Am sitting in my balcony, slowly sipping some lemon grass tea, am not thinking about anything specific…my mind is everywhere. My mug is almost empty, am debating whether I should get some more…but no, lately, I’ve been thinking seriously about portion control…no, am not dieting…that would be crazy, last time I tried that kind of thing, I became sick. My kids briefly interrupt my lone moment ” mummy I want cookie” my daughter pleads. I know for a fact that she doesn’t eat properly at school, her feeding is a bit unique. when she gets home she freely expresses her hunger in all kinds of ways. “Am only giving you one, no more…it’s almost time for your dinner” They follow me happily as I rush to the kitchen, they both get a cookie each. They seem happy so I go back to the balcony, this time closing the door behind me. In the evenings, I like to have some time to myself…to reflect on life. Am now thinking about a story I read recently about parenting then my thoughts slowly drift to my parents…
I have to say, I have been blessed to have the best parents in the world. I know almost everyone else thinks the same thing about their parents, I think it’s a good thing. Today, am focusing on my own parents. Growing up, I knew my parents were very strict. My dad was a disciplinarian..he seems to have laxed over the years though. My mum was also very strict…it’s funny how they become so nice when we are grown and they let the grandchildren get away with everything. My parents are the kind that can catch a grenade for me. I’ve seen them sacrifice their comfort to make me comfortable, I’ve seen them going out of their way to make sure am happy, I’ve seen them devastated when things don’t go well for me, I’ve seen them celebrating my wins. They are the kind of parents that get worried about every little thing. My dad has always been overprotective of us…so overprotective that I still wonder how I managed to move out of his house when I came of age, lol. I remember that day clearly. I had been talking about moving out for a long time. My mum thought I was bluffing…till I started buying housewares one by one, it was systematic desensitization. I was working then, but the pay wouldn’t have sustained me, not with the kind of life I had imagined for myself.. . Somehow, I figured my mum was not going to let me move out in the end… so I bought things, to prove to her that I was an adult and was ready to take care of myself. I was 24, not so young though. I officially moved out at 26, when I got myself a well-paying job. By the way, that freedom from parents is so overrated, lol!
Raising five children is not easy, I know that now…now that I have two and sometimes they make me feel like my world is ending. We are not just five siblings, our parents also spaced us very closely.. it’s the kind of planning that people nickname “do re mi” (the music sounds). They also didn’t have much, but they made sure we lived better lives, they made sure we didn’t lack basics…if anything, I honestly don’t remember us lacking at all and if we ever did, it wasn’t a big deal. When we were young, I believed we were well off, wealthy actually (okay, that’s so exaggerated)..but well, we were content…Those were the days when I thought my parents always had money, they made sure we were well groomed, we went to school, we ate the things we liked, we went to places we wanted to visit, if anything, we even thought some luxuries were entitlements. It’s only later in life that I registered that all those were sacrifices, that there were some very low moments when they had to unusually tighten their belts to stay afloat, but they wanted us happy, we actually never felt the real impact of those moments, they shielded us from it…they made us their priority, it didn’t matter what other bills needed to be paid, they somehow figured everything out, gracefully.
My parents made sure they visited all of us in school. We all went to boarding schools in high school. My school specifically was very strict about what was allowed in school, they always advocated for equality. It’s only on visiting days that I got to eat home-made food and maybe other store bought food items. Let’s be honest, apart from the studying, boarding in high school is all about food, food was everything, because the kind of food cooked in our average African schools are just that, average. Once, on a visiting day, my dad didn’t find me in school. I was away, with the music club, attending the music festivals in another school, very far away, in Kisii land. These were the Provincials. We were to spend three days in that school, this was going to be epic. I was reciting a poem. On this special day, I had recited my poem already, I was only waiting for the results. In the meantime, a young handsome man from a highly rated boys’ school was busy expressing his interest in me when my teacher approached me and broke the news that I was required back in school. He explained that my dad had gone to visit me in school and didn’t find me and that he needed to see me and he didn’t care how long he had to wait for me, he wasn’t leaving school until he saw me. Hahahaha! Whaaaaat?! Processing that information was heartbreaking at first. So anyway, I didn’t have an excuse to stay longer at the festivals because I had finished my part. The teachers couldn’t let me in the school bus by myself, so a bunch of other girls who had also finished their roles were also forced to accompany me. Hahaha! Oh my goodness! Y’all! I experienced bile! Girls were out there mingling and I spoiled it all…to cut the long story short, believe it or not, it was a very emotional time for all the girls…even for the young man who was hoping to make me his girlfriend, lol! I never even got his name! When we got to our school, I was more than happy to see my dad, nonetheless. I saw him and nothing else mattered, not even the fact that I learned that I came fourth in the Provincials. He didn’t have any important news for me… he just wanted to set his eyes on me. Is there anything more beautiful?
Even now that am an adult and with my own family, my parents still send gifts occasionally, mostly in the form of food items… to ensure my family is well fed and healthy, so they say, lol! This is Africa, it’s like a fattening scheme! At times, my mum will gladly buy things for me and surprise me. When she does her own shopping, she would see something nice and think about one of her children , just like that. They probably think those little acts of kindness don’t mean anything but they mean the world to me…to us.
I could write a book…or two…or more. Am sure there are many more of us with beautiful stories about parents. Parents need to be honored. Our parents sacrifice a lot for us. I just hope my children can think of us like this one day. I hope we can be the best parents to them, teach them good morals and let them live.
My heart goes out to those people who probably did not experience this kind of parental love for various reasons, obviously beyond your control…I am sorry…I pray that you get to experience this love through your children or people you choose as family. May you experience so much satisfaction in loving them and may they honor you and love you truly.