baby bump…did I even know what being pregnant is? no! At least not that I can remember. Mum had had this persistent cold for about a week, so when I came in from school one evening and was told mum had to be rushed to the hospital, I just assumed it was to treat the cold. We didn’t go see her while she was there and three days later, she walks in with a baby. I mean, what is a 7year old 90s kid supposed to think? There was no google, at least in my world, to help me out with “How mummy got a baby”.
So in my mother’s arms was the yellowest or pinkiest? baby, with tiny tiny fingers and toes and silky black hair. It was wrapped in a blue shawl(a kind I don’t see anymore) and looked like the babies we saw on The Bold and Beautiful on occasions we stole glances behind the couch out mum and dad’s sight…As soon as “AGE RESTRICTION: 18” appeared on the screen, daddy would give us ‘the look’ and we, my brothers, sisters and I would file our mumbling selves out of the room, then proceed to hide behind the couch. Oh yeah, we were caught several times too!
Back to baby…when he was finally placed into my eager arms, I remember feeling some sort of heart swell. Something special. Then, holding the baby’s tiny fingers in my ‘large’ ones, I sniffed(Mum’s cold had done some spreading…) and said to no one really, “…mi natamani tu hii homa yangu iongezeke ndio niende hosi nipate mtoto”(See opening statement for translation) I then handed the baby to the next person in the baby carrying queue and ran off to the backyard where the long smooth grass grew to knit something for my brother. My mum never passes a chance to narrate this story to everyone who cares to listen especially if there is baby talk going on. Well, I don’t believe I said that, haha! and am sticking to my story.
Of course I now know how babies are made, and everything about the whole cycle. I grew up, and with time, learnt new fascinating things about my family and the world. Some, like death, I would want to forget, and pretend that I never knew anything about them in the first place; and others I want to remember with every rising of the sun. But even the ones that I wish amnesia on, have taught me a thing or two about life. Of the need to really appreciate that I have it real good even when it seems I don’t. There are others that have caused me so much heartache, self-doubt and tears but never regret. God always has your back, if you let Him.
I look back and I just want to laugh at myself. I didn’t know what pizza was until I went to University. I am not sure I knew what a burger was either. The closest I came to that family of foods was fries…which us shagsmodos* called chips! I guess its a good thing though, otherwise we would all be busy dealing with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in a family that already has great body endowment genes 😀 That first real kiss later on, wacha the one I got on the cheek from Sadique behind the kitchen while still in high school, was something. I discovered books could take you far and wide like Alladin’s magic mat and would experience heights I otherwise could not have imagined. I read them all! From the mills and boons to those novels whose male cover models had serious muscles ripping across their bodies to setbooks in high school to autobiographies and more serious books for grown ups; Reading is a joy! Sigh! Then at a certain age, you are told you can’t play kati and cha baba na mama with boys anymore. Even banyo? No? ok! If you are floating right now, you are either not Kenyan or a Kenyan born in the 2000s. Those were games we played before playstations were invented and Facebook was an actual face and a book.
Where was I…oh. Here. With all these new discoveries though, some things remained constant. I still love my sleep! Indeed I earned the nickname queen because of my sleeping habits! Wee! That doesn’t mean I was(am) lazy. Apparently all this sleeping gave birth to my 6 foot height! hehe! Hear ye all four footers! Sleep your way to the elite 6foot tall club!! I still laugh like crazy with everyone who cares to and my birth, no, beauty spot, right next to my left eye still exists.
Today is my 27th birthday. Damn, that’s something. I am scared to think of all I have not accomplished at this age; those who know me will tell you that I set myself standards so high even a pole vault athlete would be afraid to take on the challenge. But more so, I am grateful for the successes achieved over the years. The failures that have taught me that I am only human and that by failing we must learn that we can’t all be number one but we can push ourselves to be the best.
Its amazing how many friends I have kept over the years and the many I have similarly dropped along the way, willingly or unwillingly. I naturally tend to hold on to things and sometimes people longer, believing I can salvage every relationship I have ever started. Again with time, I have learnt that there are things and people that God allows for just for a season while others stick like glue for reasons the others wouldn’t. Through it all, God you have been the one. Family. Friends. Thank you.
Rambo, Commando (who knew how to pronounce Schwarzenegger then? Liar!), Chuck Norris and the rest are ageing or have already. We don’t see them anymore and when we do, they are running for political offices. Now there is the new crop of super heroes who are not as bad a** as the originals! Unlike or like the veterans, depending on what angle you’re at, time has brought out the best in me; the curves have brought with them responsibility and self respect…and a husband and kids hopefully on the way 😀 The brains have opened doors and opportunities and life, life has generally hugged me.
I guess what I am trying to say here is, “There is a depth and wealth in experience that cannot be equated to the reward at the end.” Enjoy the journey!