My heart longs for you…

I am sitting here waiting for that little animal I often hear helps with stories. I think I heard it calling out to me earlier…

I am afraid that to sleep, without first letting out the story currently nagging at me, would be the biggest loss of the day.  I am scared that should I doze off, it would sneak out and leave me here, sleeping. But then, if it so wants to come out, why play hard to come? Wasting my emotions and increasing my anxieties. Why does it want me to beg it to show up? I had not enticed it, you know. It voluntarily impressed on me its intentions to come out and even asked that I wait to tell it. But I have been sitting here, for hours, and have even written one and a half stories. No, one story and what looks like a poem; both of which feel forced and unauthentic. They do not possess the character of stories ready to be born.

I will let them be.

They ran away from my feelings while I was in their middle and decided to get emotionally detached, dumping me like you would an unwanted co-traveler. They behaved like they were forced to wake up from a beautiful sleep in the wee hours of a winter day. These two stories grumbled just when I thought we were warming up to each other.

They rubbed it on me that ours, was a forced partnership, but I walked on, silently, slowing down every so often to allow them to catch up. I had hoped we would reach the destination together or that may be their mood would lighten up along the way, but no, it was a tiring drag. I had to quit and run on alone. Leaving them in the middle of that lonely country road.

I hope the little animal comes along…i am sleepy.

A doting parent, now and tomorrow.

Society is a doting parent – but she often seems overwhelmed by contradictory feelings towards a child she raises.

It would seem she, consciously or not, has to oscillate between skepticism and reverence – and this is arguably, consistent from when the child is born, though their marriage, to their death. The child she, often, would have longed for, craved for and even hoped for,  then becomes the child who makes the parent and child co-exist, somewhat comfortable and questionable.

The comfort, though is, this ambivalent relations, is not the preserve for any particular group or persons. It thus helps to not take the potentially demeaning utterances or reluctant acceptances, as specific to you. You just happen to be the actor at that moment.

The script is the same.

Thus celebrate with the doting parent, sing the songs you hear her sing and look to the future gleefully. Remembering often that you have a responsibility to define yourself and live accordingly; that to spend life complaining about the speculations, conversations and misconceptions uttered against you, is to absolve responsibility. If there isn’t much to give to the society, at least celebrate that they birthed you and raised you…


Are we ready to be alone again?

This week we only have Thobo, our last born, at home. Sesi, our middle child and only daughter, is in South Africa for a week, with fellow standard fives, from her school. Our first born, Wawo, is at boarding school.

And I am thinking, this is a shadow of the fast approaching future…almost. That days are coming when this house will be devoid of familiar sounds and sights, lacking in the random uncensored questions; starved of hyper-activities and oft skinned knees and elbows. It will soon be poor of ‘telling ons’ and careless screeching cries. It will be empty, truly empty.

We will, soon, it seems, return to the beginning; to two adults looking at each, wondering, then what?

Are we ready mogatsaka?

Am I ready to free these three children? To let them into this hungry world that never says I have enough people, don’t send yours our side.

I think nothing bring the truth home, that parents are really just custodians and conduits, better than when kids leave home.

These children had to be born and be nurtured and we were only trusted to do that for the universe. For human kind. Somebody had to do it. And we have only been assigned and as with all assignments, when the work is done, it is passed on. We would thus do well to learn early, to not hold on too tight when our assignments ascend to the next stage.

Think about it. Whatever we spend our days doing, if it’s anything worth some breath, it is never solely for the benefit of our families. You are a child set free to the world you were made to serve.

We should also learn to deliver the parcels. Hard but inevitable.

Some would leave, not only our homes but our family name, adopting foreign cultures and namings. Other arrows will fly high and far, landing in places we never imagined possible.

The question I had on Monday morning, as I helped Sesi settle in the car, waiting for her papa to drop her off at school; For who are we born? Why do we have chidren?

It’s time, I realise, I embraced the bigger picture and accept that there is a much bigger reason, broader than my limited reason for having them. Sesi’s leaving highlighted my limitations in trying to explain the broadness of why this body carried them.

While the idea that my children belong to a much broader world, is kind of sad, it is also in a way, a motivation to do my best, to be deliberate in raising decent citizens – aware that they won’t be under my care and direction forever. It is an encouragement to ensure that when they finally leave my cocoon, I can confidently surrender them, pat them on the back and say, “Papa and I did our best, fly my children, fly”.

Sesi’s leaving this week, and his brother’s absence since January, put under a spotlight, on how I think about and do my parenting. It convinced me that I should broaden my methods (if there be any) – and raise children of the universe. Her leaving brought a new perspective, that my three children will inhabit in many ways, a world different from mine.

Children leave. They leave childhood, they leave home. They grow wings and wean from childhood attachments. They go away.

My daughter left Monday morning. My little girl left with others her age. The longest distance and time without her parents.

And she was anxious about a lot of things, in the run up to her going; “mama what if I need a bathroom in the middle of nowhere”
“What if I sleepwalk into the bush”
“What if…?”

What will keep us sane when these three have gone to boarding schools and universities. Will we not crowd out each other. Where will we take the attention that used to go to the three. Are we ready to be alone again mogatsaka?

“Like arrows in a hand of a mighty worrier, so are children of one’s youth….”

The “batho ba ta-a-reng” death trap

‘Batho ba taa reng’ (what will people say) can kill you. It can cripple you, forcing you to take in more than you were made to. It can fast forward your journey to the ‘grave’.

‘Batho ba taa reng’ allows every Nchadi and Nchi to dance on your head.

I am on the side of TD Jakes ‘you might be born in a crowded room, but truth is, even in a crowded room, you face birth alone. And while you’ll probably die surrounded by family and friends, but, your death, is a solo experience.

Naked you came, naked you shall return.

Face the truth.

‘Batho’ don’t care what you had for dinner, or whether or not your children have clothes on their back.

‘Batho’ don’t know that the reason your property is being auctioned off is because you spent all your money on your terminally ill mother. They don’t know that you’ve spent all your life trying to rise above the water, sacrificing sleep and luxuries, but somehow, often, just when you think you have it all in control, a calamity hits and knocks you back to the beginning or worse.

‘Batho’ don’t know your private story, thus crowding your head with the deadly ‘batho ba taa reng’ thinking, is to kill yourself. Is to fall into a trap.

The ‘batho’ who keep you awake at night, probably sleep peacefully at night, if they exist. The ‘batho’ in ‘batho ba taa reng’ are probably fictitious, existing only in your head. The thought, possibly, only exists to confine you to a corner, cursing the day you were born. The ‘batho’ thinking wants to convince you that the world owes you.

‘Batho ba taa reng’ and its cousins, like ‘batho ba re’ (people are saying…), were not created to help you fly, I think. They were for intimidating you, for trampling upon whatever flicker of hope and boldness trying to rise in you. They are happy when you succumb to timidity; when you drag your feet through life.

For once see ‘batho ba taa reng’ as a net, a trap that is too afraid of what would become of you were you to break free and fly. Or look at it, as a yet to be born wild animal, hiding behind a thicket and using strings to pull and push you; directing your every step.

Maybe see ‘batho’ in ‘batho ba re’ and ‘batho ba taa reng’, as that little thokoloshi, from never-land, the hairy tiny animal, we all used to hear about, but never met. ‘Batho bata a reng’ is probably a Setswana name for ‘thokolosi’, who knows. An imaginary animal like dimo.

‘Take up YOUR mat’ Jesus would probably say, ‘and walk’

On the flip side, your obsessions with ‘batho ba taa reng’, may be that you take yourself too seriously. Thinking the world is preoccupied with details of your life.

‘wake up child’ the world is too busy for such random obsessions.