At times growing up, the saddest thought was we never got to choose family. Was it too much to ask for a ruffle draw where the winner got to be Bill Gates’ child? Nope I don’t think so. Maybe test tube babies have it better. I mean, they get the best genes from each donor. What did we end up with? Everything. Just like the githeri made by our friends from the Central part of our beloved country. But we grew to love our family, well at the very least tolerated them. Because when all is said and done they really became an important part in our growth. Whether the family was oppressive or kind and loving. Whether we were beaten to smithereens for non-issues or our successes were not celebrated. There was love somewhere there.
The FAM. The only place where all our madness was/is accepted. The only place where you could be threatened to be kicked out for finishing the milk
in such a bad economy, while knowing mum will be making you sausages the next morning anyway (or maybe not). Top gamble that one. But because you loved milk and the only way to have it was through tea we grew addicted to tea and now you realize you have a tea problem in your family. You’re not alone.
Only place where you bought or still buy your clothes with your family members in mind. I remember growing up, my sister and I would share a wardrobe. So if I was buying a black cardigan she would too, but a white one, so that our closet had variety. We learnt to share. Later on my sister grew bigger than I, so we couldn’t do this anymore. But mum and dad had thought this through. Or so I hope. So they had my younger sister and I could fit into her clothes. I remember once I stole her pants and I told myself ‘how else will she know she has a sister if I don’t steal her clothes?’ And now I think I had the potential to be a criminal.
Only place where the hallways were a highway on Sunday and someone always had the comb or the shoe brush; even if you woke up late to ensure everyone was ready and you’d have your space. Fake news! Only place where you could be free and weird and no one will judge you or they would. If not, you’d be reminded to whom you belong. ‘You are your father’s child’ Mum would say in a whisper.
Then the rewards for doing great weren’t as severe as the strokes for being in the wrong. Being in the wrong was ‘celebrated’ more than being right. African parents. You’d think they didn’t sleep at night thinking of punishments to give when you broke a glass. Everything was a potential weapon. And all weapons fashioned against you had the possibility of being prosperous. Numerous things were said in the process of punishment and one would leave there as physically bruised as emotionally. The next few days you’d spend thinking was it worth it? And then vow to not talk to anyone (as if they cared)
But it was in these moments that we learnt to be careful. That every decision/action had its consequences and we should be ready to face them. It is in this place that you learn that we are all different and you either accept each-others madness or accept it. You learn that love isn’t just the feeling but it comes with devotion and trust. Trusting that that person has great intentions for you even if you can’t see. And so we care.
It is in these moments that you realize that you need to have each-others backs. Just not at home, even in life. It’s these moments that teach us invaluable life lessons and that home is not just a place but it’s the people. And every so often you look back and whisper thank you mum, thank you dad. You molded me into the being I’ve become. Or at least they tried, you just failed. Even when memories bring bitter feelings we remember to become better people than those we hated. And the world becomes a better place. We aspire to dream because someone somewhere dreamt of a beautiful life for us and they tried to actualize it. Was it done well? Probably not. But it was something. And we owe the next generation better.
At the end of the day, we smile amidst tears and say “There’s no place like home” Home is where I live, learn, grow. Most importantly where I belong.
Author: Ivy Sheri | Date Created2017-03-02 04:45:20 | Comments: 0